Thursday, November 21 - Choiseul, Font Deux Plantation, and the Balenbouche Estate
Our last day at La Batterie! We spent our morning enjoying our last few hours at the beautiful location.
We left shortly before 11, needing to spend time until 3 PM when we could check in at the Waterlilly Cottage at Balenbouche Estate. We hopped in the Jimny and headed south down the west coast towards Laborie.
I knew that the town of Choiseul had a real arts community, so we planned on exploring down there. Terry had given us a little hint of where to aim (before the speed bump, take a right). We found this path, which took us down to a little village on the water. Nothing in particular really stood out, so we continued around the loop towards where we came.
On our way, we saw a sign for an art gallery plastered against the outside wall of one of the hairpin turns. It took us a bit to actually find it. The gallery is ran by a couple that makes all of the art themselves. When we arrived, we were greeted by Hattie Bernard and their dog. She paints and does handcrafted souvenirs, and he does basket weaving. The baskets were in a covered portion outside, the handcrafted souvenirs were on the bottom floor of the building, and the painted works were upstairs in a cute little studio. The works were fairly priced, and we ended up picking up two woven hotplates made of palm leaves at $12 USD a piece.
We still had time to spare, and decided to head towards the Font Deux Plantation to get some chocolate.
On our way, we saw a sign for a Batik gallery that was open 10 AM-4 PM. We stopped, but nobody seemed to be there, so we moved on.
Further up the road going north, we saw a sign for Lucy’s Batik and Tie Dye — a much lower budget production than the gallery we visited before. We stopped to check it out.
When we parked, a woman who was working next to the street approached us and followed us across the street to the house. This was Lucy. She greeted us and welcomed us in.
The inside was dark, and had a mismatch of objects laying around, not necessarily neatly displayed for customers. She told us that she was in a legal battle with the government for a couple years that had put her operations on hold. She was very kind, and answered Ruby’s questions. She was self taught, having started her art journey by reading a book. She was very kind.
Eventually, we made it to the Font Deux Plantation. We asked about touring the plantation, but it was pretty expensive at $40 USD a person including a meal, or $25 USD a person including a snack. We opted to just get lunch at the onsite restaurant, the Bamboo Cafe.
Ruby got a chicken roti, and I got a chicken dish with rice, a meat pie, and bread fruit. Her roti was definitely more curry-based than the ones we had before. During our meal, a large rain storm moved through. This is a regular occurrence, and everyone continued business as usual.
On our way out, we stopped at the gift shop and picked up a $10 USD bar of chocolate (60%). It wasn’t big, but it was apparently made on site.
It was nearing 3 PM, so we started heading towards our next AirBnB.
We arrived a little early, and headed into the main plantation home. We were greeted by many dogs, all of which were rescued strays on the island. They appeared as if they could all be siblings. They were good dogs.
Verena, the daughter of Uta, who runs the estate, met us and led us to our cottage to give us a tour. The Waterlilly Cottage is one of a few AirBnBs on site, and is a small bungalow shaped like an octagon with a bedroom in the middle.
Verena is soft spoken, and gives off a very earthy vibe.
Upon moving in, we immediately prepared to check out one of the property’s two secluded beaches (all beaches on Saint Lucia are public, but some, like this one, are very hard to reach).
Verena helped direct us through a locked gate, past some cows (and cow pies), down a steep set of steps, and to the black sandy beach. It was just us.
We laid our things on a higher point, and made our way up and down the stretch of beach until we would reach each of the cliff faces that blocked us from going further. It’s maybe 1/8th mile.
The water felt great, but the rocks on the floor made the experience a bit painful. When the waves rushed in, so did the rocks against your ankles.
The view was delightful. Almost all ocean, except what you could see of Mathurin Point in Vieux Fort, which was visible when you went further north on the beach.
We resorted to collecting beautiful shells and whatever trash would wash ashore. Whose hairbrush was this? Whose shirt was this? What action figure did this plastic leg come from? We will never know.
We were delayed a bit in our return by a bull that stood in the middle of our path. Once we got around him, we made the short trek back to our cottage. By the time we got there, my legs were extremely itchy from the bugs in the field Showering felt great.
Dinner was at 7:30, so we took a nap to make the time pass. Ruby intelligently requested I set an alarm, which woke us up at 7:15. We turned on some lights and got ready.
While Ruby was in the bathroom, she called to me “there’s a huge spider in here”. Holy cow, was she right. The absolute unit was 4+ inches in diameter, and that is a conservative guess. I grabbed a shoe, and, thank God, killed in on the first whack.
This experience prompted me to do a sweep over the place, and I found a slightly smaller spider, which unfortunately got away behind our bed.
On our way to dinner, we came across an enormous frog. This was good news.
We walked to the main plantation building, where Verena made us dinner for $25 USD a head. It was a three course meal, with a salad to start, a main entrée, and bread pudding, which was more like a heavy bread pie with homemade jam. A couple other parties ate at tables nearby. Another couple with a decade or two on us honeymooners sat at the table adjacent to ours. The man had a heavy accent of European descent, and had my attention when he mentioned seeing “a marsupial” in the tree next to their table.
I watched as a rodent of some variety scurried down the tree. It was probably a rat. The cat on the railing ignored what was going on behind him.
At this point, the realities of getting an open-air bungalow in the rainforest were settling in. This was reinforced later that night by the adult cockroach I found on my backpack as I was carrying it to the bathroom, and the other similarly sized one that guarded our bar of soap.
While at the plantation, I connected to the Wi-Fi, downloaded Netflix onto my phone, logged in as Ruby’s uncle, and downloaded Birdbox to watch offline (there is no Wi-Fi in the cottages). After returning to our bungalow and killing a couple cockroaches, we climbed into bed behind the protection of our mosquito net, and watched the movie on my phone.
Afterwards, we got ready for bed. We prayed [for no insect surprises] and I read Exodus 24-25.
- Day 1: Monday, November 18 - Traveling to Saint Lucia
- Day 2: Tuesday, November 19 - Enjoying La Batterie and Some Light Exploration
- Day 3: Wednesday, November 20 - Rainforest Hike with Terry
- Day 4: Thursday, November 21 - Choiseul, Font Deux Plantation, and the Balenbouche Estate
- Day 5: Friday, November 22 - Grocery Shopping, Tet Paul Trail, Volcano Sulfur Baths, Diamond Botanical Garden
- Day 6: Saturday, November 23 - Anse Ivrogne and Asa’s Nature Trail & Parrot Watching
- Day 7: Sunday, November 24 - Gros Piton and New Jerusalem Hot Springs
- Day 8: Monday, November 25 - Castries & Sandals Adventure
- Day 9: Tuesday, November 26 - Snorkeling and Board Games
- Day 10: Wednesday, November 27 - La Maison Creole and Flying Home