Caribbean Islands Adventure 2022 – Part 4: St. Lucia

January 16, 2022

Another day, another gorgeous, tropical Caribbean island. Our ship was docked in the capital city of Castries. The above image shows some of the colorful buildings in Castries as seen from the ship.

Castries, St. Lucia

There is so much to see in St. Lucia it would be impossible to see it all in one short shore excursion. The 237 square mile volcanic island is very mountainous with lush green tropical foliage, most of the island is covered in rain forest, and the waters surrounding the island provide many opportunities for boating, scuba diving and snorkeling.

We had been to St. Lucia twice before on dive trips. Both times we stayed in Soufriere on the western side of the island. When we weren’t scuba diving we were exploring around Soufriere, taking in the spectacular scenery, and enjoying the delicious local cuisine.

On our previous trips we didn’t get an opportunity to visit the northern part of the island so we chose to take a bus tour to see it. As our bus climbed the hills on steep, narrow roads with hairpin turns we were treated to jaw dropping scenic views and learned about the island from our guide Amelia. Tourism is the number one economy on St. Lucia.

Our destination was a private home called Stony Hill with magnificent views and beautiful gardens. We enjoyed listening to a steel drum as we relaxed with a cold fruit juice and delicious snack of banana bread and coconut cake.

Stony Hill, St. Lucia
Pigeon Island, St. Lucia – the island is a National Park
St. Lucia

I love lighthouses so I had to capture the Vigie Lighthouse as we cruised out to sea at the end of the day.

Vigie Lighthouse, St. Lucia sits high above the Caribbean Sea guarding the entrance to Castries

Fun things to know about St. Lucia:

  • St. Lucia is the first country to be named after a woman
  • St. Lucia has the world’s only drive-in volcano
  • St. Lucia is the home of the Pitons Mountain Range, a UNESCO World Heritage site 
  • Some scenes from the movie “Superman II” with Christopher Reeve were filmed in St. Lucia. In one scene he is seen flying by Petit Piton. One of the dive sites at the base of Petit Piton is nicknamed “Superman’s Flight” (yes, we dove it many years ago)

Where do you think we’ll be next? Stay tuned…

Lens-Artists Challenge #132: Striped and Checked

In honor of the January 25 birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns my first two images include checked tartans.

Burns Clan Plaid Tartan

Striped lighthouses and Striped American Flags.

Stripes and Checks in Nature

Zebra Longwing on Mexican Sunflower
Bryce Canyon National Park
Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park

Many thanks to Ann-Christine for this week’s Lens Artists photo challenge: Striped and checked.

Weekend getaway on the Georgia Coast

Of the eight large barrier islands off the coast of Georgia, only four can be accessed by a bridge. Sapelo Island is one of the islands that can only be reached by water and visiting it has been on my bucket list for years.

Sapelo is the fourth largest Georgia barrier island. Most of the island is owned by the state of Georgia. The state owned portion of Sapelo is home to the RJ Reynolds Wildlife Management area on the north end of the island, the University of Georgia’s Marine Institute, and the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The remaining 434 acres is the privately owned community of Hog Hammock. Many of the 70 residents there are descendants of former African-American slaves. Today, some property owners live elsewhere and a few of the houses are managed as vacation rentals.

We spent Friday night in Darien so we wouldn’t have far to go for our early Saturday morning ferry. We enjoyed a delicious fried shrimp and crab cake dinner Friday night at Skippers Fish Camp on the Darien waterfront. During our after dinner walk beside the water we spied 3 baby alligators on the banks of the river and a manatee behind a shrimp boat.

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Darien Waterfront

On Saturday morning, it didn’t take long to get to  Sapelo Visitors Center from Darien. After purchasing our tickets for the Sapelo Ferry we learned a little about the history of the island from the interpretive displays and enjoyed the views from the deck.

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View from the Visitor’s Center on the mainland with Sapelo Island in the distance.

The ferry departed at 9:00, right on schedule. Pelicans were busy diving for fish as we made our way to the island.

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Ferry Boat on the mainland waiting to take passengers to Sapelo Island

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Georgia salt marsh viewed from the ferry to Sapelo

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Sapelo Lighthouse as seen from the ferry

Our guide Yvonne Grovner took us around the island in a small air conditioned van. Yvonne grew up on Sapelo in the Hog Hammock community and told us many interesting facts about the island. We went from paved roads to narrow dirt trails as we traveled around the island.

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Behavior Cemetery on Sapelo Island

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Tabby ruins on Sapelo Island, Georgia

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Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island, Georgia

We climbed the 77 steps to the top of the Sapelo Lighthouse.

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Sapelo Lighthouse, Georgia

Our last stop before returning to the mainland was Nanny Goat Beach. It was a Saturday and there were a few people enjoying the white sandy beach. Our guide told us sometimes on weekdays there is no one else there.

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Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Island, Georgia

If you are planning a visit to Sapelo Island, you must make reservations for the ferry in advance. Reservations are also needed to take the tour. If you would rather explore on your own, golf carts and bicycles are available for rent. A few homes are available for rent and group camping is available. Reynolds Mansion can also be rented by groups.

More information about visiting Sapelo Island can be found at Visitors Center – Sapelo Island

A Day in the Scottish Highlands

Our small tour bus with Rabbie’s Tours departed Inverness early on a Saturday morning for a 12 hour tour across the Scottish Highlands. As we rode from place to place our guide Colin filled us in on Scottish history and folklore.

Soon after leaving Inverness we were riding along with views of Loch Ness to our left. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one on the bus who was searching for Nessie, more commonly known as the Loch Ness Monster.  We didn’t stop at Nessieland, a small theme park.

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Nessieland was just up the road, Lock Ness, Scotland

Our only stop on Loch Ness was at historic Urquhart Castle. The castle is undergoing some restoration and we did not tour it. It was our last chance to see Nessie and she wasn’t cooperating.

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Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, Scotland

We had plenty of time to tour Eilean Donan Castle and enjoy the gorgeous setting.

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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland near Kyle of Lochalsh

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View from the bridge at Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Most of the day was spent on the spectacular Isle of Skye. There are dramatic mountains and cliffs, charming seaside villages, and gorgeous scenery all around the island.

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Dramatic Cliffs, Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Henry was glad he wasn’t driving! Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Curvy roads around the Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Wow! We’re really here! Isle of Skye, Scotland

We stopped in the town of Portree for lunch and a view of the harbor.

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Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

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Town of Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

A few people on the bus brought back some beer from the Isle of Skye Brewery.

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Isle of Skye Brewery, Scotland

Our last stop on the Isle of Skye was the town of Kyleakin. It was raining as we walked around the waterfront with a nice view of the the Skye Bridge and the Kyleakin Lighthouse.

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Skye Bridge, Scotland

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Kyleakin Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland

It rained most of the way back to Inverness. When we arrived in Inverness that Saturday night the restaurants and pubs were hopping with young people out on the town. We found a restaurant with no wait, had a quick supper and called it a night after a long but fantastic day.