The Lands of Sun, Warmth, Snakes and Volcanoes

Well we’re back.  We have just returned from a 10 day cruise in the Caribbean.  It was great to get away from the cold New England winter.  We left on Sunday March 6 on a Jet Blue flight.   Typically we have Shaun from O’Livery limo take us to the airport.  We  have been using Shaun for the better part of the last 12 years with no problems.   This time however he was a no show.  Not sure who was confused him or I but no time for him to get to our house and make the flight.  So we jumped into the car and drove to Logan.  We manged to make it with about 35 minutes  to spare.    Then we were off to the Sunshine State and the city of Fort Lauderdale for a two day pre-cruise stay at the wonderful Pillers Hotel and then on Tuesday we transfered to the good ship NOORDAM for our 10 day getaway.  Once again we did a pre-cruise stay in Ft. Lauderdale which was very interesting.  The hotel was a small boutique  hotel on the New River (inter coastal) side of Ft. Lauderdale Beach.   Very nice little hotel.  Comfortable,  classy,  pretty and CLEAN!  Great staff and really good location.  Two nights here were not enough.  The riverfront location gave us access to the Ft. Lauderdale water taxi, which is great way to get around and see the multi-million dollar homes and yachts.  WOW is not the best word to use but it fits the purpose.  I truly have never seen so many expensive houses and yachts (outside of the cover of boating books) as we saw in the 7 or so hours we wandered around the water front via the water taxi!.   As part of our stay at this hotel we had breakfast and limo transfers included.  So the limo picked us up at the airport on our arrival and then on Tuesday afternoon they transfered us to the ship.  Getting on the ship took all of 5 minutes waiting in line and next thing we knew we were in our stateroom.  At 5 PM the ship departed the dock in Ft. Lauderdale for our first stop of of St. Martian.  We had two days at sea prior to arriving at St. Maartan.  Weather at sea was very very calm.   Did I tell you it was calm.  I go to sea to experience the motion of the ocean but that was not to be on this trip.  We had great weather through the trip.  Every day was clear and warm and dry!  Minimal humidity.  Beautiful weather.  You could not ask for better!  Not much to say about St. Maratan.  We have been here several time before and only went ashore to do some walking.  It is a nice island in the sun!  From here we sent sail (ok we motored) to our next island destination of St. Lucia.  This is a very pretty volcanic island.  On the trip to St. Lucia we saw several islands that were volcanic in origin.  St. Lucia was the only island we made shore excursion  plans on.  We hired a private  car with driver and guide.  The company we used we found on Cruise Critic and this company was highly recommended.  The tour company name was Serenity Tours.  We had a great driver named Wayne and tour guide Seauna (I think that was her name) who really took the time to show us their island.  It was a great experience.  We managed to see quite a bit of the island and also taste the island.  We tasted cassava bread, a local bread made from the cassava plant and also a local peasant (creole) bread.  Both of them were worth the stop!  We drank some local rum punch and local tropical fruit drink.  All great!  As we continued through the island tour we saw the local guys on the side of the road holding 6 to 8 foot long boa constrictor snakes.  We had the option to stop and  visit with the snakes but I decided to not stop!   This island is also home to a very venomous and aggressive snake called the The Fer-de-Lance (Bothrops caribbaeus). We did not see any of these nasty snakes.  Interestingly enough as Beth and I traveled through SE Asia we did not see any  snakes at all, and we all  know that S. E. Asia is full of all the nasty snakes!  After the snakes we made it to the Volcano on St. Lucia.  The only Drive-in volcano in the world.  Currently this volcano is considered  dormant.  But there are active steam vents in the caldera and hot water mineral spring baths all around.   Last eruption was in the late 1700.  So now I have seen volcanoes (Active/Dormant/Extinct) in Japan, Iceland, Chile, Hawaii,  Tahiti, and S.E Asia.  Very cool.   After the volcano we had lunch at a very nice resort (Ladera) located in the valley between St. Lucia’s famous Pitons.   That’s all for now I’ll leave you with some photos.

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