Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wallilabou Bay

We woke up early in the morning, as Sarang, Norman, Alena, and Allison were headed over to the airport. Sarang had to return to Utah today, Alena needed to get her baggage, Norman and Allison had to deal with business and provisions. We all said our goodbyes to Sarang, had breakfast, and then Lisa and I left at 8:30 to catch a bus to Buccament bay while Sue, Ron, Josh, and Noah stayed in the area.

It turned out to be a 10 minute walk to the bus stop, but busses being the way they are on St. Vincent, we had gotten only three-quarters of the way there before a bus stopped to pick us up. It turns out that busses on St. Vincent are all privately run: they are owned by the driver, who also typically has a conductor who's job it is to not just collect money, but also to solicit customers and pack passengers into the bus like sardines!

The drive along the coast to Buccament bay was beautiful, especially since the bus wasn't crowded and full. When we walked out to the coast, though, I realized that we were on the wrong side of a big river between us and the jetty where we were to be picked up. A quick call to the dive shop confirmed this, and we had to walk back out to the main road, and make a right into the village through an open field and then along the stream. However, the road then turned across the stream again in a little bit.

We stopped and talked to a local, and he showed us a place to hop across the stream on boulders, and then we followed his directions past a hotel under construction before getting onto the jetty. The entire ordeal took a good half an hour, and I was glad that I was paranoid enough to start the day very early. In 15 minutes the Dive St. Vincent boat showed up and we were helped onto the Dive boat by the dive master, Calli. There was another person diving with us that day, and unlike us, he had paid for a full-on dive package, complete with a land resort.

Calli was a big St. Vincent native, and he handled the speedboat with ease, pulling us seemingly just around the corner, and then single-handedly picking up the mooring buoy with ease and tying the boat down. He then dragged out all the equipment, fitted Lisa's gear to the dive tank, and then got us all ready to dive.

Our first dive was known as The Wall, which was a coral wall that extended deep into the Bay. We dived down and followed the dive master almost immediately down to 92 feet. Calli was an incredibly good Divemaster, pointing out sights and wildlife constantly, and identifying anything we needed. We even spotted the rare golden hamlet, and he found us a sea horse with its tail wrapped around some coral. The water clarity was amazing, and our eyes were almost poping out of our masks by the time we were then. I decided there and then that we would do as much diving here on St. Vincent as possible.

Our second dive was at Pinnacle Rock. The sun lit up the shallow water, giving us dappled looks under water as we explored. It was a beautiful dive, and we decided that we would sign up for more dives the next day.

Calli told us that it was easier for us to get a taxi back from Kingstown, so we were driven back to the dive shop. We used the showers at the dive shop and left Lisa's dive gear at the shop since we were going to be diving again tomorrow, then had lunch at Xcape almost right next to the dive shop on the beach facing Young Island.

After that, we took the taxi into Kingstown, where we wandered around looking for the supermarket for snacks for the surface intervals. After that, we hopped onto the taxi back to Wallilabou Bay, and then pulled ourselves across to the Illusion from shore. We had no sooner stepped on board, however, than have Norman come up onto deck and holler at us. "You're too early! You can only come back after 5:30pm! You can tell the others that too. I'm working on the boat all day and can't have you folks underfoot!"

So we had to leave the boat and visit Steve's where Ron, Sue, Josh, and Noah were also waiting out the skipper. Apparently, Norman and Allison had committed to doing a charter in the middle of January, and all that renovation was happening to put more guests onto the boat over the next few days as well as for the charter customers. We asked the others about their day, and they said that they went to Kingstown and explored and shopped, but had to endure a taxi ride with 22 people on board!

We took showers at Steve's, and lounged around. Someone at Steve's saw my Vibram Five Fingers and offered to buy them off my feet, but he had feet that were the wrong size for my shoes.

The night was spent discussing plans: the others were going to snorkel and explore the waterfall within walking distance. Norman said that we would only move to Young Island on the 26th, and we would actually spend 2 nights there, which gave us lots of time for diving. I was asked to investigate if the dive shop would do snorkelling trips as well.
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