To the Pitons..St Lucia, and a nephew.
Position: 13:51.00N 61:05.00W
Thursday, 12 April 2012
Dayan my commercial pilot nephew arrived on time at Hewanorra International Airport, and Brother Stu went with Vanille - crazy wife of John who took me there last time - to collect him. John was supposed to drive but was sick on his bed when they got to him. The routine was a strange one - Vanille collects us at the Marina, we go by bus to Castries the capitol where John takes over in his minibus to do the rest. Only this time he didn’t and Vanille did it all. So these two were talking all the way there - in Creole though - as Stu is fluent.
PW was anchored way out in Rodney Bay after our night arrival yesterday from Fort de France, Martinique. The crossing had been a good boisterous sail in a Force 5-6 tradewind and we had made 6.5 knots for much of it with all sail up, but darkness had fallen quickly as it does as we approached St Lucia and the entry into the very popular anchorage had been dead slow peering ahead to see any anchor lights - difficult against the shore lights in the background. This would have been a great opportunity for the Broadband radar which is excellent at close range and very accurate, but for the first time it refused to come online, of course. But the anchorage area available is huge, so we just dropped the hook well back from anyone else.
Bit of a long dinghy ride into the marina to meet up with Stu and Dayan, but the timings were perfect. Dayan got the starboard quarter berth.
Friday 13th April 2012
With a full crew for the first time for a long time we set sail south towards the Pitons - two spectacular peaks - and Soufriere Bay in a gently but steady force 3-4 with occasional blasts of excitement, to arrive nicely before dusk. This area is protected, as an area of natural beauty, and anchoring is not permitted, but you can pick up a mooring by the bat caves on the northern side and a warden comes and collects your dosh. Any arrival here attracts the interest of numerous ‘Boat Boys’ who will try and sell you anything from fruit to wooden carvings to assistance with your mooring to guided tours. We bought a load of grapefruit and mangos which were excellent, whilst both Stu and Dayan surprised the hell out of them by conversing in Creole throughout - the language of the locals. There was one other boat here on the line of seven mooring buoys, a Brit yacht similar in size with a retired couple (of course) on board. We waved. But by 9pm we were surrounded by stonking great catamarans full of people, one of which was lit up like a cruise ship and remained so all night, so it was like being next to a casino. But we jumped in the dinghy and whizzed off in the dark to find the ‘Hummingbird Restaurant’ which had a good write up. Near empty, we were given the menu verbally by the neat waitress, all seafood of course. The shrimps were excellent. It was only when I asked whether Joyce was there that we found out that we werent in the Hummingbird after all. But no regrets.
The stroll afterwards through the scruffy local village revealed a pretty poor and rough area, and we were clearly the only ‘Blancs’
Saturday 14 April
A stuffy night with no wind, and noisy too when the companionway boards both fell over with a crash as the boat turned across the slight swell and started rocking around.
Breakfast of fresh mangoes and bread rolls, and snorkelling for Stu and Dayan as there are numerous coral reefs here, but I spent the day fixing the roller reefing system, whilst catamarans came and went, boatboys whizzed past and the colony of Laughing Gulls next to us discussed our presence at great length.But no one bothered us…
Which was just as well as after the genoa parted, it left the halyard at the top of the mast and it had to be recovered. Dayan volunteered, the mast climbing kit came out and up he went. Job done. But then of course my brother has to have a go too doesn’t he, and up he goes. Tonight? Well we’re going to have another go at finding that Hummingbird…