Ok, so here I am in St. Lucia after an incredible couple of days in St. Vincent. We sailed up to St. Vincent from the Grenadines a few days ago and docked in a small bay on the caribbean side. The bay was actually the location of where they shot Pirates of the Caribbean. The town and movie set there was intact but definitely pretty run down. It was amazing how small the set actually was. As for the ships, they had all gone back home, but I actually saw the black pearl this morning as we pulled into St. Lucia. I think they just use it as a tourist boat now. Anyway, the first day there was a bit lazy with a short hike up to a small waterfall where along the way, to go with the many goats, donkeys and cows, I saw an iguana that was proably five feet long. Unfortunately I missed the photo as I think I scared it off by hissing at it. Oh well, I am sure there will be plenty more.
The next day, I awoke at about 5:00 to get an early start on hiking to the top of the volcano on St. Vincent. I think it last erupted in 79, but it is still steaming and they expect it to go off again sometime in the next five to ten years. Anyway, the british girl on board the boat, Tanya, came with me. We had hired a guide as the trail is hard to follow and there are a lot of pot farms on the way up with people living and working them. The hike started on a black sand beach, and headed up through the jungle before following a narrow ridge that had been created by a past explosion of the volcano to the top. This was the highest point on the island, right around 4000 feet. A pretty tough uphill climb. I was impressed the British girl kept up as this was not her fortay back home and she was wearing little boat shoes without socks. At the top, you were battling 60 to 70 mph winds to stand up and you could look over into the caldera. Pretty impressive view inside with a view back to the caribbean sea on the other side.
On the way up, we had seen several pot farms and our guide had stopped by to say hello and have a glass of water at one of them. We stopped again on the way down and I got up the courage to ask a guy who was clipping the marijuana from the dried plants if I could take his picture. I mean this guy was sitting in front of the biggest pile of pot you have ever seen, just cutting it off of the branches. He said no, but sent me to another guy. From there, Tanya and I got the full tour. He took me around the back of the hill to show me all of his plants that were ready to be harvested. We then went to his drying area where he probably had hundreds of pounds of marijuana hanging up and drying. After that we were shown how after it is clipped from the plants, they put it into buckets and it ends up weighing 18 pounds in each bucket. From the bucket, it goes into tightly wrapped plastic packages for it's worldwide distribution. I got some photos and made some interesting new friends to say the least. One of the stranger things I have done in my travels by all means! From there we hiked down to the bottom and then over to a two stage waterfall that was about 200 feet high. Very impressive, especially since no one was there. It was a good opportunity to get some good photos. I think I will have some posted soon as I am sending a cd home to have someone upload them. Anyway, we returned to the boat in time to prep the boat before setting sail at 9:00 that night for St. Lucia.
This sail was my first night watch. Basically, my first shift was from midnight to three in the morning. I was very tired not having slept since the night before but it was a wonderful experience to be sailing between islands with no land in sight and millions of stars in the sky. As we departed from being blocked by the wind from St. Vincent around 10:30, we put out the sails. It was an experience to be out on the bow of the boat with strong winds and heavy seas that you could barely see, letting out the sails! Definitely intimidating, but wearing a safety harness helped to ease any fears of falling overboard! Once the sails were all up, I waited for my turn to go on watch. After watching a few shooting stars and a couple of freight ships come by, my turn was over. Although tiring and a bit slow, it is amazing to sit there under the stars, looking at all of the phosphorescents in the water every time the bow dips down into the water and listening to the waves breaking onto the side of the boat. I am looking forward to more.
From here, I am spending a couple of days in St. Lucia and will set sail for Domincia after that. Sorry for the lack of photos and good stories, but hopefully this email has painted a good picture for you of what is going on down here!