Thursday, 31 March 2016

St Lucia

Hi everyone,
We've been here in Rodney Bay marina for five days now.  The time has flown!

Beach at N end of Rodney Bay
We spent most of Easter cleaning up the boat after the long passage.  Jobs done included:

  • Wash down the decks and the rig (Port Elizabeth manganese still coming out of the shrouds)
  • Had the topsides washed down with vinegar (price too good to refuse)
  • Cleaned barnacles off rear of hull around waterline
  • Cleaned salt off s/s with vinegar then polished
  • "Shocked" the water tanks with bleach to kill any growth
  • Filled water tanks and jerries
  • Refilled main diesel tanks from jerries (40 litres)
  • Aired and cleaned cockpit lockers
  • Aired and cleaned cabin lockers (a big job since there are many and they're all full)
  • Restocked food supplies
  • Purchased courtesy flags for St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and BVIs
  • Inspected deck-level fittings, replacing lost ring on pin of headsail tack snap-shackle
  • Test-ran outboard motor
  • Inflated and checked dinghy

Between cleaning jobs we enjoyed the facilities around the marina complex.  There are several cafes, bars and restaurants.  We caught up with the crews of Gallinago, Andiamo and Scraatch.

Yesterday (Tuesday) we hired a car for the day and went for a 200km drive around St Lucia.  The island is only 24nm from end to end so our mileage shows that the roads are not motorways - they are very narrow with many hairpin bends.  Great fun driving and spectacular scenery.

Once out of the main tourist areas the island is a mixture of farming land - with many large fruit plantations - to forest in the hilly areas.  Everyone seemed friendly - lots of smiles.  Lots of rastafarian hair-do's with colourful "tea-cosys".
View from Moule a Chique at S end of St Lucia
St Lucia is known for the two pitons (peaks) on its SW corner.  They are very spectacular.  The old town of Soufriere is attractive with narrow streets arranged in a grid.  A huge sailing vessel was anchored in the bay.

View over Soufriere to Pitons
We visited the botanical garden just outside Soufriere which had an interesting array of tropical plants.  It is also the site of mineral baths once visited by Josephine (Bonaparte).  The water in the stream there looked battleship grey - not attractive!

Botanical Garden
This morning we visited the Pigeon Island National Reserve.  The island has a superb view over Rodney Bay, south along the St Lucia coast and north to Martinique.  It was the site of various fortifications over the years, right up to WW2.  It certainly commands the surrounding waters.

View from Pigeon Island Fort to S
View from Pigeon Island Fort N towards Martinique
Tomorrow we plan to clear out of St Lucia and sail the 30nm or so to Fort de France in Martinique.  We really enjoyed our stay in St Lucia and the car trip around the country was fun and informative.

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