Between the Pitons
St. Lucia has some incredibly spectacular vistas, but the most amazing by far, are the Pitons — two volcanic spires that rise startlingly up out of the Caribbean out of nowhere. They are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and their bases are fringed with protected coral reefs. They even have a beer named for them!
We needed to get stocked up on a few things so it seemed like the best place to stop for a few days was Soufriere, a small town near the base of Petit Piton that has many appealing restaurants, businesses, and services. It also has some beautiful natural areas, such as the Soufriere Estate Tropical Gardens where hot springs feed the Diamond Baths that were built by Louis the 16th. Just upstream is Diamond Falls, multi-colored by the different minerals that fill the water based on the whims of the underlying volcanic activity.
We tend to be self-sufficient and almost always use our anchor instead of tying up to a permanently placed mooring ball. There are some places where the use of moorings is required in order to protect more sensitive seabeds and there are other locations, such as Soufriere, where enterprising folks have installed private moorings. We try to contribute to the local economy when possible, but sometimes we simply don't want the services offered. At some islands, especially in the Windwards, men in open boats zip up to visiting cruisers as they enter the harbor and offer a variety of services -- which is fine. The problems arise when some don't take "no thanks" for an answer and insist on performing unwanted services, such as locating and tying up to a mooring, watching your boat, etc. In contrast, most of the boat vendors are warm and respectful, such as the guy below from whom we bought some great fruit and vegetables.
The environment at Soufriere was a bit too hectic for us, so after a few days, we decided to move the boat further down the coast to a “sweet” little beach named Sugar Beach tucked in between the Pitons -- just what we were looking for. This was a great move because, from this location, we could snorkel off the boat and enjoy spectacular views of both Pitons from our cockpit. Because this is a protected marine area, the reef was in great condition and we saw an incredible array of fish, coral, and sea fans.