Thursday April 5, 2018
We set off early for the long sail to St. Lucia; there were some squalls moving through which chased most of the crew below. A very strong one passed through and I was glad I sent my phone below when I saw it in the distance, I was soaked to the bone by the time it passed.
Sailing past the Pitons
The next stop was Marigot where a party was scheduled at Chateau Mygo. The yachts had berths reserved at the marina and it was a sight to see them all with their code flags flying off the forestay. Having been here before I made a beeline for the showers, ahhh unlimited hot water and I could actually turn around while showering.
After some internet and socializing we all headed for the party. I’ve had dinner here often enough, and it’s always a good experience; I will say they did a stellar job on the party with probably 50 or so people to feed and booze up. Everything was excellent and the rum punch strong. The festivities lasted well into the night, beyond the time the bar closed, but we hung around and finished our drinks long after the last of the staff left.
The fleet in Marigot Bay
Friday Arpil 6, 2018
We were scheduled to spend the day in Marigot Bay so as many of the crew had never been to St. Lucia they opted for a taxi tour of the area around Soufriere. Kim and I choose to take the bus to Soufriere and spend the day there. It’s one heck of a hike up the hill from the bay, but with several rest stops we made it. We stood by the road for some time waiting for a passing bus with empty seats, but they were all full. Some local guys suggested we go to Castries and get one from there. So began our journey; the first bus we grabbed took us up into the countryside before returning to the capital. As we were going through a banana plantation the driver stopped and got out, Kim asked “is this the place where eh murders us?” but no, it was just where the driver had to relieve himself and we were on the road again. We got lucky in Castries as the Soufriere bus had two empty seats so we got on and they left.
We did our usual thing, swimming on Hummingbird Beach, lunch at the Petit View Creole restaurant, walked around the square. We headed over to see my “adopted” granddaughters, Twilight & Twinkle. I had brought some new shoes for them and Kim hadn’t seen them in a couple years. It’s always nice to visit and catch up on how they’ve been doing.
After a while we headed back to town and as we were walking we ran into Tony, the driver had stopped in Soufriere so we ended up riding back to the marina with them.
The evening was finished with the usual drinks and dinner, the yachts were all preparing for the “parade of sail” to Castries scheduled for tomorrow.
Saturday April 7, 2018
Getting 14 or so yachts organized to leave the harbor and motor in a line from Marigot to Castries was no easy task, but the yellow shirts were able to pull it off. We entered the cruise port at Castries with full colors flying, horns blowing and everyone on deck for photos by the support boat with the local dignitaries. After a quick circle of the harbor we were on our way to the finish line in Rodney Bay.
The Parade of Sail (except we all had to motor to keep the boats together)
Happy circumnavigators, well done!
Dan and Em wanted a photo of them at the bow as we crossed the finish line so I was giving the honor of steering across the line, very fitting as I was at the helm at the start of the first leg of the 2014 WARC. All the boats set off flares and smoke as they crossed, and we were no different. Once back at the marina Fred and his crew were at the dock to meet us. A local news station was also there to record the event and a party was et up on the dock with cold Pitons and rum punches, unfortunately no one brought cups or a bottle opener. My trusty lighter had the bottle caps flying in no time however. Snacks were provided by the Bread Basket Restaurant from the marina, very nice plentiful selection.
Back in Rodney Bay after 15 months at sea
After a few drinks we went to Boardwalk Bar and Bosons to have a few more. Trendy was there as usual, and we spent a while catching up. The final party was at one of the resorts on Rodney Bay; as always the World Cruising Club puts on a top notch event. There was a table of dignitaries from the federal and local governments on hand, St. Lucia is very supportive of the yachting industry, the crews all spoke and the booze flowed freely enough that it wasn’t boring. A very nice buffet was served and then open bar well into the night. We left around 11:00 to go back to the marina and after we closed Boardwalk Bar we had a little babash and Jack Iron to finish off the night.
Sunday April 8, 2018
We departed Skyelark, Dan gave us a ride to the dingy dock in the lagoon and we made the short walk to Coco Palm where we were booked for two nights. We headed over to Gros Islet to spend the day at the beach. On the way I showed Kim the guesthouse I stayed at, Chez Marie Alish. She is still a little put off by Gros Islet at night, but this place is close enough to the main road and the chicken and fish shack we get our late-night snacks from that she will be comfortable staying there on future visits.
The waterfront in Gros Islet
Family day at the beach
Cars line the road as people prepare their cookout, meanwhile Kim gets in as much sun as she can before we leave
Sunday on St. Lucia is all about family time at the beach, it’s the only day that it is crowed with people enjoying the water and having cook outs. We hung out most of the day and stopped at Golden apple Bar for a late lunch, you just can’t beat the prices here, it’s truly a local stop and the food is good and plentiful.
The menu at my new favorite restaurant. The prices are in EC (3 US = 8 EC), most expensive item two pieces of fish with all the sides $7.50 (bank rate) $8 (street rate)
It was back to Boardwalk Bar for few before heading over to Buzz for dinner. We always treat Dan and Em to a dinner after a charter as our way of thanking them for a great time and their hospitality. Tony met us there and as it turned out Ingred and Peter happened to stop there for a drink on their way to dinner. It was nice to have most of the crew together for one last round. The food was great as usual and the bill not too bad, around $125 per couple which included appetizers, drinks and dessert. As we were eating a couple large water tankers clambered down the street, very unusual.
Afterwards it was Boardwalk Bar again, Boomer a longtime friend from Soufriere, met us there. We hadn’t seen him in over a year. Last time was at a party at Kim’s house while he was visiting the US. Once again we shut the bar down and then took the bus back to Rodney Bay and called it a night.
Monday April 9, 2018
Today we had our own cookout planned with Trendy and Boomer at the beach in Gros Islet; we invited Dan and Em along, but they had plans to do some kite surfing at Cotton Bay. We took our morning walk to Happy Day Bar and watched the boats coming and going from the lagoon. We found out what the story was with the water tankers the night before; the empty building next to the bar burnt down so they must have been suppling water to the fire trucks.
On the way to the beach we stopped at the grocery store and picked up some chicken and beef kidneys. We met Trendy in Gros Islet and got our coals, beers and ice. On the way to the beach a fisherman was selling his catch; I picked up a couple parrot fish, I gotta say they were very good, thick mild firm meat, I’ll be having them again. Boomer showed up with a tuna and soon we were grillin’ n chillin’.
Selling the days catch
It was a lovely day, the water was beautiful and our chef, Trendy, prepared the days fare. We spent the afternoon drinking the rest of the babash and Jack Iron and enjoying the food as it came off the grill, which was only big enough to cook a couple things at a time.
One of Boomers friends stopped to say hello as he was passing by. When he was leaving I asked if he wanted a bite to eat, he declined. Trendy then chimed in “hey, no passersby, I will eat the left overs tomorrow”. Once the sun started getting low in the sky we made our way back to town, stopping at the little bar at the end of the road for a couple drinks. As we were sitting there the lady brought out some fish cakes, I was looking at them and Trendy asked if I would like some, I asked him “do you think they will share them with passersby?” and we all had a good laugh.
My two best friends in St. Lucia, another friend said I captured their personalities in this photo and I think she's right.
A nightcap at the little bar at the end of the paved road in Gros Islet
Once again we finished up the night at the marina and bid farewell to our friends there before turning in for our last night on the island.
Tuesday April 10, 2018
Breakfast buffet at the hotel and then Trendy and a friend of his gave us a ride to the airport. Our JetBlue flight was uneventful as always, C&I at JFK no problem, quick and easy with the kiosks. And so ends another season of Caribbean vacations.
Fred, sorry it took so long to get these posted, but when I got back from vacation I had to finish building a bridge.