Few days in Soufriere

Susie and Adam (both think they are skipper)
Mon 31 Jan 2011 19:04
Yesterday decided to wander up to the Sulphur Springs which on our Map of St Lucia appear to be pretty close to our beach - the map wasn't too detailed though and we ended up heading the wrong way, climbed for half an hour up a very steep road to find a posh resort at the top and no Sulphur Springs - guards at the gate looked unimpressed by us and sent us packing.  Walked back the right way which then took us an hour and a half - we did get to see some of the country side though and to get to the Springs we walked through the Hotel Chocolate estate/plantation which had cocoa trees amongst other things.  At least it is getting us fit - it is all hills around here.
The sulphur springs stink - we kept smelling something wierd at the beach on the boat . .  I wondered if it was Adam. . .  Adam wondered if it was me - but we found out that it was actually the springs - it's basically an expanse of bubbling black pools and steam.  After looking at the springs you can go and have a bath in the hot mineral water so we did - arrived at the bath which is basically a 4ft deep pool with a black stream running into it and out of it and it was packed with folk off a tour bus - we were just getting depressed and thinking of just leaving - but then next minute they were all hurried onto their bus and we had the place to ourselves.  I thought it would be a bit more developed but it was quite nice it was rustic - just a stream with a very big bath built in it, some showers and little changing rooms on the side.   It was indeed very nice - water very warm and you have to wander off up the stream to go and collect mud which you then cover self in and stand in the sun til it dries like big mud pack.   Then back in the bath to wash it off.  Then some germans arrived and laughed at us - so we sent them off up the stream to get some mud, and despite the strange looks they gave us - they came back plastered in it and triumphant.  After about 30 mins the next tour bus arrived so we left!
We're awaiting some parts for one of the casualties of our atlantic trip (our duogen) so we decided to stay in this area - paid up for a week to stay on the mooring buoys which are managed by the local marine conservation folk - good value as it's only twenty pounds for a week and it's protecting all the coral which is worth paying a few pounds for plus it saves us having to get the anchor out. they have quite a few buoys all around this area. 
Been snorkelling around the bay today - highlight was a turtle.  Under the boat  it is quite nice - some coral and quite a few fish, lobsters and eels.  Just under where the boat is moored there is a patch of garden eels all with their heads sticking out of the sand - I have never seen those before.
Here's me looking tired after a long walk to Sulphur Springs - my head appears to be steaming
Moved across the bay today about a whole mile to moor under some cliffs on the other side - had to do it early before breakfast as we wanted the best mooring that is on it's own so were eagerly watching for the boat that was on it to leave.   Some fishermen who helped us onto the mooring told us about the Bat Cave which is a few hundred metres away in the cliffs - went in the dinghy to investigate, there is a long narrow vertical split in the cliff face and as you get closer you can hear the squeaking - we rowed up in the dinghy so we didn't have the engine noise and the split is absolutely full of bats - even in the day they were making a load of noise, there must have been a couple of thousand in there.  We hoped that at dust they would all fly out in a big stream like in films but either they didn't or we missed it.  They're only small bats - probably about hamster sized. 
Been using the camera - still some improvements to make but it's all practice!  There is a lot of life and the water is pretty clear - I take pictures of still stuff!
Been practicing our 'free diving' (to use the posh word or snorkelling to everyone else! - Adam has so far managed 7 metres, me 6 - aim is to get to 10m by end of the month. .  .)
Not sure what this is below, I think it is starfish related.  You only ever see them at night - they can move because at night they appear on the tops of sponges and high points in the coral (although we never see them move - in the day they are not there, at night they appear by magic) , they have a clump of feet at the base and then spread out a big fan to catch things in the water.  I need to get a book to look them up - they are quite big, about a foot across.  Perhaps they only move when not being watched. . . . . . which is a bit scary
These are on the menu at all seafood restaurants around here. . . . . this one wasn't very happy with my camera flash! - but he has some nice colours on him.  They have enormous antennae at the front - about twice as long as the lobster itself, and they wave them about, or they wave them about at us anyway
Peacock  worm - granted not the fastest moving or most exciting - but I had to include it as it is in focus!