On Thursday 25th we were up at 4.30am and
sailing by 5. It felt good to be sailing in the dark again and watch the
sunrise as we headed up the east coast of St Vincent.
With very fluky wind all the way, we were goose winging, then on a beam reach,
and then had wind on the nose the last few hours, as we passed the beautiful
towering twin Pitons on the south west coast of St Lucia. After about 11
hours we anchored off Reduit Beach, Rodney
Bay, and were reprimanded
for checking in “late” by customs and immigration …. the
offices were actually still open for another hour..
Our stop in St Lucia has been 5 days of boat
work. We have at last found here all the parts we have been looking for
to service both engines, fix the generator, the watermaker and SSB radio, plus
work our way through another long list of jobs. Shane has sweated out the
days down below, with his head in both engines, the transom lockers, and all
sorts of virtually inaccessible spaces. The boat has become a workshop
awash with tools, oily rags and snakes of wiring… but at last, o
fingers crossed, with yet more capacitor re-arranging, we have a working
generator, the engines purr like contented cats, and we’re de-salinating
water by the gallon (for now!) … so its time for a much needed good wash
tonight! Re the SSB radio ….don’t even ask … despite
managing to stuff an extra 200 ft of wiring into the boat …
Evenings we have spent catching up with friends from
“Rapau”, Keith and Welly, anchored nearby, in various tiki bars or
on the boat, and talking capacitors, volts and amps …riveting stuff !!
…..and yesterday late afternoon we dinghied over to Pidgeon Island
to sample the final scraps of a food fair taking place. Sadly we missed
most of the food, but the pan drums were good, and we ended up in “Jambe
de Bois”, a cool and arty bar with cheap drinks and good food. Pidgeon Island
used to be the main base for the British Navy in this area, ideally situated
being in sight (just!) of Martinique, the main
French Base. Still visible are the remnants of the old fort (partly
restored), hospital buildings, barracks and storerooms. Now the St Lucia
National Trust conserves it as a park, and the climb to the top of the peaks is
rewarded by the stunning views.
St Lucia is renowned for its mountainous and lush
landscape, with its tropical rain forest near the centre of the island;
bananas are its main crop (I’m playing ball with the fruit bats
again…) Sadly at the moment, the island, like many we’ve
visited, is suffering a bad drought. The landscape is arid and dry, and the
locals and animals are suffering as water is being strictly rationed.
They rely on rain alone, and it’s been the driest winter in years.
It’s also much hotter than normal, and when the wind doesn’t blow,
you really feel it!
Tomorrow, Tuesday 2nd, another early start
as we sail up to Martinique. We’re
quite excited about the idea of French wine, saucissons, maybe a croissant and