Location: Soufriere to Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

It was an early morning wake-up call for everyone aboard since we needed to finish breakfast by 6 in order to hike the Gros Piton (770m) and be back for lunch. It was meant to be a 4-hour hike to the peak, with prime views of the Petit Piton, St. Vincent, and Martinique. We were sleepy but excited as we departed, unconcerned over today’s unlucky date. Just after dawn, we arrived at a small historic village at the base of the hike, a place where freedom-fighting slaves had once hidden in caves and eventually settled. After a briefing on the hike and an affectionate visit with two local dogs, we started our ascent. The trail was easy at first but became steep and rocky after the halfway point. Still, we kept up an impressive pace. Our guide commended us on our physical fitness, remarking that we weren’t as sweaty or winded as other visitors typically are. Of course, he was wearing long pants with a tucked-in polo shirt and reached the top looking like he’d been sitting in an air-conditioned office for the past 1.5 hours! We were lucky to have a particularly clear view from the top and returned to Ocean Star fatigued but satisfied, having hiked in under 3 hours, and had a delicious lunch underway to Marigot Bay. Tonight, after a brief shore time for ice cream and internet, we’ll have a long-awaited night out at Doolittle’s.