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Date: 02 Jan 2010 08:56:00
Title: Our first month in the Caribbean Part 1

12 43.0N 60 57.3W
1700 hrs 02/01/2010
Sitting in a marina berth in Rodney Bay, St Lucia with the sun out but a nice breeze to keep us cool. 
We spent two weeks at anchor in Carlisle Bay along with many other boats some of which we had met in Malta and the UK.
Diane arrived from the UK by air on 19th December and we stayed in Barbados until the 27th December. Carlisle Bay has a wonderful beach but unfortunately there is often a big swell which tips you out of the dinghy either going ashore or leaving to return to the boat so it is quite a wet and nerve-racking experience.  We tend to put up with this when going to a beach party with other yachties.
For three nights a week beach bars output reggaie music at an unbelieveable volume and even anchored a mile out, you are kept awake until 3 am.
We were able to dinghy about a mile into the harbour of Bridgetown which is quite a culture shock. Although originally English, a few remnants of this remain.  Except for cruise ship tourists there are very few white people but everyone is very friendly and welcoming.  It was also a pleasant surprise to find many familiar English products in the shops, i.e. Heinz baked beans, HP dark sauce, McVities' biscuits, cheddar cheese, pork sausages etc.
We were very lucky to be met and collected by some close neighbours from Belbroughton (next village to ours at home) who have a sumptious villa in the magnificent setting of Royal Westmoreland Golf Club in St. James', Barbados and stayed a night amongst other villas owned by Wayne Rooney, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Mike Gatting to name but a few.  We had lunch with Diane & Ian  in Port St. Charles at the harbour restaurant where Diane kept an eye on Simon Cowell on the bridge of 'Slipstream' - (a mega motor yacht) moored just outside the restaurant,
Dressed the boat overall and draped in fairy lights for Christmas and Boxing day. Christmas morning went along the beach and had a Fish Cutter for Christmas lunch at the mobile van. Costing $3 each  this consisted of  flying fish fillets and salad on rolls and was delicious. 
 Cooked Christmas dinner (7pm) for us and Sandy and Brian from Moonshadow Star who are also Cruising Association and Ocean Cruising Club members.
We have been bumping into them for about 3 years in the Med and Grand Canaria and it was great to meet up. A couple of years ago we had arranged to meet in the Caribbean but they were dismasted last year between Crete and Malta and it took a year in Greece to get it all fixed. Meanwhile we were hit by lightning and this took last winter in Malta to fix so its quite amazing we have both made it.  
The local mini buses are exciting since they will not leave the terminal till they are 150% full. This means you are usually sitting on someone's knee but locals are so pleasant and chatty no one minds the discomfort. On Boxing day we all had a bus ride to Bathsheba, a beach on the windward side of the island with big surf and amazingly carved rocks. On the way back left my duffle bag at the bus stop and but it was still there on our return 1 hour later in the care of a Rastaffarian with a tiny monkey!
We left Barbados on Diane's birthday and did an overnight sail to Rodney Bay St. Lucia.  Once out of the lee of Barbados it was quite rolly due to Atlantic swells, but made port by 8am. After a couple of hours at anchor off Pigeon Island having breakfast we went into the large marina getting the boat cleaned, filling up with water, and doing a few repairs etc. We spent 5 days in the marina while we got the dinghy repaired by some rip-off merchants and went to the yacht club for a BBQ on New Year's Eve. This was a bit of a wash out since there were only a few World ARC boats attending.
We finally escaped for our Caribbean cruise on the 2nd January 2010.

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