Wow, what a day. I get up early and Gregory, our chosen boat vendor delivers freshly baked bread. We settled on him because he wasn’t obnoxious and aggressive. He helped us grab a mooring last night, and motored in and got us some ice.
We drop our mooring and motor up along the north end of the bay to check out the Bat Cave. Thousands of squeaking bats in there and we could see them moving around. We grabbed another mooring right next to the Bat Cave to hang out while we tried to get in touch with Action Adventure Diving. They were recommended in our guide book, and Kelley, Loren and Sheven are going to go scuba diving. We tried them on the radio, to no avail. Finally, Gregory motors up and finds Vincent from the diving company. Vincent visits our mooring and we agree to meet over between the Pitons in about an hour.
We like this bay (and the Pitons) so much, we’ve decided to stay in the area, and just move over to a highly recommended spot between the Pitons. We motor in, and Gregory helps us again by grabbing a mooring – they are partially submerged and would be a hassle to grab from our high deck.
The setting is amazing. It’s pretty much perfect. We are on the shore between the two Pitons, and there is an excellent resort called Jalousie Plantation directly in front of us. They have a sandy beach, there are snorkeling locations next to the boat, the resort has a dingy dock, security to watch our gear and very friendly staff.
Vincent and two nice ladies (mom and wife?) arrive in his open boat with the gear for diving. Sheven, Loren and Kelly suit up, jump in the boat and motor about 1/4 mile away to an excellent dive spot called the Coral Garden. They have an excellent time with Vincent and schedule another dive for tomorrow.
Susan and I go for a long snorkel along the shore going south.
We’ve read in the guide book that there is a restaurant/resort called Ladera on the ridge above our location that has the most spectacular views of any establishment in the Caribbean. We decide to check it out. The book doesn’t say how to best get up there, but we can see it, and it doesn’t look too far.
After some refreshments from Jalousie’s great beach bar, we begin ascending on the road, sometime around 3pm. This is a road that the guidebook says is among the steepest in the world. It is seriously steep and quite a workout going up. It’s a concrete road that has little ridges running across the road for traction.
We talk to various people on the way up, who are surprised to see us walking and ask where we are going. We tell them Ladera, and get quite a range of responses. Some say it’s 20 minutes walking, and others say we are crazy and we won’t get there before sunset. The latter group was most accurate.
After huffing and puffing up the road we finally reach what appears to be the top of the ridge, about the same elevation as Ladera (our target). However the road starts descending rapidly. One of the people who told us we were crazy said the road goes all the way up, then all the way down to the City of Soufriere, then all the way back up again. That ended up being a very accurate description.
When we finally got to Ladera, it was just before sunset and we were totally soaked with sweat. Clever co-travelers (Kelley and Susan) had brought along extra shirts so that we wouldn’t try to get into this world class resort drenched in sweat. Turns out that Conde Naste rated it as the best resort in the world about 5 years ago. It really is stunning.
We settle into their open air bar, with our table perched on a precipice that drops down to the bay where Ginger (our boat) is bobbing on her mooring. The sun is setting between the Pitons. Very magical moment.
After sunset, we taxi into Soufriere and ask the driver to help us find a local restaurant with good, local, non-fancy food. He takes us to a building downtown and up to the second floor. It looks promising, because its painting and decor look very local and festive (not touristy). We are the only people there (not a good sign, IMHO). Alas, the food was only average but it was our only “average” experience of this amazing day.
Taxi ride back to our anchorage, roaring up and down (and up and down) the roads we had hiked. We find our dingy still safely in the hands of Jalousie Resort and we dingy back in the pitch black with Sheven holding a headlamp in front so we didn’t ram anything.
No sailing today, but we had a blast and we are all quite bushed.
Weather permitting, we plan to sail south to Laborie tomorrow (Sat), then leave early Sunday morning to sail south departing St. Lucia and past most of St. Vincent to pick up dad in Kingston, St. Vincent, which is on the south end.
I have no idea how accurate the information is, but many cruising guides and blog postings say that there are security issues in St. Vincent, especially in the north and west portions. So we plan to sail by those areas for now.
Another nice thing about Jalousie resort is that they have an open WiFi and this blog posting is being piped through that connection. Giving the Sat phone a break.