St Lucia Part 1 (17th December – 22nd December 2015 )
So it has been a while but Holly is taking a break from all the writing so you will have to put up with my mish mash of incorrect spelling and incoherent ill punctuated sentences. Enjoy.
To say we were ecstatic to be here was an understatement, it was truly overwhelming to be on dry land, with showers, food, cold drinks and land for little scrumpy at our fingertips. The first few hours were spent cleaning and turning the boat back into a house rather than the simple transportation method it had been. I checked us all in with customs, unfortunately apparently it was a national holiday, so it cost us an arm and a leg, luckily the vet had been here checking another dog into St Lucia, so I tracked him down to see Scrumpy. All he was interested in was my money, not even coming to see Scrump in person, due to apparently not having his microchip device, just signing our pet permit behind a raggedy supermarket. I rushed back to the boat to find Holly had everything done on the boat, so off to the nearest restaurant we went……A pizza, Chips, burger and a cold drink later (That was just my order), we all sat there bloated and feeling ill, we have been told since by every local that this is call “Niggeritous”, they said it, not us, but by now we could barely move. Matt and Chris shuffled off to the air conditioned hotel, and the three boat hobos settled back into home.
Chris spent the next few days in the hotel with Kerry adjusting to normal life, whilst Matt spend his days fixing bits on the boat, speed boats to the local Pigeon Island beach for a relax and a snorkel, and on more than one occasion a few to many rums. Its strange, the locals traders are not like the european sellers who pester you rudely, here they are the nicest people we have ever met, and even if you turn them down, they will chat to you for 10 minutes about Island Life and go on there way, occasionally giving us a coconut for free. This place truly was shaping up to be paradise, and all we had seen was a hot sweaty marina…..we were looking forward to finally getting out to explore the island. 3 Nights into our stay and not an ounce of food cooked for ourselves (Dominoes Pizza, Giant meat bbq, Italian pizza, burgers) it was time for Matt to leave us, if Amy is reading he always ordered the salad…….It had been amazing having hime on board, and a genuine pleasure to have him with us both, and a massive thanks for all the fish you enabled us to catch, as this was pretty much the only thing you cared about.
Our time was up with our berth in the marina, so when Chris and Kerry moved on board it was off to the anchorage to enjoy the sun. So we set up in Rodney bay about half a mile from the Marina. Prior to his flight Matt even surprised us on a Jet Ski to come and say bye and give us some more Christmas presents in the form of more fishing gear, Hero. We were only about 300m from the beach front which housed a few bars and was a 10 minute walk to town. The perfect spot to rest up for a few days. Unfortunately we had 2 large problems that had arisen the day we arrived, both the Depth and Wind instruments were not working 😦 this meant there was not going anywhere until the were fixed. After a day tracing all the wiring, and testing the Depth instrument, we came to the conclusion that I had no Idea what I was doing…..but process of elimination meant it was either the instrument on the wall or the transducer (The sonar device on the hull) that was broken. I took the instrument to the local unhelpful boat electronics engineers, who reluctantly tested it and told me it worked…..result….No, this meant we would need to have to boat taken out the water to replace the transducer, $400 we do not have, but without it, we would spend the foreseeable future in Rodney Bay, we purchased the new transducer and off to the Yard we went to arrange a lift out, they we very helpful and said we could lift out on the 23rd December for 2 hours over lunch, do the repairs and be dropped back in, this also meant we could get the necessary survey done on the hull of the boat for our insurance, two birds with one stone meant a small smile in an otherwise solemn face. This meant we had 4 days to wait until our lift out.
Back on the anchorage we decided to spend our first night rubbing shoulders with Jack and Marsha on Rights of Man, the Yacht they had been living on for 6 years in the windward islands (Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines and Grenada) of the Caribbean. A crazy american couple who had retired from there lives in the Casino entertainment trade, and shipped of out to sea from Rhode Island to live here. They filled us full of salami, cheese and rum, and gave us lots of great information on the Islands we had coming up, even lending us some great books on the passages between island. They seemed genuinely disheartened when we said we had to leave, but after he ran out of mixers and was force feeding us rum and water for the last hour, it was time to go, oddly none so much as so a peek of them for the next 10 days, never leaving there boat, probably just waiting for there next visitor.
The biggest problem we had come to realise with our island lifestyle and having guests is that our Dingy is not really big enough for Holly, myself and Lord Scrumpleton, let alone 5 of us, so everywhere we went, it would take three trips, or if we were brave and in calm water, Kerry and Holly would come in together, but three people would virtually sink us each trip, and we would be soaked by the time we arrived anywhere. So the hunt is on for a larger dingy, shame they are at least $1200, and we can’t really justify it, as it is only needed for guests….but as we are coming to learn we are slowly becoming known Island wide as the two idiots in the tiny red dingy with a dog perched on the front. To be honest Holly and I love that title and will strive to keep it, and become known Caribbean wide. This did lead us to meet Dexter……a nice enough taxi driver, who we came to learn was the Godfather of Rodney Bay, but much more about him later.
So the dynamic of our boat life has significantly changed, what used to be one night a month of drinking was steeply increasing, and tonights (19th December) plan was to head over to the local street party in Gros Islet close to Rodney Bay. We got ourselves a water taxi as the tiny dingy would not cope with the 6 journeys there and back. It was really good, with local food, music and copious amounts of rum punch. Rum punch is at least 50/50 rum and fruit juice, and will deceptively put you flat on your back after a few of them. For 3 hours, we drank rum whilst being befriended/harassed by local vendors, met Perfect Susan and her clan, and found a crazy American with a tattoo of a cat playing a piano on her whole back. We then stumbled back to the pontoon to be picked up by our water taxi to take us back to the boat, all in all a good evening had by all.
We spent the next day nursing hangovers, and dragging ourselves into the local town for some christmas shopping and obviously a chinese and a Dominos……sound like a perfect day. We have decided that although we are waiting for the work to be done on the boat, that we will head 5 miles down the coast to a small bay which is supposed to be beautiful. So in the morning, after the standard beach doggy walk we were ready to brave the sea again. On leaving we realised that we had not experienced perfect sailing conditions up until now. The wind was on our stern and we were flying at 6.5 Kts. The coastline was amazing and genuinely like a scene from Jurassic Park, all rainforest and huge mountains. Before we knew it we were rounding the corner into Marigot Bay, a virtually impossible to see, hidden bay, large enough that back in the day the Brits were able to hide a whole naval fleet in there by tying leaves to there masts, the French sailed right by not noticing them. On arriving we realised this was more like it, we sailed up to the inner bay a decided to treat ourselves to a paid buoy for the night, not much between the 4 of us. We also had full access to a large 5 star hotel and all its facilities, but we didn’t bother as the view from the boat was all we needed. Chris and Kerry went out for an extravagant meal, and Holly, Scrumpy and I stayed in for a night to ourselves for once. We just wished that we didn’t have to head back to Rodney bay again tomorrow. We woke late and spent the morning relaxing before setting off north, unfortunately the wind was directly in our face, and we really did struggle to make our way, we probably averaged 2 Kts, and 2 and a half hours later we rounded the bay headland, back to what now looked like a dump…..then we had our first real man over board situation….To most of the crews annoyances, my favourite hat blew overboard with a gust of wind……I looked at Chris, he shook his head and said NO…..I shrugged, and dived over board shouting for him to come and get me. The sea was quite calm, but felt awfully sharky when along the coast line. Around they turned and Holly threw me a line, and all was ok. There were some stern faces once back onboard…..but don’t worry Matt, the Diresta hat is safe. Once anchored up safely, we chilled out for the evening, all excited about tomorrows repairs, and finally getting on our way.
More to follow with the pictures….