St. Kitts

Every now and then someone will ask me “What is your favorite port?” Until this year I have always answered, “Haiti, St. Croix and St. Lucia”. I guess I have a top three….except, now I have a top FOUR! I have added St. Kitts to the list of favorites.

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Dinner bell?  Nope

We parked the ship in port and wove through the maze of Tour guides looking for their charges for the day.  Our guide was a tall Island Native wearing rainbow sunglasses named “Zulu”.  Our destination was twofold. The Caribelle Batik house and also the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.

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Caribelle Batik

 

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Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, view from the top.

We began our journey driving through St. Kitts while Zulu told us about his homeland.  I have decided that in the future I really need to bring a notebook for these adventures!  I apologize that I cannot remember what all of these buildings are, shame on me.

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Those are called “Travelers’ Palms” because they grow east to west.

 

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Coca Cola anyone?

 

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“Her Majesty’s Prison”

 

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This tree is over 200 years old!

 

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Goats are let out in the morning to roam the island and they come home at night.

 

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Monkey’s by the side of the road.

I felt bad for those Monkeys, it doesn’t seem like a happy existence.

After about 45 minutes we started heading UP UP UP to the fortress.

Brimstone Hill Fortress

The Fortress was designed by British Army Engineers and constructed by African Slave workers.  In 1690 in an effort to recapture Fort Charles from the French Occupation on the coast the first Canons were mounted by the British.

 

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YIKES!

Although the clouds were threatening the desire to climb to the top was strong. We made our way up the long ramp/steps to the gun deck.

 

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The view from the top was worth the climb!

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I couldn’t help thinking “Game of Thrones?”

Some more from the top.

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That’s our bus!

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There was another even higher level about six or eight steps up. I made it to the top step when a big gust of wind blew and I chickened out and went back down.

 

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How’s my hair?

That Wind!  All week!!  In addition, it started to rain while we were at the top so I headed back toward the bus. Once we were all back onboard we took off down the hill toward the Caribelle Batik House. Christine climbed into the co-pilot’s seat and quickly discovered that the narrow mountain roads made for a nail biter of a ride.

 

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Hang on Chris! Zulu is in control!

 

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Going down!

The ride to and from the fortress took us past a HUGE lime kiln.

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We also drove past the limestone outcropping.

 

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Limestone

Then we were off to the Batik House.

Caribelle Batik

On our way we passed a beautiful tree FILLED with Egrets but sadly I was not in a good position to take a decent picture.

Caribelle Batik is a short ride from the Fortess in the forested hills.  We saw remnants of sugarcane crops and many beautiful trees and plants.

 

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Chicken!

 

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Forest

When we arrived we wandered the grounds a little before heading inside for a short demonstration on how Batik is made.

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Making Batik

In a nutshell, Batik is all about waxing the material. First, wax the parts that will be left white and then dye the entire fabric the lightest color of the design.  The next day after the fabric has dried wax the part that is to remain the lightest color and dye the entire fabric the next shade darker and so on.  If your design has five colors it will take five days to dye. Once the dying is complete scrape off most of the wax for reuse and boil off the rest.

 

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This piece took five days.

 

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Drying in the wind.

We popped out on the other side of the building and enjoyed some more of the landscape.

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Then it was back to port. There was so much to see on the Island of St. Kitts, if you haven’t been you should go, take notes!

  • Have you been to St. Kitts?
  • Favorite port(s)?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cruise 2017

Wheels down, let the vacation begin! We landed in Ft. Lauderdale on a breezy Friday morning where we would meet the rest of our “Cruise Peeps” to embark on our latest adventure. Who knew ‘breezy’ would turn into ‘WINDY’ and plague us for the better part of our trip?

Saturday morning was the traditional breakfast at the hotel followed by the bustle of dragging luggage on and off transports until handing it over to the porter at the Cruise port.

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View at Breakfast

After checking in and a SHORT wait we were able to board the “Freedom of the Seas” . This is the ship that we would call home for the next week.

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One of the largest ships in the fleet.

As we pulled out of port the captain made his embarkation announcement and advised that we were going to have ‘moderate to heavy seas’ that evening (3-8 foot swells) and ‘heavy seas’ (8-12 feet) overnight and the next day.  I didn’t think much of it because as large as these ships are you really don’t feel the rocking of the ocean.

Later that evening Christine and I were walking down the hallway on deck ten and couldn’t stop laughing because we kept crashing into the walls on either side.  Okay, so you can feel the rocking a little bit.

The following day was a Sea day which we typically spend on deck by the pool.  Unfortunately it was very windy out with some light rain.  We were also still in heavy seas which had the water slopping out of the pools. Instead we found our entertainment indoors. We took in a movie in the theater and Dana, Bill and I worked on getting Christine’s necklaces untangled.

 

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That’s some fancy knitting!

Bill finally managed to free those little buggers! Then it was time for lunch so off to JOHNNY ROCKETS!

 

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Singin ‘Johnny B Good’

Have you been to Johnny Rockets? It is fun, the wait staff lines up and sings and dances.

The next day we were due in Labadee, Haiti and had some big plans. Sadly we had to bypass the port. The captain announced that due to the now ‘rough seas’ (12 – 18 foot swells) the pier was mostly under water and the waves would make for an unsafe docking. So we had another sea day that we spent mostly indoors.  We were starting to feel a little down. We are troopers though so we made the best of it. The evening shows alone are worth the trip! Imagine ice skating on a moving ship in rough seas! Now put yourself in a hamster wheel on that ice and roll all over the rink!

Or maybe you could perform a cirque de soleil style act instead, really, these guys were phenomenal!

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Just getting warmed up!

On our third day we were finally able to dock. We were in Old San Juan for the day.  We had a tour of the forte planned for later in the afternoon but we all decided to wander around a little bit before lunch as well.

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Sort of wishing I had tried this coffee.
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Old San Juan

 

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Random lady covered in Parrots!

 

 

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As seen from the ship.

As we were heading back to the ship for lunch it started to rain a little.  I had not packed any rain gear and even forgot my hat! What the heck kind of sailor am I to not pack any rain gear?!?! (Hangs head in shame)

We left to meet our tour group and immediately encountered a steady rain. I decided that I was not going to enjoy a hike up the hill in this weather and bailed. I have already added rain gear to my packing list for next year!

The following day was St Maarten where I had already planned to stay onboard.  I always take one of our port days to myself and stay onboard. It is very relaxing to have the pool and hot tub to myself for a few hours.

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These parrots are not real.
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St Maarten port
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Not a pirate ship

This was the turning point in the weather. We finally started to see some sun and the winds lessened a bit. Looking forward to St. Kitts tomorrow!!  I will write more about St. Kitts in another post, it was such fun and deserves it own post.

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St. Kitts!

Yes, we did get caught in that raincloud but honestly didn’t care!

We finished off our trip with two more sea days where we were finally able to relax by the pool together. Dana and I went to the Mexican restaurant onboard called Sabor where we watched a demonstration of how to make guacamole and also margaritas.

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Two please!

They served all of the above (including three different margaritas) with our lunch.

Later that day was the DreamWorks parade in the Royal Promenade.  I love this parade! It starts out with just one stilt walker and ends up with EVERYONE on their feet moving to the music!

I high fived the Lion, I’m cool like that, no big deal.

Our seventh cruise together was not one of our best but at the end of the day we simply enjoy being together. The weather made it a little bit difficult and like all close families there was some bickering. That said, we are a tight unit who truly enjoy these annual trips. We have already booked next year and cannot wait to spend another week exploring the Caribbean together!

  • Any raingear recommendations?
  • Do you cruise? What is your favorite port?