We were welcomed back at Blue Lagoon like old friends. Razmike met us in his dinghy, came aboard and steered us through the reef. Desmond took our lines and then Raymond came over for a chat. We took the boys to the garden for their walk and to check on the lizards.
We’d planned to stay for a day or two and this turned into a week. It’s hard to uproot yourself when you’re having fun.
We arranged to export the cats from here and even managed to persuade the vet to come and inspect them onboard again. We were supposed to take the boys by taxi into Kingstown as there was a charge involved but they kindly let us take the paperwork there, make the payment and then do the inspection separately.
We hired a car for a couple of days to go exploring the island and we did the left side (leeward) on the first day. The road North was awful and full of potholes and we went through some very tiny towns before finally reaching Dark View Falls. Another stunning, unspoilt location with some magnificent waterfalls and absolutely no sign of health and safety as we walked up the steep steps to the top water falls. We were the only people there and bizarrely there was a girl in a reception hut who hand wrote us our entrance ticket when we arrived.
On the drive back we stopped at Wallilabou for lunch. This was one of the locations used during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Some of it was recognisable but mostly the buildings were tired and run down and most of the wooden pontoon had fallen away. Another tourist opportunity missed as we were the only people there as well!
On the second day with the hire car we were going hiking up the volcano with Raymond and so had an early start. We picked him up from his house just after 7am and headed up the right side (windward) of the island. We’d read that it was a 2 hour climb so were prepared for some exercise but we weren’t prepared for how steep it was. We managed to do the climb in 1 hour 30 minutes but it was quite a slog. The narrow track crossed 2 river beds and meandered before turning into uneven steps made from bamboo. We walked between massive bamboo trees, up above palm trees and then into the cloud where the ground became volcanic rock and stone. Some young lads ran down the track passed us in their bare feet and Raymond said that they’d probably be carrying drugs from one side of the island to the other. At the top we had to crouch to see into the crater as it was windy and a long way down. Between the gusts of cloud we could see the centre of the crater that had a hill smoking with sulphur on one side.
On the way down we passed several groups of people making their way up and asking how long they had left to the top. Some of them looked on their last legs so when we told them they had another 45 minutes to go they were distraught. We felt very smug that we’d got up early and were on the way back down!
We drove up the coast until the road literally ran out. It came to an abrupt end with a goat grazing on the side. We turned around and headed back down through the town.
We went to Owia Salt Water pond, a collection of pools filled by the Atlantic crashing either side of some steep rocks that provided natural protection. Beautiful.
Raymond then took us to see Blackwood Tunnel. This is a large manmade tunnel cutting through a hillside, created by a sugar trader to save having to transport all his sugar cane around the hill for loading onto ships.
We then had the excitement of actually driving onto the runway of Argyle International Airport that is under construction. There were huge machines flattening the track in preparation for the tarmac so Clive and Raymond just had to stand right in the centre of the runway for pictures.
The day ended with a cricket match in Raymond’s village, Stubbs. I have no idea what cricket is about but it was the most hilarious experience. It seemed that everyone from the village had descended there and there was so much heckling and banter, all done in good humour. They weren’t very good so the game was over fairly quickly. One of the bowlers was the local policeman and if he managed to throw a good ball the place erupted with cheering and an old drunken man, beer in hand, ran over to shake his hand. He was probably one of the locals best know to the police. There was plenty of arm waving and cursing on the field and everyone watching was having the time of their lives. This was a memorable way to end a very energetic and enjoyable day.