St Vincent to St Lucia (Rodney Bay) - ARC 2008 arrivals

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Sat 13 Dec 2008 17:15
Sat 13th Dec 08 to Thurs 18th Dec 08

Ooh, another early start for our trip to St Lucia.  It's all go.  Michael kindly retrieved our stern anchor for us and once the forward one was up we were off, motoring out of Cumberland just before 7.30am.  It's a bit overcast today with rain on the coast but looks ok just off-shore.  Not much wind though, we had to motorsail most of the way while in the lea of St Vincent.  As we got to the top of the island we got hit with a squall.  Luckily we'd seen it coming (and we'd read that it was quite a common occurrence here) and had already reefed the headsail right in and we generally start with one reef in the main anyway.  Good job as the top gust clocked 27 knots on the instruments.  Once we'd cleared the island the winds settled in at 15 to 19 knots and we had a terrific sail making good boat speed and direction.  We settled down for an early 'beer-o'clock' when we suddenly got pooped!  Soaked to the skin, the both of us.  That'll teach us!

We kept visual with Blue Sky and had the odd chat on VHF. They've headed far offshore to get decent winds as they are low on diesel and don't want to motor.  By the time we reached The Pitons on the South of St Lucia the wind died on us again so on went the engine.   Then off...and then on.... and then off again.  Very fluky winds.  We finally motor-sailed the last couple of miles so that we reached Rodney Bay before dark, and anchored just off Pigeon Island.  A long but fab day's sail taking just over 10 hours and logging 56 miles.  Blue Sky arrived just as it was getting dark. They're heading straight out tomorrow so may not see them now until after Christmas.  We still haven't decided whether to stay here or to move onto Antigua.  We'll see how it goes.  We said our goodbyes to them the following morning and waved them off before heading ashore to clear in.

                                         The squall                                                                                           The Pitons

Good to be back in St Lucia again.  It's a large bay, good holding and well protected from the elements.  A lot of work has been done ashore in the Marina, tarting it up.  Very different from when we were here last.  It's busy now as this is the landing point for the ARC and the stragglers are just coming in now.   There's a great buzz with so many boats and crew around.  Everyone is on such a high.  Reminded us of our trip last year.  Fond memories but it seems so long ago now.

                     Just a few of the 2008 ARC boats                                        Sailing Brig - The Unicorn (used in all 3 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies)

Lee & Cindy on Tranquility are here and we had a good lunch in the Yacht Club with them and some of their friends.  It was great to catch up with them again.  We also joined them for one of the ARC do's ashore.  A bit of live music in the Bosun's Bar.  The band were pretty good, playing mainly covers. 

Having now spent a few more days here we are leaning towards going to Antigua. We've spoken to a few people and we've been told that Christmas is a great time to be in Antigua, especially if you're a Brit!    It would make sense in a way as Carole (my/Sam's mum) & Terry are taking a 3 week holiday in Antigua in January and spending 2 with us.  It would mean we were there already and would be able to suss out some good places to take them in the boat. 
We still have a few days to decide.

                                           Imagine in Rodney Bay                                      The Pigeon Island anchorage (Imagine to the left of the dark hull)

One thing we didn't do when here last was go to Pigeon Island and up to the old British Navy Fort, so we paid the small fee and climbed to the very top.  A tough climb in the heat but worth it. Fantastic views.  We could see Martinique quite clearly in the distance, the main reason for the fort being here so the Brits could keep their eyes on the Frenchies back in the old days!!  The cannons are still up there.  We went to the museum and read up on the history and wandered around the gardens before treating ourselves to an ice cold Piton Beer.  Lovely.  As you may have noticed, we're not ones for the touristy stuff but this was well worth a visit.

                                The fort at the top...                                                                    ...and the view of Rodney Bay

          View from the fort to the other end of Pigeon Island and after a long, hot walk here we are, on top of the world, Martinique behind.

                                                 And back to sea level.  Last time we saw one of these we were in the BVI....

And so, it's decision time.  Do we go or do we stay?  We took a vote.  It's unanimous.  We're going to Antigua for Christmas.  Hurray. A decision. We've not left ourselves too much time but we reckon on a day and overnight sail to Deshaies at the top of Guadeloupe and then a day's sail to English Harbour, Antigua from there.  We can be there on Sun 21st if we leave on Fri 19th.  We can't leave it any later than that as the weather forecast shows a front coming in and we need to beat that.  No problem.  Once the decision was made we got provisions and cleared out on Thursday afternoon for a reasonably early start on Friday. 

Apparently it's unlucky to start a trip on a Friday.  I've just read that in a book I'm reading.  Ooops!  Can't be helped.  Lucky we're not superstitious....not much anyway!  Well, I didn't add a 13th picture just in case!!!