Today was the most freezing, foggy, dismal day of the winter so far so this is a remedial blog taken from the journal of a holiday in St Lucia in the Caribbean.
“Well this is terrible planning on my part. Sitting by the window, J22 in a 747 with a bag of snorkels, facemasks, suncreams and assorted gifts at my feet, i-touch stowed, I suspect, in rucksack up above.
Captain Sensible’s next to me and a man with a gammy knee in the aisle seat because he has to stretch his knee. He seems to be studying – reading a book which looks like literature but has scribbled notes in the back with instructions such as ‘Re-read 16-22’. His writing is bad but hey I can’t talk. We are in seats with £30 worth of extra leg room. It’s £15 a leg and really they should have charged the guy on the end an extra £15 for sticking his foot out into the aisle. Ok, maybe reduce that to a tenner for the times when the cabin crew are serving drinkies and pretzels and he has to withdraw his leg to let them pass. But he should definitely have to pay extra. Here I am writing with my knee up and my foot jammed – wedged, you might say – against the back of the woman in front’s arm rest. But my other leg is stretched luxuriously under her seat. I can even wiggle my toes in my cosy red Virgin sock so I reckon that’s worth £15.
My in-flight entertainment centre is the gateway to a world of entertainment including what looks like a terrible Jack Black version of Gulliver’s travels (his best film ever was Tenacious D) . I’ll pass on all that. The Gulliver film, admittedly without sound, looks rubbish. I liked Jack Black in School of Rock and the fact that he was upstaged by one little girl with freckles and buck teeth.
My bites – honestly you don’t expect to get bitten by mosquitoes in the bloody departure lounge – are large, red and itchy. I had quite nice shoulders until three hours ago in Hewenorra Airport.
So this morning looked promising – typical last day but good nevertheless. High broken cloud and at least 75 degrees at 9am. Before the taxi journey to the airport, I snatched a final snorkel near the breakwater on the local beach. Just 45 minutes, good light but not great visibility in patches. Too much stuff in the water. Didn’t see anything new but did see a small eel head popping out of his hole – and then a much bigger eel head – so big that I have to admit, I swam away quickly.
I found whole new clumps of coral surrounded by and hosting loads of life and ventured into deeper waters without fear where much much bigger fish were down in the depths.
I glanced up and found I was much further out along the breakwater than I expected to be – and had five minutes to get back. I found some *real* swimming was required, which surprised and slightly concerned me. Bloody typical if, in the last hours of the holiday, I get swept out to sea! So after some determined swimming, I got past the current and into more settled and familiar waters again. A good lesson in being more aware when in unfamiliar waters.
Had lunch with a purple rain cocktail which tasted deceptively non-alcoholic (rum and blue curacao) and then left. I liked it overall. It would have been a good day for windsurfing but the sea was a little lively so again, didn’t chance it in case I sped out of control across the whole of Choc Bay.
And here we are 1.55am UK time, flying at 36,000′ above the Atlantic. Out of my window I see a layer of broken puffy clouds below and the moon reflected in the nearest jet engine, which looks smooth as slate-grey satin in the moonlight.
It’s all monochrome out there, save for the winking green light on the wing. And this whole miraculous experience is due to Sir Frank Whittle and his incredible new jet engine – well it was new in May 1941 when the little Gloucester Aircraft Company jet plane made a 17 minute test flight from the airfield at Brockworth, Gloucestershire. ”
A bit of video from the bay around the headland – not spectacular visuals but the noises picked up are from humpback whales.