The sun rose over the majestic Pitons. Both peaks (Gros, 2600 feet, and Petit, 2500 feet) are designated World Heritage sites, and are dramatic sentinels guarding the entrance to Soufriere Bay. We began our excursion with a short ride to the interior of the caldera, where the hot gasses and molten rock are still quite active. Here for the very first time we were able to see and smell — for the sulfuric gases leave a pungent odor in the air — the seismic activity of this island.

Our next stop was the Diamond Botanical Gardens, where plants of every sort abound in profusion. Napoleon’s wife Josephine is said to have come from a wealthy planter family on St. Lucia. Next we visited Hummingbird Beach, where we enjoyed snorkeling among the sheer rock cliffs and the famous bat cave.

Lunch today was one of my favorites: pasta swirled inside a 100-kilo wheel of “Reggio Parmigiano” until it is covered with cheese. Many of us returned for seconds. Tonight, our Captain gave us a wonderful toast at the cocktail party to send us off safely to our respective destinations. All good things come to an end, but I do wish they wouldn’t come quite so fast.