Monday, March 2, 2009

Final Island - Barbados and Return

I don't know if I loved Barbados the best or if what we did on Barbados was the most fun we had. Either way, our group of 11 hardy vactioneers chartered the Heat Wave, a catamaran that offered plenty of snorkling, lunch, and all the drinks we wanted. (If you are getting the idea that our new friend Suzanne liked to drink, you'd be right. She hit a homerun on this excursion.)

We boarded the catamaran, settled down to sail along a gorgeous coast to a beach setting where we snorkled and looked at beautiful tropical fish. Yes, the creatures from the black lagoon jumped in the water, emerging later looking foolish but happy.

We moved to a different site for more snorkling. This time, the men who ran the Heat Wave threw out fish pieces to attract green turtles. We romped in the water and had to be dragged back onto the boat. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, had some local beer, and eventually made our way back to the Boatyard beach. There, our party bade farewell to the Heat Wave and broke into two groups -- those who hadn't had either enough sun or enough to drink, and those of us who looked like lobsters in spite of 85 SPF sun block. I was in the latter group.

Reluctantly, the group reassembled on the cruise ship, relaxed and dressed for dinner. We had a day at sea ahead of us, before returning to San Juan and one last day together.

Terry and I spent our last three days in San Juan walking around forts and the old city. It was so beautiful that we couldn't get our fill. We took a night kayaking trip to a bioluminescent pool, traveled through a mangrove forest, and returned to our car minutes before a tropical storm wiped out the later paddle tours. We even had another tourist take our picture at the top of a fort with the Caribbean in the background.

All good things have to end. So does my recap of our cruise. I hope you enjoyed your journey with me.

Grenada -- Or Just Another Perfect Day in Paradise

Suzanne redeemed herself. For Grenada, she recommended a trip to a series of waterfalls. I've seen Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite, and the smaller falls on Dominica, so Terry and I passed. Our friends loved the tour, though, so Suzanne is safe.

Terry and I toured St. George's, the capital. Once again, the city was bathed in sunlight and pastel colors. By our third island, they all began to look alike from our stateroom. However, we walked into town and turned toward the forts located to the right of the port area. Within walking distance, especially if you're both urban hikers (we are) and/or mountain climbers (we aren't), the forts overlook the harbor.

From the fort we had a perfect view of the deep-water harbor; however, the juxtaposition of the cannon and the tour ships offers a significant message: spend lots of money or else!!!

Grenada is the spice island of the Grenadines. We prowled the spice markets and came back with several gifts for our friends who love to cook. My favorite was two ounces of ground saffron for $2.00. Try buying saffron for that price at Trader Joe's or Kroger.

We spent the afternoon near the pool onboard ship, resting and reading. I took some time to look at what others were reading. By and large, the men were reading Baldacci, Grisham, Dale Brown, and history. Women were deep into Janet Evanovich, Debbie Macomber, Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen. And then there was the very serious woman reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. I don't know I'd pick that for a vacation, although it remains one of my favorites.

As we got ready to sail, a local tanker entered the harbor. Even the boats were brightly painted.

Next, Barbados!