The final few days of the ARC 2011 passed by in a flurry
of social events around Rodney Bay in St Lucia and days spent wondering where
the time had gone! Susan arrived to join Chiscos on Thursday 15th
December, and has now resumed blog duties. That evening the crew
attended the Fancy Dress beach party with the theme 'Thriller'. There were
some ghoulish sights on the beach as mummies danced with bleeding corpses and
Michael Jackson lookalikes attempted to moonwalk. John, Mikaela and Susan
were joined by James from 'Beyzano'.
Friday evening was spent in Gros Islet, a short walk
from Rodney Bay, where there is a weekly 'jump up'. This involves closing
the main street so that food stalls can fry and sell fish, chicken, pork
ribs and other local foods. Huge speakers are set up to play reggae music
into the night and there are bars and stalls selling cold beers and local
rum. The food was very nice and the atmosphere was great. Mikaela
and I tried the local spiced rum which is sold from demi-johns stuffed full of
spice leaves and stalks. The rum is supposed to be infused with the
flavour of the spices. You can tell by the look on our faces that this
particular batch maybe wasn't as good as it could have been. The local
drains probably benefited from a good clean that night as we tipped our rum
Saturday night (17th Dec) was the final prize giving
night for the ARC rally. We travelled from Rodney Bay to a large night
club a couple of miles away. We were greeted with rum punch and a steel
band in the garden in true Caribbean style. As night fell we went into a
huge auditorium to hear the prize giving speeches and applaud the winners.
Prizes were given for many sailing classes; Chiscos had finished 8th in her
class and 58th in the cruising division, a creditable result for one of the
smallest and heaviest of the yachts. The final three awards were special
trophies. Vaquita had won a trophy for contributions to Humanity and the
Environment as they were using their trip to raise money for an Environmental
charity. Time Bandit, our friends first met in Spain, won the Spirit of
the ARC trophy for the boat that most displayed the values aspired to on the
ARC. Chiscos won the Arch Marez Trophy, named after the original owner of
Rodney Bay Marina, who was renowned for being a party animal. The citation
on the ARC website says that Chiscos was awarded the trophy for outstanding
contribution to shoreside activities, not only did the crew participate
enthusiastically in all events in Las Palmas and St Lucia, but they also went
above and beyond the call of duty by organising several events of their
own! As you can see, John and the crew were delighted with this
endorsement of their approach to the ARC.
And also seen here celebrating with the crew of Time
Bandit. (L to R: Anne, Fiona, Lucy, Miles, Stuart, Mikaela, Regis, John and
Along with the trophy, the crew were presented with a
hamper provided by a St Lucian Rum Distillery. A couple
of bottles were immediately consumed, leading to some very dodgy dancing at
a night club later!
It was only when we unpacked the hamper the following
morning that we found we had won 18 bottles of different types of rum.
Stowing them away took some time and we now definitely have a list to starboard,
but we shouldn't need to buy any more rum for some time!
It was all very sad on the Sunday as boats that John and
crew had got to know so well over the previous 6 weeks started to leave to
continue their journeys elsewhere. Some are leaving their boats in the
Caribbean and coming back later, some are carrying on from here through the
Panama Canal and around the world, others are doing as John is doing and
spending time in the Caribbean before returning home with the ARC Europe rally
leaving the British Virgin Islands in May. Regis left to spend a few days
in Martinique before flying home and Julia had also gone to spend a few days
sightseeing with her husband John, before also flying home from
On Monday, John, Mikaela and I sailed to Soufriere
(still on St Lucia) to put Mikaela a bit closer to the airport for her flight
home on Tuesday. We waved her off on the bus from the town square, feeling
very sad to see her go, but amused that as the bus started its engines a couple
of chickens sauntered out from underneath the bus where they had been
sitting in the shade! Soufriere is one of the larger towns on the island
and is considered one of the more beautiful areas. The town is below the
Pitons, two enormous pointed mountains that tower above the bay. The
scenery is lush and green, giving the impression that the town could be taken
over by the jungle at any moment. The buildings in the town look almost
temporary, though some are clearly very old. Corrugated iron figures
heavily as a roofing material and the walls are painted in pastel colours,
though much of the paint is peeling.
So the ARC 2011 has finished. Chiscos won the
trophy that most epitomised what John was hoping for from the event.
Everyone has had a good time ............ but the journey isn't over yet.
We will keep you posted as John and I spend a few weeks together on
Chiscos before the next crew join in mid-January for the adventure to
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all
our blog followers.