Ventura: Pilots and Pirates

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Tourism has yet to make a big mark on St Vincent, largest island in the Grenadines.
But with its modern, though modest, cruise terminal, and with a new airport due to open in 2011, it will surely catch up with its busier neighbours.
Leaping dolphins welcomed the Ventura to the port of Kingstown this morning, and after breakfast 12 of us clambered aboard a much smaller vessel, the Sea Breeze, in search of more of these delightful creatures.
With the help of amiable skipper Hal Daize and his hydrophone, we were not disappointed.
During the four-hour excursion, we saw countless bottlenose and Frasiers dolphins, and a decent-sized pod of pilot whales. We also heard – and we have to take Hal’s word as the expert – several sperm whales, which unfortunately declined to surface for us.
On our return journey, we travelled down the coast, visiting Wallilabou Bay where a collection of buildings, jetties and cranes looked somewhat incongruous, though slightly familiar.


That’s because they were built as the set for the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies and will surely become a bigger draw when tourists arrive in larger numbers.
Back in Kingstown, a stroll through the bustling streets revealed a community catering for a procession of ferries to Bequia and the smaller Grenadines, The supermarkets, hardware stores, market stalls and street hawkers are clearly there to meet local needs rather than attract the tourist dollar.
The town has some claims to fame though. It houses what is reputed to be the oldest botanical gardens in the west, with a breadfruit tree dating back to the original plant brought by Captain Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty).
The Liverpudlians among Ventura’s passengers would have been familiar with the concept of two cathedrals – the Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption is a particularly ornate affair with a mixture of Moorish, Byzantine, Venetian and Romanesque influences which by itself could have been another movie set.

By | 2008-12-04T21:32:10+00:00 4 December 2008|Cruise destinations|2 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

2 Comments

  1. Alison 4 December 2008 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Hello John
    Enjoying reading your blog.
    We are due to go on our first Caribbean cruise, having experienced a couple of Mediterranean cruises, please would you advise of the sea conditions and temperatures that we can expect?
    Hope you continue to enjoy your cruise.

  2. John Honeywell 4 December 2008 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Alison
    I don’t know when you are planning to travel, but the weather this past two weeks has been mostly sunny, with temperatures in the 80s. It rained pretty much all day in St Lucia, and we had a lengthy, heavy shower in Dominica yesterday, but we WERE in the rainforest ! We have had a few very occasional showers from time to time, but they call rain “liquid sunshine” over here, and it does not usually last very long.
    The seas have been mostly calm or slight – we are past the hurricane season, and there has been nothing to disturb us.
    Enjoy your cruise, and thanks for reading.

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