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A Day at Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia

The breeze blew through my hair as I sipped rum punch at the stern of the small cabin cruiser zipping across the turquoise waters.

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October-February is supposed to be prime whale-watching time off the island of Saint Lucia, about 2,000 miles from New York City.


That’s when the mammals migrate from the cold waters of the open Atlantic Ocean to the warmer Caribbean Sea to mate and breed.  You can sometimes spot sperm, pilot, and humpback species leaping from the waters off the British Commonwealth nation — or so we’d read.

But our Holland America cruise didn’t offer a whale-watching excursion.  So all ten members of our family group piled into a private charter boat.

As the captain piloted the boat along the volcanic island’s west coast, the first mate pointed out some of its secluded resorts and geological wonders.

Adults-only Sandals Regency La Toc sits cliff-side in Castries, Saint Lucia’s capital city.  It features nine restaurants, butler-serviced villas, and the largest swim-up bar on the island.

Jade Mountain Resort, mid-way down the west coast and also adults-only, boasts a helipad, a sky deck, and suites with canopy beds, private infinity pools, and sea views from open fourth walls.

Further south is Qualibou, a live volcano which last erupted in 1766.

Most striking are the Pitons, twin mountains at the southwestern base of the island.  They are volcanic plugs — mounds of lava that harden after an eruption.

Nestled between them is the luxury Sugar Beach Viceroy Resort, with its white-sand beaches, enormous spa, and rooms featuring butler service and private decks and plunge pools.

Along the way, we spotted lots of flying fish, but we didn’t see any whales by the time the boat returned to the port at Castries.

At dusk, we were standing at the bow of the Nieuw Statendam, as she slowly cruised south.  Several villages dot the coast, and sailboats were gliding across the sparkling waters of Soufrière Bay.  We continued toward the Pitons.

A little after 5:30, the ship made a Crazy Ivan, to starboard, and we enjoyed the panoramic view of the majestic setting.  And then we headed out to sea.  It hardly mattered that we never did spot any whales.

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