St Lucia Part 3 (29th December – 5th January)
So with all the work finally completed on the boat, it was time to set out from Rodney bay and do some proper exploring of the island. First stop we had decided would be Marigot Bay again. It was absolutely beautiful and we had all decided that we would anchor up outside the inner bay, in the crystal clear water. It was amazing, the water was as clear as any thing and we spent the best part of the day in and out of the water searching around and chasing the most colourful fish we had ever seen. This list will become huge as this blog goes on, and we could do with some kind of guide to tick off what we have seen, but today we saw lion fish, puffer fish, trunk fish, trigger fish, rainbow parrot fish, lobster, along with a huge array of small fish that we have no idea of type. In the evening we called the local free taxi to come and collect us and take us to Doolittles bar/hotel, when an evening of drinking and pool followed. Not to drunk, we were about head back, when we bumped into a Canadian family and got chatting, myself, Holly and Scrump Dog stayed and after a few more drinks, and Scrump making great friends with the owners dog Pepsi, we clambered onto the last water taxi and made our way back to bed.
As previously talked about in a blog, the Alminac in Europe was an essential part of our navigation, and journey planning literature. Over here it is slightly different, there is just nothing that lives up to the Europeans impressive detail for every port throughout the area. We have got the best option available, the Chris Doyles Guide to the Windward Islands, its is excellent and above and beyond for all the shore based services and restaurants, but not so hot on the navigation, dangers, and anchorages/moorings for each port. It would have to do tho, so on looking through, we all decided that today another beautiful bay for snorkling was in need, so just a short 3 mile sail from Marigot bay, we arrived at Anse Cochan. Kerry had been here on her diving course few weeks earlier and said it was amazing. Holly and I didn’t realise how amazing amazing would be…..we anchored up, and once settled we jumped in. You could see for 30 metres, in crystal clear water, with never ending reefs 20 meters from the boat. You can see the bottom as clear as day. Chris and I swam out to an artificial reef created by sinking a 160m cargo ship, but with the highest part 11 m below the surface we could not get down to explore it. It would have to wait for another day with a scuba tank. On the way back we saw the holygrail of sea life……an Mother Fricken Turtle! Just Calmly swimming along the bottom in about 10m of water, we followed it for a while and then on trying to dive down to see him, he had had enough and left. The bay itself was very sheltered with a small beach, and an extremely luxurious 5+ start hotel, it looked off the dial, and as if it had everything you could ever need…..well except scrumpy….so we took him on a tour. To explain how posh it was, even the guests in the bar were in chinos and suits, so our half dirty and ripped swimming shorts didn’t really fit in. One sneakily finding out the wifi code, it was back down the long windy stairs to the dingy and off to the boat. So posh was the hotel, the wifi was good enough to work 400m away on the boat. This allowed us to complete all Scrumpies paperwork for us entering St Vincents and Grenadines. With hundreds of hoops to jump through, it is easily our hardest task onboard, but is so worth it, and we will never complain….cant believe we almost did this trip without him. Thanks again to Annie for changing Holly’s mind.
So new years eve was upon us, and with no huge parties, or dingy pubs or clubs to go to, we had decided to make our way down the coast a little further to Sourfreire, the second largest town on the island. Not before a mornings snorkling, where the turtle came back to wave us off. Myself and Holly were just minding our own business when he came right below us, just peacefully gliding along. The turtles would eventually become the same as dolphins, but as I write this, after seeing 50, I do not think there will ever ever ever be anything less than excited underwater screaming when I see one. So after we waved off the turtle and the amazing bay, we had a 5 mile sail to Soufreire…..I do not think we did ourselves any favours by reading our Guide book, as all it did was warn us over and over about the robberies and local harassment from vendors. This put us all on edge as we rounded the headland, especially with leaving the boat for the night to go ashore to celebrate. During our arrival any worries we had were shadowed by the two monumentally huge Pitons (Volcanic mountains) the rose out of the sea to nearly 800 metres each. At this moment, we genuinely though we were going to climb one in a few days time…..but it would turn out we are all to lazy. We moored up on the only buoy left, the furthest from town, before we could settle in and turn the engine off three young children arrived at the boat on a sea kayak. They were trying to do anything they could for a fee, take our rubbish, give us a tour, call their brothers to be taxis or guides for the mountain trails, after a bit of banter we said our good byes, not before giving them some sweets for their journey. We arranged a taxi to collect us and take us into the main town for some food and drinks, on arrival we started with the drink, which inevitably turned into no food….except for a late night bbq which was amazing. Too many rums later and a very drunk bunch, we settled into to a local shack and continued to ply ourselves with rum punch. We even managed to meet Rudie, coincidently a friend of Dexters, obviously, and also he had lived in Holly’s home town of Sutton for 5 years. Chris and Kerry made their way back to the boat at 11:30, an epic adventure where the drink had got the better of them and they had both ended up in the sea at the back of our boat. Holly and I stayed for the Midnight celebration, and as soon as it was 12:01 we realised that the celebratory fireworks would be scaring the life out of Scrumpy on the boat, so we asked Rudie nicely and he dropped us back in his dingy. A good Old Years Night (Thats what they call it here) had by all.
I think mine and Holly’s new years resolution is to drink a hell of a lot less, we are waking up hungover way to much lately, and our budget for one is suffering. Today was an exception tho, but we had only one goal, food…….We dingy’ed ashore with Scramples, and trotted around town in search of anything to eat. We decided upon the only restaurant we could find that was open, it looked nice enough, and it was what we had planned to eat last night. It was ok food, but a pain that it took and hour to bring our starter, and 2 hours total for the meal, not what I needed with this hangover. We got some take away food for Chris and Kerry and made our way back to the boat. They had almost died of starvation with the wait but it was worth it. Once all fed, we decided to move about a mile, in-between the two Pitons (Volcanos), it was beautiful, you could anchored on a beach in between them both rising out of the sea…..again at this point we still planned to climb them in the morning. A small snorkel later, and running into Jean-claud, our taxi driver from the night before, we slipped ashore to the luxury hotel for a few naughty pizzas and mocktails to finish off the hangover day.
So as stated the 4 of us are just too lazy for a 4 hour trek up a Piton, so after hovering around the idea, we decided we would start heading back north up the Island. We needed to be in the Capital Castries in 2 days to have Scrumpy seen by a vet so we could leave St Lucia, and head to St Vincents and the Grenadines. So we set off back to Sourfreire bay, and close to shore, launched the girls in the dingy to row ashore to go shopping. Myself and Chris headed over to the Bat Cave mooring, again these were beautiful, but we had been warned against staying here due to lots of robberies happening. We waiting for an hour and then Holly radioed for us to collect them, so off we set for them to meet us just off the local pontoon, to collect them and be on our way. It all worked a little to smoothly for my liking. We sailed the short distance North back up the coast to our favourite spot so far, Anse Cochan. As we entered we saw a French boat speeding up behind us, we realised that the buoy we were heading for for the night was the last one, the rude buggers were trying to get there before us. All boat etiquette went out the window on their behalf, so we sped up and just pipped them to the post as settled in on the morning for the evening. Looking forward to a snorkel, I was prepping the dingy and taking it off the boat when I dropped it, the hard wooden rim landed on my toe……..it was sore at first but not to bad until I looked, I had only snapped my big toe nail in two…….a few minutes of flapping about, the pliers came out and swiftly removed the nail (Video on Youtube Channel)…..the alcohol disinfectant certainly helped but made me squeal like a little piggy. Turns out I would be going in the sea for the next few days. Unfortunately to rub it in, the rest of the crew all saw a large sting ray, eagle ray and holly saw a group of squid/cuttle fish….I on the other hand moped on the boat.
The next day it was up for a relaxing day of nothing, a snorkel again for everyone but me, and the a quick lunch before heading up to Castries. We arrived early evening but being a sunday everything was shut. There were a few huge cruise ships in the dock, and we squeezed into the anchorage between them, being the only sail boat, in a flat calm anchorage made it a very peaceful early night. We had a long day and night tomorrow.
Up early we had the epic day of taking Scrump dog on a tour of the vets. We walked to Dr Scotlands office, he was lovely. He tested him for Heartworm, and filled out a health certificate, and also gave us some great info on the local, potentially fatal heart worm, as well as a course of preventative meds to give him. This cheers us up, as it was something that worried us in the backs of our mind. He then said that the next appointment we had was a long way away, so personally drove us. On arriving at the government building, they did a quick check of Scrumpy, filled out a official Government health certificate and sent us on our way, again with a free lift back to Castries. Castries was nice and we spent the afternoon shopping for new bikinis and eating subways…..We liaised with the St Vincents vet for our arrival and inspection tomorrow, and prepped the boat for our first night at sea in a while. We left Castries at 6pm as it got dark and made our way down the familiar coast of St Lucia, cloud and rain dominated the sky, with no wind, it was the exact oppisite of the perfect conditions. Even in the poor light, you could still see the huge pitons rising out of nowhere. As we passed the south of St Lucia, the wind and sea picked up, and we were in for a very rolly night, Kerry not being used to it, found it quite uncomfortable, and she treated the caribbean sea to that nights dinner. I went to bed at 3 and Chris took over, through until the morning, once we reached the western side of St Vincents the sea calmed down, and Chris took us down all the way to the southern tip. The whole crew was up, just prior to reaching Blue Lagoon, where we would meet the government vet Dr Glasgow. It was very tricky to enter, with a 1.5 metre channel, our boat has a 1.45 metre draft, so I was slightly worried. But all was well and we anchored up at 8am, unfortunately with a 6 hour wait until the vet arrived……She turned up, and gave us our official permit for Scrump dog valid for 3 months for the whole of St Vincents and the Grenadines……no time to waste, we checked into the country and set sail again…….for the next chapter of our trip.