Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cruising, part 4 and 5

We had technical difficulties yesterday...Carnival wouldn’t let us log on using the laptop, which meant no posting from this computer. So today it’s a two-for-one blog post. Below is yesterday’s post. So any reference to “today” actually means for the 28th.

As for today, we were in St. Kitt’s. Not much in the way of exploring for this place, nor can I really speak much about it. We got off the ship, hopped in a sea taxi, which zipped us over to a beach about 10 minutes away. And from there we sat on a beach for several hours. It was nice. Yes, we can laze around the boat all we want, but there is something to be said about roaming around on a beach and taking a dip in the Caribbean Sea to cool off a bit. We also managed to not get burned, through judicious use of sun screen and an umbrella. However, I think we did manage to get some colour, so the people in Nunavut won’t give me grief about going to the Caribbean and not getting a tan.

I’ve never really been laying out in the sun and getting a tan. I tend to get bored too quick. And even with my iPod and a fresh book (Hornsby’s “Slam”) I still felt the urge to roam up the beach and go hunting for shells and take pictures.

As for impression of the’s seems more...domesticated than St. Lucia. Granted, we only saw a small part of the island, but there seemed to be more wealth kicking around as we saw quite a few expensive houses and cars. And there didn’t seem to be any imminent danger of the jungle taking over at any given moment.

And there are monkeys. I know this because we had several people offering to let the monkey crawl around me, and then someone to take my picture for a few dollars. I declined, mainly because the monkey’s, very small ones, never looked particularly happy.

Tomorrow is Tortola and then two days on the ocean to get back to Fort Lauderdale. We’ve been looking forward to this vacation for so long and it just seems to be flying by at warp speed.


So, St. Lucia today and the first of our paid excursions. We’re only doing two on this cruise. On Tortola we’re going sea kayaking. Today we had the bright idea to go on a zip line tour of a rain forest.

I don’t know who came up with the idea of doing this...sending people up into the canopy of a rainforest, lay about 5 pounds of gear and straps on their body, hook them to a thin line and then push them off the edge of a perfectly good tree. Whoever did come up with it was either a madman or a genius. But whatever the verdict, there’s no denying it’s a hell of a lot of fun. We managed to not make fools out of ourselves, although I discovered that it is very hard to swoop on the zip line and take photos at the same time. Pity, really.

Also, there wasn’t a lot to photograph. St. Lucia doesn’t appear to have a lot of native wildlife. Some snakes and birds, but certainly none of the really interesting and weird things you might see in Costa Rica, where we were thinking of going earlier this year.

No, the feeling you get in St. Lucia is green. Overwhelming, pervasive green. Not much in the way of riotous colour. Maybe we were there simply at the wrong time of the year. But instead what we saw was unending green.

Don’t get me wrong. We love the green. After all the snow in Nunavut, green is good. Green is amazing. And while I forgot to do it in St. Maarten, I did manage to get around to hugging a tree today. Granted, it happened when I failed to break properly coming to the end of a particularly long and fast stretch on the zip line and kind of hit the tree. Still, I welcomed its embrace. It was a good tree.

Our tour guide told us there is about 126,000 people on St. Lucia, which is weird when you consider the island is small - about 16 miles across, about 40 miles north to south. Nunavut has about 1,000,000 million square miles and 30,000 people. So that’s a lot of people with very little land to go around.

And yet, it never feels like the people are winning. When we sailed out of Castries this evening, you could look back and see far more trees than houses. It was like that when driving to the rain forest on the eastern part of the island. You would see houses, but they would be surrounded by trees. There were no lawns to speak of.

The humans are winning, but you get the feeling it could still go either way. Give the green of the island a few years without any humans around and they would make quick work of all traces of human settlement.

It’s a beautiful place. It hardly seems fair to judge it against St. Maarten. We saw little of that island aside from the market area. But we both really like St. Lucia. I could see us coming back some time in the future to visit for longer than a day.

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