St Lucia

Phil Pascoe
Mon 2 Feb 2009 18:29

14:04.48N 60:56.96W
28 Jan, Rodney Bay Marina

The plan was to set off from Wallilabou at the crack of dawn.  Last night’s food and drink intake meant that dawn came a little later than usual (it’s dark with your eyes shut),.but we were away at 06.30h, so not bad.  The forecast was for 20 to 24 knots NNE, and with the advice from Les Weatheritt and other guides clear in our minds we set off motor-sailing up the west coast of St. Vincent with two reefs in the main and a scrap of genoa, until we discovered the true wind and sea off the top end.  Good advice!  One doesn’t realize how sheltered some of the west coast bays are – the seas were pretty big (and confused) and the wind was gusting 25 to 30kn, in addition we had heavy rain squalls.  If it wasn’t for our combined and unanimous need for the comforts of a marina, with showers, electricity and more wine, I would have aborted and turned back.  The conditions just about matched the last 12 hours of Biscay and the liveliest night of our Atlantic crossing. 
It can only get better, said the skipper cheerily, as another wave sprayed the cockpit, and we slammed into another rouge which slowed us to 4 knots.  The other frustration was that we couldn’t quite lay the Pitons (SW end of St. Lucia).  We could point at them but the cross current was sweeping us westward all the time.  We ended with a 12 mile slog to windward under engine and then more motoring as we gained the shelter of the west coast mountains.  In total we had about 12 heavy rain showers, which at least rinsed the seawater off the boat, and us.  Eventually we left the Pitons over our right shoulder and headed up the coast ticking off the Bays.  With a few hours of daylight remaining, I decided to nip into Marigot Bay, as I knew it would be attractive to the others, and easy to clear Customs there (avoiding overtime charges), and we could get diesel, and we might even decide to stay there.  The first three were accomplished, but democratic decision meant we left again in about an hour and proceeded up the coast again, past Castries and eventually to Rodney Bay.  Getting much sense on the radio was difficult, but we pressed on into the marina and were told to use berth D1.  D for Delta I asked – affirmative!  Trying to read the chartlet of the marina in the twilight was almost impossible, but we pressed on towards E pontoon (with about 0.3m under the keel).  A lot of shouting and torch waving, eventually re-directed us to G1 – since when did delta begin with G I muttered?  Getting close to the pontoon with a dinghy parked in the way and the prop kick taking us away from it, was a frustrating end to a long day (12h).  But, here we were, securely tied up at the end of another leg of the Odyssey.  Phew!

Paddy & Wendy, and possibly Paula, will add their take on the events of the fortnight in due course.  We’re still having slight problems with the blog system, as it won’t accept large files with photos.  Hope to get sorted soon.  

Pics:  A rare, almost romantic, moment at the helm.  Wendy & Pitons.

Marigot Bay.  Restaurant meal at Scuttlebutts.