"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Fortress With a View - Caribbean Winter Retreat - Day 6

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 "Hello, my name is Pompy." With that simple introduction we were off on another driving tour at our second port-of-call, St. Kitts - one of two islands that make up the tiny nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. While waiting on our tour to start, we had taken a short walk around the port and capital city of Basseterre and quickly surmised that this was, in all honesty, quite a poor country. Businesses, houses and even government buildings were shabby and in disrepair. The streets were crowded and littered with trash. Obviously, our first impression of St. Kitts was not very good. Things did improve somewhat once we were able to leave Basseterre on our tour and some of the lush natural areas of the island came into view. Unexpectedly, we started and ended most of our tour privately with just us four and our driver, Pompy, in a small bus that could accomodate up to 14 people. We did make one detour to pick up some obnoxiously loud and brazen Texans who had went to the beach earlier that day on the slightly more upscale side of the island and needed transportation back to the port. Once we got rid of them, the scenery and the peacefulness got much, much better. Our first stop was at the former Romney Manor Plantation . This is an interesting place historically, as well as, the current home of a thriving artisians studio known as Caribelle Batik, an early form of tie-dying clothing. The plantation grounds are also now a beautiful botanical garden. Our final and best stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress, a hand-built 18th century stone fort sitting high up in the lush rainforest with tremendous views of the coastline and neighboring islands. Today was another rather short day ashore, but it was, of course, New Year's Eve and time to start preparing to ring in the new year. We counted down the year 2008 and brought in the year 2009 out at sea on the main deck around the pool area as a live band played and thousands of our shipmates cheered with us. Not quite the celebration we saw in New York City a few years ago that topped 1 million participants, but still a pretty uniqure way to usher in the new year. Evelyn turned in early and Matt hung out a with a gaggle of teenagers he had befriended on the boat within a day or two of sailing. We were thinking of turning in early as well after we finished our bottle of champagne just after midnight, but strolled to the Lawn Club on the back of the boat to escape some of the melee around the pool area and struck up a conversation with some nice folks from Texas (obviously not the same ones from our earlier tour experience) and New Jersey. Three hours and another bottle of stolen champagne later (Rob says it was justified...who charges $30 for two glasses of champagne on New Year's Eve??), it was bedtime. Another great, long day cruising and the end of a great year for us and the start of what we hope to be yet another one.

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