St Lucia

14:04.42N 60:57.023W
 
Thursday 20th January 2011
 
Distance run: 110 miles
 
Soon after leaving the shores of Barbados behind us the wind picked up to 20-25 knots on the beam, making for some fast sailing. We reefed down to two-thirds yankee and put two reefs in the main and screamed along at 7+ knots.  It wasn't the most comfortable of rides as the swell and waves were quite big and pushed us around a bit, and there was no doubt we were back in the Atlantic, but there were no squalls and it was fast, and dawn saw us approaching the northern tip of St Lucia.  As we turned to round the top of the island the ride became much more comfortable as both the wind and the seas were behind us, and followed us around the land for a while until we eventually gybed to make our approach into Rodney Bay. 
 
                   
Approaching St Lucia at dawn...                                                                            ...a very different topography to Barbados.
 
Having sailed past Pigeon Island and right into Rodney Bay, it was with the usual sense of achievement (and not a little relief!) that we furled away the sails and motored the last bit into the lagoon and by 1000 we were safely moored alongside in Rodney Bay Marina.  Serafina had arrived a couple of hours earlier and Sarah was waiting to take our lines, Rob having gone off to do the clearing in paperwork.  It felt good to be in a sheltered harbour after the rolly anchorage and we looked forward to a good night's sleep.
 
Steve went ashore and did all the paperwork, and then I was free to make use of the facilities and first stop were the showers!  It was quite novel to be able to shower without having to use one hand to hold on or indeed to have to sit down before falling down!  The marina is well set up as it is where the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) comes each year as their Caribbean landfall.  Not sure how they cram 250 boats in,but they obviously do!  In fact our berth is enormous and another boat our size could fit between us and our neighbour on the next finger pontoon.  They have a range of services here, and so although we initially booked in for 2 nights, that may well be extended if we can find people to do some of our jobs.  We found a laundry and somewhere to get the gas bottle filled, and Rob has a local contact if we can't find what we need.  Indeed, there is a cruisers' net at 0830 each morning so if we need advice or help we can always ask on that.
 
We had lunch ashore- steak baguettes, salad and chips -which was probably the best lunch out we've had for some time, and then retired to bed for a couple of hours to catch up on a bit of sleep.  A quiet evening followed, watching a film, which is also something we haven't done for a while!
 
This morning the weather is bright and sunny, which makes a nice change as it started raining yesterday afternoon and continued on and off all night.  Not a problem as such in the warm temperatures, except that we have to close the hatches to keep the rain out and then get very hot!  It seems that we take unseasonal weather with us wherever we go, and are getting used to hearing that "this weather is unusual for this time of the year"!  Global warming has a lot to answer for!
 
Steve has gone off to speak to the electronics guys to see if we can sort out why the tricolour interferes with receiving AIS signals.  Shortly after switching it on, all AIS targets disappear from our screen, though we have had confirmation that we are still transmitting and other vessels can see us on theirs.  It all started after we fitted an LED bulb to the tricolour, so we need to test to see if it is the LED or if it was just a coincidence.  Having had a shirty email reply from the makers of the LED that "we would not be in business if our LED's interfered with other electronics" BEFORE we bought it, we will not be happy if we find out it does.  And we will be sure to let them know...
 
And to try to source some spares for breakages - Spinlock clutch handle, Lewmar maintrack car, whisker pole...
 
And to find a Spectra agent to look at the leak on the watermaker...
 
The aft head pump needs attention and the velcro on the sunroof cover on the bimini needs cleaning because it's stopped gripping and the wind had a great time with it on the last passage...
 
Vision has just turned up to give the topsides a good clean and polish, and Sarah just hung out her washing ensuring that the rain will soon start again...