Location: St. Lucia
The Crew was very nearly awoken by an impromptu fire alarm at 7:15 am. Still, thanks to some quick thinking and decisive action taken, this particular crisis was averted, and the day began in its normal pleasant manner. I don’t think there are too many places in the world where you can wake up, poke your head up on deck and be in such awe at the magnificent scenery as is possible here at the base of Petit Piton in St Lucia. We are actually moored up in what was once the immense crater of a large volcano, which has now collapsed, leaving what is known as a caldera and some quite spectacular views. Following a delicious breakfast of hard-boiled eggs (there was a heated debate this morning concerning the peculiar smell engulfing the boat: some were sure it was the eggs, others claiming it was the volcanic gasses, whilst many were convinced it was a result of some illegitimate late-night cheese snacking) the group listened attentively as Nick waxed lyrical about the merits of Marine Protected Areas. Shortly after we regrouped on the beach where we were met by our driver for the morning who took us on a tour of some beautiful botanical gardens and the world’s only Drive-in Volcano Crater and finally dropped us off at a delightful hot spring sat in the base of a warm volcanic waterfall. Once back onboard the boat, some chose to catch up on some study time whilst a group of us entertained the idea of snorkeling into a cave, home to a couple of thousand bats. Once inside to the cave, it became clear wed made a costly error; as the guano came raining down on our heads, we felt may have outstayed our welcome. We ended the evening by watching videos produced by the Soufriere Marine Management Association explaining their work in the beautiful area surrounding us, the partnerships between the local stakeholders to save the vibrant reef. Tomorrow we will meet the head ranger of this association, and he will take us diving at the base of the Pitons. Until then, it’s time to wash the guano off and go to sleep.