Instead Of Irma - Part I Diamond Botanical Gardens
Northwest side of St. Lucia
What do you do when there is a hurricane pointing both barrels at most of your friends and some of your family... and there's nothing you can do about it? Well doing nothing for several days besides sitting inside with my eyes glued to internet weather reports was leaving me distraught!
I don't want to add to the drama of it all, but there is just no way to NOT think about the aftermath that we're going to be dealing with for months, maybe years! We LIVE in the Caribbean Islands... And if several of them are torn up, it affects us all!
Part of me was glad when I got the news that we were going through with our car rental plans with Sally and Jesse (Pyxis) ... but the other part of me wanted to hide in my boat and watch for news of our many friends whose homes and lives were being changed at that very moment... I liken these feelings to a sort of "survivor's guilt"... I actually feel guilty just going on with my day when so many people are in real and grave danger... But whaddaya gonna do... Instead of Irma???
Our first day was spent taking care of adult stuff... We had appointments with various Doctors in Rodney Bay or Castries, and some grocery shopping. We had to find lunch and instead, found an ominous reminder of what was going on just off the beaches of St. Lucia. We are far south of the Monster Irma as she approached St. Martin, but here effects could be plainly seen in the form of a brisk and gusty west wind, and the resulting big waves where there normally are none.
We stood in the blowing sand and watched these huge rollers torture this small cove just around the point to the north from Rodney Bay. One lone surfer sat on his board out there taking continuous pounding from the surf. We decided to backtrack to the marina where we could find lunch in a more civilised setting...
With all of our business done, we returned to our boats where we were met by Ford, the Harbormaster here in Marigot Bay. He was concerned that our boat needed a few extra lines to protect us against the west winds. He worked with us for about the next half hour making sure that we were set for the night. The winds here weren't forecast to exceed 30 knots and there are literally NO waves making their way into our hurricane hole. But it was nice to feel a little extra secure to ensure a good night's sleep... (there't that guilt again...)
The next morning dawned with a light west wind, that turned east before we were done with breakfast. Irma was over... for us. News of damage in the area surrounding St. Martin was coming in trickles. I just couldn't look. We left the computer screen and piled into our little Jimny, and away we went in search of adventure!
A tourguide joined us for the walk through this beautiful private property. The cost was $7 US per person, plus whatever tip we deemed appropriate for the guide afterwards. There is also a cost for a 30 minute soak in the mineral baths inside, but we were headed for a waterfall from here, so we skipped that.
They use Cocoa Husks to build borders!
We were happy to hire the services of the (optional) Tourguide... We've learned our lesson that being too cheap to hire a guide means a very limited experience..
These people are very knowledgeable about the island and the plants that grow here as well as the history of the area. Our guide answered every question we came up with... and there were many!
Fishtail Palm berries... If the birds don't eat them... YOU shouldn't either!
I learned a LOT and only wish I had something to write down all of the names of the beautiful flowers in the garden. See the pictures below... I'll post the names I remember.
Flowers are pressed into the wet cement for traction with flair!
Cocoa is grown in the island and there are two places that offer tours... Put that on our list-of-things-to-do...
There is a local drink made from grated cocoa stick called Cocoa Tea. I have tasted it and I will concur that it is indeed... an acquired taste...
Click above for the recipe. The cocoa tea I had was somewhat thick and our guide told me that some people use flour to thicken it. I suggest making it without the flour.
I mentioned before that these gardens are part of a private estate. This land has been in the family since it was bestowed upon three brothers by King Louis XIV in 1713.
It is amazing to me to think that one family has passed this property down from generation to generation for so long.
Also amazing is how well laid out and kept these gardens are.
This is the flower from the nutmeg tree. This tiny little flower packs a powerful scent. Earlier in our walk, I asked the guide if there were cashews growing nearby because I could smell something that I could only imagine was the cashew fruit.
She told me it was the nutmeg trees and that their scent was similar to the cashew although the plants are not related.
I could always smell the nutmeg trees when we came close to one.
Red Torch Ginger will die if touched by the human hand.
In St. Lucia, Vanilla vines are planted to grow on Cocoa trees. They are a type of orchid and harvesting is very labor intensive, thus the high price for real vanilla.
The Corkscrew Ginger plant...
Another name for the Corkscrew Ginger is Crêpe Ginger
Soap Ginger... No wonder I couldn't find the name! It has many!
A walking tree, walking over the pathway!
A Mahogany tree
An old aqueduct no longer in use... because it's too much work to keep all the stuff out of it!
Wow! Made it through the gardens and you're still with me! We've been to several Botanical Gardens in our travels and this one moves up to favorite status. It is SO well maintained and the layout provides an easy and enjoyable walk along cool, shady pathways. We never saw anyone working but with all the rain they get here... there must be an army of people keeping the forrest at a manageable level... Good job Diamond People!
Thanks for the update and glad to hear you were safe from Irma. Why the big gap in posts from June to September?ReplyDelete
Busted. I've struggled to keep up while we were moving with very slow internet access. I'm working on getting caught up now that we're stationary for a while. Thanks for noticing! Keep looking at the earlier dates, I'll get them cranked out soon but they still take a while as internet here, while good, isn't great.Delete