A short ride from Castries took us to Gros Islet, a fishing village just north of touristy Rodney Bay. We decided to use our legs to reach Pigeon Island, walking a nice stretch of almost white sand along the shore with turquoise water. At one point, we had to use a small boat to reach the other side, and in less than 20 minutes, we arrived at the ticket counter of Pigeon Island. The name is actually a misnomer since a causeway was constructed in the early 1970s, linking the island to Saint Lucia, which, of course, allowed us to reach the island on foot. Where the beaches just before the entrance had been full of people lazing in the sun, we found surprisingly few people inside the historical site of Pigeon Island.
We decided for a clockwise exploration, coming across ruins of colonial and military buildings like barracks and a lime kiln. Though most ruins we can see today were once constructed by the English, it was a French pirate who settled here in the first place in the 16th century; apparently, a perfect base to launch attacks against passing ships with valuable goods. A little further on, we crossed a tiny cemetery with a few tombs, before reaching what supposedly was the area where Caribs once lived in caves, before they were expelled by the English who had thrown out the French in the late 18th century. Thinking we could work our way up using a shortcut, we ended up struggling through high grass on a tricky terrain of rolling stones before we reached Fort Rodney.
Fort Rodney sits on the lowest of the two hills of Pigeon Island, offering a good view over the surrounding waters. Even though it was named after Admiral Rodney who conquered Pigeon Island, the latter apparently preferred to sleep on his ship. On a small platform on the very top of the hill, there are still some cannons. After an intense rain shower, I hiked to Signal Peak, at 110m the highest summit of Pigeon Island. It had an even better 360 degree view over the surrounding area, not just in a military sense, but also for the visitor of today. The strategic area was also used by the Americans in World War II. From Signal Peak, I walked down to the open space area where remains of a platform and barracks can be found. Despite having seen the military structures, it was hard to imagine that this lovely place once was the scene of military battles.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pigeon Island (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pigeon Island.
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