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Published: February 16th 2018
Lookout point over Atlantic ocean
St.Lucia - 1st Port of call
Thursday 15th - We set off from Bridgetown, Barbados around 11pm
. It had been a long day travelling so following a light meal we were tucked up in bed by 10pm
.Our arrival into Castries, St.Lucia this morning was around 8.00am
. Opening my birthday cards whilst enjoying a coffee on the balcony with the beautiful Piton mountains as a backdrop. A magical start to the day.
We have visited St.Lucia several times before so have seen all the usual tourist locations. This visit we chose an excursion to Mamiku Gardens. We drove through the centre of Castries, passing the local fish market and colourful fruit & vegetable stalls.Once out of centre the roads became narrower and we meandered round very tight bends. As with most Caribbean islands the transport are small buses and our party was a group of 16 plus our local guide Wendy & driver Robo (Maybe he is a cop when the tourist season is over!).
We continued our drive along the rugged southeastern side of St. Lucia, stopping for a panoramic view of the harbour where there were 3 other ships and ours was swamped by one huge vessel
Lookout point over Atlantic ocean
which we were thankful we weren't travelling on.
The drive to Mamiku gardens took us through an area of rain forest, giant tree ferns and other tropical plants edged the twisting road & 160 inches of rain per annum it was easy to understand how this lush vegetation survived.We paused briefly at Mandele Lookout Point for views over the Atlantic Ocean and the fishing town of Dennery and then continued to Mamiku Gardens, set in 12 acres of beautiful woodland.
We had read that It was a floral paradise and a haven for birds but to be honest we saw one humming bird and one cuckoo and whilst the flowers, mostly orchids & flowering shrubs were interesting we had seen better tropical gardens. Seems May is the best time to visit as that it when the flowering shrubs are at their best.Our guide was Gilbert, a young man whose knowledge of horticulture, orchids & medicinal herbs was immense and added to the whole experience.He pointed out a humming bird perched in a bush sitting on a nest. We were very careful not to disturb the bird and whilst I wasn't able to take a photo I did manage
Giant Kalabash fruit & Giant Tree Ferns
one of the tiny nest which contained just one egg. The nest was about an inch in diameter.We also saw the Frangipani caterpillar which we have seen before on a visit to Sunny Hill Garden in Grenada. When the caterpillar evolves into a butterfly its life span is just 7 days.
We made our way through the gardens over flagstone paths and woodland steps and with Gilbert giving us information at every turn it certainly was interesting to listen to him.I heard a cuckoo calling and the group were under one of the trees all looking skywards. It was then I realised that it was Gilbert making the cuckoo calling sound in the hope that we would have a photo opportunity !We took at break at the plantation house and met the owners wife, a delightfully lady who had first come to the island 60 years ago, met a young man, married him the rest is history.Rum punch & local delicacies we served on the verandah. A flower arrangement on display all made from flowers from the garden Was delightful. After enjoying the hospitality & chatting to other guests we then continued through into the orchid garden.So many
We are in for a treat
varieties all growing naturally, just beautiful and I felt this to be the best part of the visit.
It wasn't long before we had to return to the ship, we handed back our walking poles to Gilbert and thanked him for making our visit so interesting.A very scenic route back to Castries.5pm
and we were ready to sail away to our next port of call Grenada.A memorable birthday and no doubt this evening during dinner, as on previous cruises, the waiters will be singing "Happy Birthday".
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