Thursday, February 24, 2011
We have rented a minivan for today and tomorrow and plan to see La Pagerie, the birth place of Empress Josephine, and play on the zip lines at Mangofil.
We took a few wrong turns after we missed the exit to D7 at Riviere-Salee. A3 felt car sick, and we were forced to pull over near a beautiful beach and playground, with an internet base and info centre. So, we are all comfortable now and preparing to enjoy the rest of our day.
Internet is difficult to find, unreliable, slow, and often unavailable even in the places that advertise they offer it. So, we will be a bit incognito until the next stop that has reliable internet.
Friday, February 18, 2011
- Getting to tour around the sulphur springs and hanging out close to volcanic activity
- Swimming in volcanic mud
- Touring around the old fort and lookouts on Pigeon Island
- The clear, clear water at the snorkelling spots we stopped at
- We met so many cool people here, Rodney Bay really is starting to become a mid-season cruiser's mecca
- Having a pool-side bar right *at* the dinghy dock making happy-hours with our new friends and all the kids a no-brainer (where happy-hour is less than $1 CDN for a bottle of beer and $3 CDN for cocktails ... yum!)
- Another fantastic full moon in a pretty anchorage
- Shopping was easy and affordable (can almost dinghy right to the shopping mall)
- Getting to go along for a day-sail on a classic yacht
- Taking a break at a large marina where we got to meet lots of people and have showers several times a day
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Our first destination was to the active volcano where we walked around the steaming sulphur pools then went for a dip in some of the cooler pools lower down. The kids got to rub volcanic mud all over themselves ... we adults couldn't let them have all the fun so we all joined in too! Next stop, after a good rinse, was to the thermal water falls. Very nice! Sitting under the spray getting your tired muscles pounded on by warm to hot water from 100 feet up. We finished up by catching the end of happy hour at the marina pool.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
By this point in the passage we decided to stop using our genoa as we could no longer furl it. It's lashed to the deck on the bow where it stayed until Austin and I went up the mast to tighten the screws holding the seconds of the furling foil together.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The place is quite new so the owner is very keen to ensure that every guest experiences amazing service. And they did a pretty good job. Actually, they did an amazing job considering that they are new and are trying to cater to NA customers with a mix of Indian and local staff. But I probably need to explain this a bit lest it sound condescending. We've come to expect, and enjoy, a different kind of service here in the Caribbean. Servers down here tend to mumble a bit (English, as it's spoken in NA, is not usually their first language), they seem to avoid eye contact or have a stern air about them and seem to get distracted but we've learned that in pretty much every case they want their guests to have a great time. The reason, I think, that many North Americans, especially those here only for a short time (including us until we started to "get it"), get confused and come away thinking, "what strange/poor service," is that the body language, service protocols and expectations are all quite different than what we're used to in NA. It's not all business and fake smiles and overly keen eye contact. It's actually a very respectful approach. You are given a lot of personal space (thus the reduced eye contact) and lots of time to do your thing, whatever that might be. They are most certainly not hurrying you out the door so that they can fill that table once, twice or three more times that evening. And if they weren't serving us then they'd be serving their friends and you don't need to put on fake smiles and hurry your friends along or tell them all the details about your offerings that night because friends would already know what they were. So if you want really good, pleasant service in the Caribbean, relax. Find some way to interact with people on a personal level (talk about family usually works quite well) and they'll treat you like you were their friend, which is what we really want anyway.
But I digress. This new Indian place is trying hard to serve their customers as most North Americans would come to expect. The result is ... nice, but awkward in a different kind of way. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, don't get me wrong, but it was interesting to see them try so hard. Too hard probably. Oh well. We'd certainly go back given the chance as the food was terrific and the service, despite my ramblings above, really was quite pleasant.
For our foodie friends. I didn't get a picture of our spread, but here is a breakdown of what we ordered.
- Samosa Chat
- Chicken Tikka
- Fish Rasila with fresh local Mahi-mahi (very, very good!!)
- Mutter Alu
- Butter Chicken
- Garlic Naan
- Basmati Rice
- Veggie Pilau Rice
- Masala Chai
- Sweet Lassi
And they served us a nice little fudge cake and sang Carla Happy Birthday for fun. And now we're more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
For me, being the mother of a boy who is only 4 months older than Miles, I was really struck by the seriousness of what happened, and how bad it could have been. I'm even more vigilant about watching Aaron near water, and we keep him in his lifejacket most of the time.
Since Aaron wears his lifejacket so much, I've once seen him boldly follow Austin into the sea from the shore, he was submerged, his blonde hair floated up, then he surfaced, sputtering and crying. Fortunately for us, we all saw what happened and Austin was right there. Aaron is so accustomed to being buoyant in the water, that he is less fearful now, and he's not always aware that he's not in his lifejacket. I think Miles may have thought he still was wearing his water wings when he went into the pool to fetch his boat (he told his mum he was trying to get his boat when he went into the pool).
I noticed that Miles was found floating on his back. All my kids were afraid to swim on their backs when they first learned to swim, and Aaron is still terrified of this position. Miles was practicing leaning back into the water earlier in the day, with his mum. His big sister is a very strong swimmer and he's seen her swim on her back a lot. We don't know how long Miles was in the water, but I think he was better off on his back and able to get some air. I want to start helping Aaron to get more comfortable lying back in the water.
Austin's calm response and the absence of fear and panic in his rescuers has left Miles with a positive memory of the event. He told his mummy that he went "swimming under the water." He doesn't think he had an accident and he isn't more fearful of water. I remember a swimming instructor telling me that it can be difficult for parents to teach their children to swim, because the parents are too nervous about letting their little ones put their heads under water. Sometimes the parents, themselves, are nervous about being submerged. I remember that teacher being able to get Austin, at the age of 1, to hold his breath as she glided him underwater for a couple seconds. The technique was to blow air into his nostrils, then immediately bring his whole body, head first, under water. I have to admit that I was always hesitant to do this move. I'd blow into his nostrils, see the look of bewilderment in his face, then take him underwater too late, or I couldn't bring myself to take his face into the water at all. Anyway, I was reminded how much it helps people to learn to swim with teachers who are confident swimmers.
My final observation is that, when there are several adults supervising together, it's easy for us to have a false sense of security and to let down our guard. After this experience, I hope to be even more careful about keeping our kids safe around water.