Traveling with work will always be a dream come true. I try to get one day off wherever I am and I vowed to myself I would do my best to find something extraordinary, exciting or that feeds my soul wherever I am. There's no intention to plan what I do, as I'm not very good at planning. So the plan is to see what I come across. It just happened that when I arrived in St. Lucia having also filmed there last year, I quickly realized we were staying not far from a beach I was familiar with called Cas En Bas.
It sits on the south coast of St Lucia, so the Atlantic side rather than Mediterranean, meaning it’s a little more rough and ready looking due to the Atlantic winds, great if you're into kite surfing!
On our first visit last year, as we drove down the bumpy road to the beach I was at first a little underwhelmed by what I saw, purely because it wasn't a white sand beach like most I'd visited there. Most of the sand in St Lucia is imported from India so the reality was it was one of the few natural beaches on the island, and keeping it natural is never a bad thing. Actually, that depends what we're talking about...
The first thing we came across as we reached the beach was an old beach bar, and my feelings quickly changed as I felt it had an instant charm to it. The second thing I noticed, or I should say heard was Larry's voice. Larry was sitting in a corner strumming away singing as if he'd just swallowed a handful of gravel, like the old soul he was. I can't imagine anyone not falling in love with the sound of him instantly.
While the team were finishing up eating the somewhat dodgy food I went and chatted to Larry. He was a lovely old man, he quickly told me about his claim to fame and had a picture framed behind him. Apparently his bar was Amy Winehouse’s favorite hangout spot and she used to love singing with him. The more time I spent there the more I could see why, Larry made the place pretty special.
After we finished filming I noticed some horses tied up in the trees to the side of the bar. I had a wander over and met the chaps, sadly I didn't have the time to ride as we had to get back on the road and on to the next location.
So, when we arrived at our accommodation on my second visit and I recognized the road, I knew straight away where I wanted to spend my one day off. Sunday morning, we headed straight down to Cas en Bas beach. As it was Sunday, the beach had a lovely local vibe, lots of children out playing games, guys training horses bare back and the usual kite surfing tourists. At rum punch time I walked up to the bar and enquired to see where Larry was, I was so sad to find out he had passed on. I have no doubt that he's somewhere nice making magical music with Miss Winehouse and all the other old souls. RIP Larry x
After having a chat with some locals I found the horsey chaps and negotiated a ride. We galloped up and down the long beach twice. It was only once we were going flat out that it occurred to me I was in my bikini and had no riding hat on, god I would have been in trouble if something had gone wrong! If anyone from work is reading, I promise I'll be more careful on any future shoots..!
When we got back we ditched the saddles and went for a bareback swim. It was heaven. I have taken the horses in to loch tay in scotland, but I've never been on a horse that wanted to completely immerse themselves and swim, given the temperature in Scotland it probably isn't that enjoyable, and I certainly wasn't ever in a bikini. The horse I was on didn't need persuading, after a gallop along the beach he seemed to love it and it was incredible being able to swim on top of him at the same time he was swimming, I wish I'd taken my go pro in, lesson learnt!
What a lucky girl I am, this was definitely one for the soul, and the horrendous saddle burn on the inside of my knee was well worth it. Although I'd maybe suggest leggings and a riding hat if you're going to give it a go! xx