Today we reached Cabrits Bay on the Isle of Dominica where guests visited the Syndicate Trail. The loop through the forest allowed our guests to walk among the native plants and animals that make this trail a unique treasure, home to the endemic parrots that can only be found on the island. Local guides enhanced our trip by providing information on the local population, history, traditions, music, food, and religion. During lunch on the ship, we were joined by Dr. Lennox Honychurch. The esteemed historian joined our group and led a tour of historical Fort Shirley. With the help and support of international institutions, students, and the local government, Dr. Honychurch began the project in 1986. The result is a remarkable reconstruction of the architecture from the 18th century in the Caribbean. Originally built in 1765, Fort Shirley served an important purpose for the defense of Cabrits Bay. The fort protected the bay from invaders and served as a garrison as the British protected the safe passage of sugar to Europe. Our day ended with guests taking their first swim and snorkel from Purple Turtle Beach. Later that evening, Sea Cloud sailed away towards our next destination.
What a way to celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day! What could be more romantic than sailing on board Sea Cloud , a 91-year-old, four-masted barque, the most beautiful sailing yacht ever built? We experienced winds from the north and northeast, perpendicular to our course. We were aiming for Bequia, the “island of the clouds,” or Becouya in the Arawak language. Captain John Svendsen took guests around the ship to show off every restoration detail. We are on a floating museum, a beauty that is kept alive thanks to the quality of her construction, the care and constant maintenance of her sailors, and because of our guests who keep exploring the world. If the morning was for sailing, the afternoon was for Bequia, which is seven square miles in area and part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. After lunch, we dropped anchor in Admiralty Bay in front of Port Elizabeth. We visited the Sargeant Brothers Model Boat Shop. Here, artisans spend their days carving and building replicas of vessels in Port Elizabeth. They shape the wood with tools that have been utilized for decades, and they work with the same gumwood that the Caribs used to build the canoes that brought them from the Orinoco region into the Lesser Antilles centuries ago. Some of us walked a little farther to the boat museum where Mercy, the wife of the older Sargeant brother, explained the evolution of boat building in Bequia with tenderness and a big smile. The museum is alive because of Mercy’s dedication and passion. It is love that keeps things bright and thriving, as is the case with Sea Cloud . And today we celebrated love with all our senses. >We enjoyed rum punches and piña coladas from Jack’s Bar, where we gathered for swimming and relaxing. After this, we had a brief green flash experience. Hotel manager Simon surprised us twice today. He amazed us with an enormous, heart-shaped cake for lunch. At night, he amazed us again with roses while we enjoyed the local band “Kings of Strings.” And so the night went on with singing, dancing, and calypso rhythms played by four smiling musicians from a town that will stay in our hearts.