Actually, this post should have been posted before the one I wrote about Dominica, but I got them out of order. Sorry.
Anyway, St. Kitts was absolutely gorgeous! This is our view from the ship as we pulled into the port:
Sometimes, people might think, “You’ve seen one island, you’ve seen them all,” but that’s simply not true. While all of them are tropical with lush green landscapes and crystal clear blue water, each location also has its’ own unique style, people, and culture. St. Kitts was no exception.
After mom and I ate breakfast, we disembarked and sought out a personal driver yet again. We found one that was happy to tote our happy arses around the island for a fee of $100USD.
As we started out, I wanted to stop to take a photo of the small church and cemetery, but either the driver didn’t hear my request or didn’t really give two-shits what I wanted. So, this is a “moving” picture that I caught of the area and the wind-blown trees.
While all Caribbean islands experience strong trade winds, it seemed that it was even windier here. Either that or as our driver was speeding, he created enough force to bend palm trees.
I soon figured out that our driver was not only Speedy Gonzales, but not too talkative either, especially after slowing a bit, pointing, and saying, “Veterinary School,” before speeding off again. I was still somehow able to snap a picture before my head was thrown back from the G-force and I was given whiplash.
We hadn’t even been in the car 10 minutes before I decided that I’d already had enough of this nonsense and spoke up.
Me (tapping the driver on the shoulder): Hey Speedy, do you think you might be able to slow down so that we can enjoy your beautiful island?
He shrugged and kept driving, seeming to ignore me yet again, but as we neared the Sir Thomas Warner Tomb, he stopped and let us walk up to the gate, which was locked. No tours. Great.
Sir Thomas Warner was a captain in the guards of James I of England who became an explorer in the Caribbean, obviously beating Christopher Columbus to the punch by landing on St. Kitts first. I guess 150+ years earlier, Columbus somehow missed the island. Warner explored all of the islands in the Lesser Antilles, but decided St. Kitts would be best-suited for an English colony.
In 1625, A French captain, Pierre Belain d’Esnambuc, arrived on the island. After hearing about the success of the English colony, d’Esnambuc organized a fleet to establish a French colony, but most of the fleet was destroyed when they ran into the Spanish Armada. The flagship and its’ passengers survived and Warner felt sorry for them, allowing them to settle on the island.
There’s some history for ya.
While mom and I were traveling around the island, I kept seeing fields of what looked like corn growing. I soon found out that it was sugar cane.
Up until 2005, St. Kitts was a major exporter of sugar to the US and outlying areas. I say, “Up until 2005,” because the local government closed the industry at that time because of its decreasing profitability. Tourism has now become the primary source feeding the local economy and with all the island has to offer and its beauty, it’s not hard to see why.
Old Dutch Windmills were used in the processing the sugar, but most have been destroyed by hurricanes and never repaired.
Such a shame to let a piece of history just sit idle. So much more can be done to preserve an era that has long been forgotten.
Prior to leaving on the cruise, I gathered up several small clear bottles so that I could collect sand from each of the locations I visited. I figured one jar from each island would be sufficient, until I got to St. Kitts. While most Caribbean islands host powdery white sand, St. Kitts offers not only white, but also pink and black.
The colors of sand are different because of the undersea coral reefs nearby and the ocean currents that affect the locations involved by carrying different types of minerals and sea creatures to the area. White beaches are usually made up of coral and/or transparent quartz. A beach with pinkish sand gets its color from red algae, and the black sand is finely pulverized volcanic rock. Since I only had one jar for St. Kitts, I layered the sand. It did the trick.
On the Caribbean Sea side of the island (west and southwest), the water was mostly calm, with only smallish-type waves rolling in. Perfect for snorkeling. The Atlantic side was more suited for local surfers. I was not prepared for a simple, but most awesome view: the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea coming together in one spot:
The two waters crashing and churning together looked somewhat angry. I’d hate to get caught in that mess. Can you imagine the current? You’d be sucked under in seconds.
Moving more inland, mom and I were anxious to visit the Wingfield Plantation, known to be the ruins of the oldest sugar plantation and where the Romney Manor is located. This plantation is also considered the gateway to the rain forest. Today, the original manor is the home of the Caribbean Batik, which is coloring cloth using a wax-resist dyeing technique, similar to tie-dyed t-shirts.
The property also boasts a beautiful botanical garden, but unfortunately upon our arrival, it was closed so this was as close as I could get. Sigh.
Not much else happened in St. Kitts. I don’t know if it was a holiday or not, but it seemed most of the island and its’ people were quietly idling away the day. Sounds like the perfect “Island Time” to me.
I did get a highlight later that afternoon in the form of a *giggle* when we returned to the ship. I as sitting in the stern (back) and taking pictures of the evening sunset as we departed St. Kitts.
Lo and behold, we were joined by another passenger, wearing a skirted swimsuit. As the wind picked up, so did her skirt and I saw that she was wearing underwear underneath.
The pictures is a little blurry and as I went to take another one, she was joined by her husband who noticed me pointing the camera in their direction. To avoid a riot, I slipped the camera away. In a way, I wanted to ask them if they were rednecks too.
Next stop, Barbados.