Christmas Day

Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
John Simpson
Tue 27 Dec 2011 15:11
13:51.391n 061:04.016w
With repairs in Martinique completed successfully, we checked out through the Immigration office early on Christmas Eve and set sail to return to Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia.  We had an enjoyable sail, still in fairly strong winds but much more manageable with our mainsail now back in action.  The weather was still quite stormy with rain squalls coming through at regular intervals.  We made good time and were back in Rodney Bay by 3.00 pm, an important point because the Customs/Immigration office closes at 4.00 pm and you are not allowed to visit the Island if you haven't checked in!  We completed our forms in triplicate again and with much stamping and signing, were back in St Lucia for Christmas.  We met up with Stuart, Anne, Fiona and Barry from Time Bandit for a Christmas Eve meal at the Marina's Thai restaurant.
Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny.  We headed up first thing in the morning to the Marina's cafe area where the WiFi signal is best and made contact on skype with Alex in Gloucestershire, Tom and Gemma in Bedford, and Helen, Dusty and Mother in Yorkshire.  It was lovely to talk to them and to share in their Christmas experiences, which all sounded so familiar and yet slightly implausible in the Caribbean heat!  On returning to Chiscos for breakfast outdoors in the cockpit, we discovered Father Christmas had found us after all!
The skipper of one of the other boats had arranged for a group of us to visit The Landings hotel along the beach in Rodney Bay for lunch.  We gathered for a dinghy convoy from the Marina out into the bay, Santa hats at the ready.  The combined crews of Chiscos, Nyda, Matilda, Time Bandit, Kotari and Felicity J made up a group of 20.
The Landings hotel was tucked into the corner of the bay alongside a beautiful sandy beach.  We were invited to moor our dinghies in a private marina behind the hotel, which was accessed through a floating bridge opened for us to enter.  We thought the mechanism for operating the bridge was very enterprising; an outboard engine pushed the bridge to one side!
The hotel staff had set up for us two large tables shaded by parasols on a decking area next to the beach; it was an idyllic setting and the weather was glorious - no rain squalls all day!  There was a huge buffet lunch with lots of local delicacies (tuna, seafood, spiced pork, grilled plantain) alongside roast beef and roast potatoes and other more European foods.  No turkey though!  We enjoyed a very pleasant day getting to know the other crew members and tucking in to the delicious food.
Eventually we managed to stir ourselves into action and spent the afternoon swimming and playing diving games until sunset.
Father Christmas put in another appearance, arriving by boat to give out presents to children on the beach.  He must have been roasting under that costume!
Merry Christmas from Rodney Bay.
Susan and John