Monday, 27 March 2017

Further Tales of Four Islands.

The last two islands of our Caribbean cruise (before heading north west on our Atlantic crossing) were St Kitts and St Maarten.


As we disembarked from the ship on the beautiful island of St Kitts the pelicans welcomed us by a marvellous display by diving into the sea for fish. One of them, obviously full of fish, retired to a perch to dry his wings.


The island is remarkably similar in shape to a chicken drumstick and the chunky main portion is dominated in the middle by two mountain ranges and, as it’s only 68 square miles in area, there’s not a lot of room around the edges. There are many timber framed shacks – most in quite good condition, which add great atmosphere to the island.


We hired a car to journey around what is basically just a coast road around the entire island. We stopped for some sustenance in Cayon at a quaint little bar with an open air ‘restaurant’ on the side.


The roads are very good in general and give coastal views most of the time. The grass verges everywhere are beautifully kept for a reason that we discovered later.


The island is dominated at it’s northwest end by Mt. Liamuiga – a dormant volcano 3790 feet high.


Little communities sit side by side with the volcano which hasn’t erupted for a very long time.


Also running around the island is the narrow gauge railway. Now a popular tourist attraction, it was originally built to haul sugar cane from the numerous plantations to Basseterre, the capital.


Gorgeous sea views ………


……… with the coastal land, and the odd building, being generally windswept by Atlantic gales.


Being a volcanic island much of the coast is dark and rocky ……….


……… or black sand.


Further along on our journey around the island we found why the grass verges are kept so good – herds of goats!


Overlooking the west coast, 800 feet above sea level on a volcanic outcrop, is the massive fortress of Brimstone Hill. Started by the French in 1690 it was completed a century later by the British.


Here and there we passed some very pretty traditional island buildings – this one in need of some TLC.


After we’d travelled around the “meaty” bit of the island we ventured down onto the southeast peninsular where the beaches are of a more gentle colour.


Doug had a dip in warm waters with the tiny island of Nevis in the distance.


Driving back from the peninsular two monkeys crossed the road in front of us. We managed to take a pic of one of them as it tried to hide from us in some bushes.


We stopped near Bird Rock to look back along the very dramatic peninsular where it’s easy to see both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.


The Anglican church of St.George in Basseterre is a very British looking structure – well kept, like everything on the island.


We shared the port quay with “Adventure of the Seas” – it was a bit like seeing beauty and the beast! So glad we were on the ‘pretty’ ship!


Well, we had a long and very pleasant day on the lovely island of St.Kitts and the sun set over the capital of Basseterre before we left at 9:30 in the evening to set sail for our final port of call – St.Maarten.


We’ve been to St.Maarten (the island split into two halves – the Dutch and the French) quite a few times before . As we didn’t have a huge amount of time we opted to go to “airplane beach” for a bit of fun. This is where the airport is so close to the beach that the thrust from the plane’s engines, as they take off, is enough to blow people into the sea! ………


….. and, when they come in to land they sometimes skim very close to the heads of the people on the beach. The bigger the planes the sooner they need to get down and the lower they come in! Great fun to watch!

St. Maarten was the last of the four islands on our Caribbean sojourn and after we set sail from the island we were to head northeast across the Atlantic and towards home. We look forward to our days at sea and we have five to enjoy before reaching the Azores.

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