Joana on a mooring in front of the Pitons
Sulphur Springs
Oprah Winfrey reportedly has said that the Pitons in St Lucia should be on everyone’s list of top 3 places to see before you die. Now, we don’t go by everything Oprah says, but my mom was coming to visit, and we thought that mooring right under the Pietit Piton (which I think is actually more breathtaking than Gros Piton) would be a pretty cool introduction to her three week vacation on Jo-Jo. Boats have to take a mooring in Soufriere, where we were anchored, as it is a marine park and also the bottom is about 100-300 feet down right up until about 20 feet from shore. Most moorings are set close to each other, so that boats secure the mooring to the bow of the boat and then must take a stern line to shore and tie it to a coconut tree, so you don’t swing and hit your neighbor. Luckily, we were able to get on one of the moorings designed for bigger boats and therefore away from most other moorings and could swing freely.
Cath and Gail at the Sulphur Springs
We got to St Lucia a few days before my mom was due in, so we were able to clean and get the boat ready. We were also able to observe the drama that was unfolding on the boat closest to us. It was a catamaran that had been charted by a family and they had a captain on board. Early one morning, we watched the captain zoom off in his skiff and return awhile later with one of the locals whom we had met that is in charge of the marine park. Both of the guys got suited up in their dive gear and had, who we assumed was the wife of the chartering couple, in the dingy, with a rope leading to them underwater. She was slowly driving back and forth, with them following her, we assume, in a grid pattern. Now, don’t forget, these guys are most likely in 150 feet of water. They did this all afternoon one day, and in the morning the following day. Our friend Nola, couldn’t stand the suspense and motored over to ask what was going on. Evidently, the wife had mistakenly thrown her ruby, diamond and emerald ring overboard with the banana peels the previous night! YIKES!! That afternoon, the catamaran sailed off, and we can only assume they found the ring, otherwise there would have been a whole lot of locals diving that spot – and I would have been right there with them! Lesson of the day, leave your bling bling at home.
Maria and Cath at the mud baths
Mom showed up the following afternoon, we took a dingy tour around the two Pitons and then she treated us to a great dinner at the Hummingbird restaurant, which is on the water overlooking the Pitons. Isn’t it great when family comes? The next day we did an island tour and the first stop was the Sulfur Springs. The springs are from an active volcano that hasn’t erupted in hundreds of years but the ground was so hot that the springs bubbled up and looked like grayish bubbly hot clay. It looked like a scene from another planet, with barren, brightly colored soil, bubbling pools and spurts of steam. The smell of sulfur was very strong and would almost burn your nose. We walked down a-ways to the mud baths. It was about 11 in the morning, so a little hot to do a full mud bath (as the mud itself is about 120 degrees), but we did put some on our face, hands and soaked our feet in it. Talk about a miracle skin transformation – after only having the mud on our skin for about 5 minutes, when you washed it off, your skin feels baby smooth! A lot of the islanders go there in the evenings a few times a week…no wonder why Avon never took off here!
Gail sailing to Bequia
After we beautified ourselves, we took a stroll through the Botanical Gardens. The tropical gardens are beautiful and well manicured. There is a small waterfall that was featured in Romancing the Stone (Harrison Ford and his leading lady slid down it), and although we couldn’t swim in it, it was fun to see. There are also naturally hot baths in the gardens, but we opted not to soak in them, as it was still quite hot outside. We made it back to the boat around lunch time, relaxed, had some sundowners (a few hours before sunset), cooked dinner and went to bed, as we were getting up early the next morning to sail to Bequia.