During the night it rained and it poured! However by the time we were ready to go ashore, the sun came out and the town of Bourg was fresh, clean, and ready for business. Instead of a “Good Morning” or “Buenos Dias”, we had to remember to say “Bonjour!” We were in a French-speaking country for the day, and the ambiance was overwhelmingly of bygone French colonialism mixed with trendy boutiques, cafes, and friendly cats. On landing I could almost smell the coffee and croissants brewing and baking!

Traveling in small vans along hairpin turns up a steep mountainside, we passed bright yellow, blue, green, and pink storefronts and homes before finally arriving at Fort Napoleon. Strategically placed (of course), it was never attacked, despite some of the biggest naval battles that took place nearby. The vista from above — the succulent plants, carefully tended gardens, and unique cacti around the fort — kept us interested before even visiting the museum. Once inside, we received a wonderful tour by our very own historian on board, Maria Intxaustegi.

Snorkeling afterwards was really quite good: parrotfish, trunkfish, grunts, spiny lobster, sponges, soft corals, hard corals… even the “flamingo tongue” mollusk was abundant on the purple sea fans gently waving in the light current.

A final dip in the sea was offered after lunch — but this time from the Sea Cloud itself! A luxury indeed, with floating mattresses to be had for rest!