Thursday, November 14, 2013

Snorkeling Reduit Beach

Pigeon Island is at the north end of Rodney Bay, guarding the entrance to the bay, quite a hike from Elaine's apartment. At the south end of Rodney Bay is Reduit Beach which is just a few minutes walk from the apartment.

The beach and the bay beyond are sand bottom so for much of it there is not a lot to see. But there are these fantastic little patches of reef that you just happen on. They are all the more remarkable because they are such a surprise, sort of popping up out of the sand. The biggest and most interesting bit of reef, Elaine calls her "dessert reef." It's the last one she visits each time. It truly is amazing.

We saw a number of things we don't see here in PR. For example, the bright red cushion starfish is very common. They can grow to nearly 18 inches across.

Another common but weird resident of the reefs in St Lucia is the spaghetti worm.

These are actually tubeworms, The worm buries itself in a crevice or a space between bits of reef. the long spaghetti-like things capture food for the worm. I have heard that we do have then in PR but I'v never seen one here.

These little patches of reef are Elaine's after work hang-out. I understand why.

You can see more photos of snorkeling at Reduit Beach on our Flickr page.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Surf season is here

Grace. Power. Strength. Beauty.

It doesn't matter if the surfer is female or male: that description applies.

Surf season is here in Puerto Rico. Last weekend they held the Corona Pro competition at Middles. Unfortunately other responsibilities kept me away so I didn't get to see or photograph any of it. But they had waves! Unusual for this event. Everything I've heard indicates it was a great event, well attended by both surfers and spectators. I know it was hard to drive through Jobos and past Middles.

This photo is from a session at Wilderness on Veterans' Day. You can see a lot more photos from this session on our website, and on our Flickr page.

There's a big swell supposed to hit on Friday and Saturday. It looks like it's going to be windy as well so we'll have to see how good the surfing is. But we'll be there ready for it.

For those of you hoping for more about St. Lucia, thanks for your patience. There is more coming, we promise.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Meanwhile, back in Puerto Rico...

There are still more posts to come about St Lucia, but life goes on in Puerto Rico as well. Surf season started this week with the first big swell of the year. I got a pretty good set of photos from Wilderness this week. The photos are up on our website,

I've heard varying reports about this swell, how big it's been, how good it's been (or not been), how much some people have surfed, etc. Maybe I've just been in the wrong places but here are my observations. Yes, it has been by far the biggest, longest lasting swell of the new season. But everywhere I've been - mostly Wilderness and Surfers - the waves have seemed very "heavy" and very "fat," not breaking very well. I've seen a lot of heads bobbing in the water but frankly, not a lot of surfing. Like I said maybe I've just been in the wrong place.

The Corona Pro Surf competition is this weekend at Middles. It looks like this swell is going to stick around long enough make this competition fun. If the wind stays down, the competitors should have some nice clean waves to play on. On the other hand, if the wind comes up a bit, I'll be able to fly my KAP kite and get some photos from up there.

More about the competition as the weekend goes on. And let's hope this is also the start of our season at Ola Lola's as well.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

At the base of Pigeon Island

There are a number of amazing snorkeling spots in St Lucia but Rodney Bay isn't usually mentioned as one of them. However, around the base of Pigeon Island there is some pretty good snorkeling. The bottom is mostly huge rocks I guessing were put there when Sandals built the causeway. A few corals, some sponges and other assorted sealife are moving in and trying to turn this rip-rap into a reef.
One of our more interesting experiences with with these brown chromis. We must have been too close to their nesting area because a number of them got very aggressive and stated pecking at us. Kinda cool actually but we moved away and left them alone.

There are a lot more photos from snorkeling at the base of Pigeon Island on our Flickr page. Click on the link or either of the photos to see them.

Monday, November 04, 2013

More from the top of Pigeon Island

We wrote about Fort Rodney on Pigeon Island at the north end of Rodney Bay. This is the view looking south from Signal Hill, the taller of the two peaks on Pigeon Island.

Pigeon Island used to be an actual island, separated from the main island. Then Sandals resorts built the causeway between the two and built a resort on the causeway. If it's not obvious, the resort is all those red-roofed buildings in the center of the photo. This is one of three Sandals resorts on St. Lucia. Tourism is far and away the largest industry in St Lucia. While there are a number of resorts, Sandals is the largest player and the largest employer on the island.

That little stretch of beach below and to the right of Sandals is a cool little spot. It has food-and-drink kiosks, similar to Villa Pesquera here in Isabela, one of which is my new "away-from-home-happy-place." My happy place used to be a bar/restaurant on the beach in Barbados called Lobster Alive. Now it's this little kiosk at the foot of Signal Hill on Rodney Bay.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

First days in St Lucia

My first day in St. Lucia I went to work with Elaine. This is the view from her therapy room window. I've seen most of the therapy rooms she's worked in and this one is one of the nicest. Back in Michigan she had a therapy "room" that was just a corner of the school's boiler room. She's shared classrooms, used janitor's closets, you name it. Her room at CDGC is bright and airy and colorful. Oh yeah, and this is the view!

After work we took a walk around Castries.This is the interior of the Castries cathedral.

The kiosk where we stopped for a "bake" in the morning. What's a "bake?"

This is a "bake." They come roasted on a BBQ grill, fried (a "fry bake") and a yeast version called a "float."

You can get them plain, buttered, filled with cheese (a really good white cheddar), salt fish or tuna. They are yummy!

Street scene in Castries:


A favorite way to get around:

The church beside the church:

The farmers' market in Castries:

One of the sauce vendors at the farmers' market:

A second story bar/restaurant:

A commercial building in Castries. I love the way the green paint has peeled to reveal the blue underneath.

A tiny small part of the hill Elaine walks up every morning to get to work. She and other pedestrians share the tiny roadway with cars - and buses and trucks - going up and coming down.