On Thursday we docked in the capital of St. Kitts, Basseterre. We opted for a ship excursion in the morning, with a local company called Kantours, to try SNUBA and left the afternoon free to either chill on the beach or explore the town, depending on weather and how we felt. For anyone who has not yet tried SNUBA, I highly recommend it. It is essentially snorkeling, but instead of wearing a snorkel and being limited to only going down about 6 inches in the water, you have a mouthpiece connected to a 15 ft hose, connected to air tanks on a raft floating on the water. Therefore, you are sort of SCUBA diving, but you don't have to wear the tanks or worry about your oxygen. Its a great way for someone who loves to snorkel but is afraid to try SCUBA or has issues equalizing your ears in the depths, because you can choose to stay near the surface or ask for more weight in your belt which will help sink you towards the bottom.
We were a total of 6 for SNUBA that morning, so Tom and I went first with the other couple. We have done SNUBA a few times before so we immediately asked for weight and stayed on the bottom for the whole 45 minutes of the underwater adventure. The instructor was great and although the site we were at was murky and therefore not ideal for viewing fish and coral, our highlight was seeing 2 huge sea turtles from about 5 feet away! Not sure exactly how deep we were, but I would say about 10-15'. Our companions were new to SNUBA and they both took some time to getting OK with the concept of breathing underwater. He opted to stay near the surface the whole time and she eventually made her way to the sea bed by the end. Breathing underwater has never been off putting for me, but I can understand how it would throw people off, especially because you only breathe through your mouth.
While Pete and Ellen took their turn, the four of us lounged in the chaise chairs along Carambola Beach and the guys gallantly went on an adventure to the nearby clubhouse to procure glasses of rum punch. I mean it was 10 am so we were already behind on the vacation day drinking...
Burn some calories on the uphill climb from the parking lot to the fort entrance
Entrance to the inner keep and parade grounds, complete with bridge and moat
Note the incredible view in the background of the volcano on the island of Montserrat
By the time we returned to the pier it was past 2 pm and we were past ready for lunch. Taking recommendations from our driver in the morning, we tried Lemongrass, a Caribbean/Asian fusion restaurant across from the pier. We sat on the second floor balcony and enjoyed people watching in the town square while relaxing in the shade with a nice sea breeze. We split curried shrimp and the steamed whole snapper which we had been told was the local catch and quite delicious. Tom was in charge of deboning the fish, having closely watched the waiter on the ship perform this with surgical precision at the dinner table the previous night. Food was excellent and the service was good if you are looking for someplace to eat that is just steps from the ship.
We made it back on board in time for late afternoon trivia then relaxed poolside or on the balcony until dinner time. After dinner we caught the magic show which was interesting and yet we are all so disenchanted with these shows nowadays because we know its not really magic but they never explain how the tricks are done. The performer was really great with slight of hand and cards in particular. We then turned in to get ready for Friday which is the last port of call in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.