Today, we arrived in Kingstown, on the Island of St. Vincent.
This morning, we took a meander into town. It’s not quite such an attractive place as St Georges, but it does still have a certain charm. The area around the port is a tad scruffy, but as you leave that behind and walk further into the town, things start to pick up. There are lots of colourful market stalls everywhere, and an interesting fish market; folks are friendly here, as with most of the islands in this part of the world; they’re curious, of course, and keen to know about the visitors from the ship, wandering around their town.
We made our way to the Cathedral, which is of colonial design, and boasts a famous stained glass window featuring an angel dressed in red – hated by Queen Victoria, apparently. Unfortunately, there was a service in progress, so we couldn’t really wander in and start taking photographs and shooting video, so we went next door, to the old Roman Catholic Church, which is truly a sight to behold. It looks like the builders simply couldn’t decide what style it should be built in, so they opted to use all of them; it rather looks like a church built of lego bricks. It’s a cool little place, though, with a courtyard bursting with colourful, and unusual, plants. They have a little soup kitchen, which feeds a llarge number of impoverished residents every day; a queue was forming while we were there.
A wander back to the ship for lunch took us past many more market stalls, and the constant mithering of taxi drivers offering to take us around the island, or to the beach…. on this occasion, we weren’t interested…. because something far more exciting had been lined up for us this afternoon….
Glenn, the Shore Excursions Manager had arranged a private catamarran for crew members only. 72 of us piled on board at 1:30pm, for a three and a half hour, exclusive excursion. Firstly, the catamarran took us along the coast, to a location used in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The guy on the boat described several scenes to us, and pointed to various places in front of us; a natural rock arch, where three skeletons were hanging; a rock face where some crane or other crashed to the sea, and a harbour featuring several buildings that were constructed specifically for the film; he described Captain Jack Sparrow’s memorable arrival ashore – this is where it all happened. Sadly, not being a huge fan of the films, I’m not very familiar with said scenes, but promise to re-watch them when I get the chance, just to try and spot what we’d seen from the catamarran.
After this, we were taken to a private, secluded beach. The catamarran rode up, headlong, onto the beach and dropped everybody off. Goggles and snorkels were provided for those who wanted them, and we were given an hour to do exactly whatever we wanted with the beach, while the catamarran anchored slightly offshore for a small number of people to practice their diving techniques.
It was a glorious hour. With the islands being volcanic, the sand on the beach is quite dark, and in the unsheltered spots, very hot to walk on in bare feet. This didn’t matter once you were in the water; the beach dropped quite steeply, making the incoming surf quite energetic… all huge fun, though.
The journey back to the Marco Polo was one massive party, fuelled by loud music and endless supplies of complimentary rum punch.
It’s coming up to 9pm now. We’ve eaten dinner early so that we could come out to the terminal where wi-fi is free for an hour, providing you purchase a drink. $5 bought us a beer and a coffee, so we’re happy…. it’s been a good day…