Rodney Bay, on the north-east coast of St. Lucia is a large and popular anchorage with a very protected lagoon and marina. We anchored in the bay and awaited the arrival of Steve and Peri McHale, our great friends from Vancouver.
As you move “down-island” (i.e. moving southward through the Leeward and Windward chain), you start to encounter enterprising fellows who bring fruit, vegetables and handicrafts to your boat. All of them are real characters and natural salesmen. The first to arrive at Rodney Bay was Gregory, the fruit and veg guy. He had a makeshift “hut” on top of a very suspect boat, so loaded with produce that it looked likely to sink at any minute. Gregory motored very slowly from boat to boat every morning peddling his wares. We made a point of trying to buy a least something from him each time he came by.
On one of Gregory’s visits he pointed out that Panache’s hull was sporting a collection of weeds and barnacles. When we were on Guadeloupe I donned my scuba gear and made a valiant attempt to scrape the hull myself. I used a whole tank of air and only finished one side of one hull (i.e. only ¼ of what needed to be done). I hadn’t made any further progress since then, and jumped at the chance to hire Gregory to finish the job. He used only a mask and fins, so had to dive down repeatedly. He was absolutely exhausted when he finished and asked for a large shot of straight gin to settle things down. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the best job, but it was a lot better than leaving it like it was. The best part was the fact that I didn’t have to do it (at least that time)! On a technical note, we had a “Sonihull” system installed in Florida. It sets up a vibration in our hulls that is supposed to reduce the incidence of organic growth. You can see what the hull looked like before I scraped it in the video below. I have no way of proving how effective the system is, but I suspect that after 8 months in tropical water, the bottom would have been a lot worse without it.
Steve and Peri arrived and quickly settled in aboard Panache. The four of us have sailed together many times, and we were all excited about the 3-week adventure we had in front of us.
After a few days in Rodney Bay to provision, we headed out for a short trip down to Marigot Bay. It’s a lovely little anchorage that is usually quite full. Since it was the end of the cruising season, we were able to get right inside the lagoon onto a mooring ball. The best thing about the mooring ball was that it included access to a really cool resort with multiple swimming pools and swim-up bars. The girls sat in the shade, read books and took in the action around the pool. Steve and I stayed in the water and drank beer with the boys.
Moored next to us in Marigot was Windancer IV, a Lagoon 440 catamaran, owned by Canadians, John and Ziggy MacKenzie. We had seen Windancer in a couple of anchorages, but now had a chance to get to know them over appies and wine aboard Panache. You will hear a lot more about John & Ziggy in subsequent posts.
Our last stop on St. Lucia was near the famous “Les Pitons”, two volcanic plugs that are part of a world heritage site. These twin peaks are stunning and are the iconic symbol of St. Lucia.
When we sailed with the McHales in Croatia, Steve sent a series of emails to family and friends that chronicled the more amusing parts of our trip. The emails were very well received and there were many requests for a repeat performance. So, with Steve’s permission, I have included the first of three that he did over the course of our St. Lucia to Grenada trip. You'll find it after the Background section. Enjoy!
The French pirate François le Clerc (also known as Jambe de Bois, due to his wooden leg) frequented Saint Lucia in the 1550s.
The French officially claimed the island in 1635 and were the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Carib Indians in 1660. England took control of the island in 1663 and it subsequently flipped back and forth with the French seven times, finally settling in British hands in 1814.
In 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the British Commonwealth. Interestingly, the island has a mixed legal system, based on both French civil law and English common law. The Civil Code of St. Lucia in 1867 was based on the Quebec Civil Code of 1866, and supplemented by English common law legislation. St. Lucia is also a member of La Francophonie, reflecting its dual-national heritage.
The population of about 165,000 speak English, but not surprisingly, many of the towns and villages have French names.
Peri and Steve's most excellent Eastern Caribbean Adventure...or Old Farts Afloat!
Apologies for the delay in starting this out but it has been a stressful week getting used to life aboard Panache.
Another installment of traveling badly but with mostly good intentions.
As this is is going to a wide audience of friends, family and colleagues somethings may seem redundant but it is only to help those new to reading my ramblings. As to those ramblings: the insights, opinions, observations are mine and mine alone unless Peri has told me what to do/say/don't do.: 37 years of Yes Dear!
You can always check out what is going on by going on the Panache blog at svpanache.ca. There is usually about a 4-week delay.
It has been 4 years since we last sailed with Price and Benny Powell in Croatia and nothing has changed. Well, a few things have changed. P&B are retired now living the 5 year sailing around the world dream on a 48 catamaran and we are overjoyed to be on the water with them again.
So what would any trip be without a comment about Air Canada??? You gotta a love a national airline that sells off its points program, then announced it will leave it and doesn't tell its customers what the new program will be. I don't know what I will do with 238 blenders or 4 sets of women's left handed golf clubs when that is all that is left to redeem!
So we set off to St. Lucia via Toronto. Cab ride to the airport was supposed to pick us up at 3:30... 3:40...3:50 you get the idea. No cab yet assigned to our address We cancel the cab and drive to the airport. BRING on ÜBER! Make the flight: it is delayed and who cares because we have a 6 hr connection to St Lucia ("Saint Loosha" as I have been coached to say). You may have seen those Anthony Bourdain Layover shows on CNN. He could never do one at Toronto Terminal One. It is dead at 2 AM. Just find a nice bench or chair where you can put your feet up and grab a couple of zzz's!
NOT GONNA HAPPEN! There are exactly three places you can stretch out at Terminal One: the two benches in front of the security escalators or the two CIBC Adventura Pods. They were already taken. "But Steve you say, you said there were three options." The floor. There is lots of floor at Terminal One. Take several Tylenol and a Naproxen because you are going to be achy from being on the boat anyway so get your body used to it. 6 am came quite S L O W L Y.
Flight to St Lucia uneventful...we slept.
We had made arrangements for a driver to take us from the airport in Hoonawara to Rodney Bay and were advised that there would be many of "our driver". You all know the scenes of chumming the water for Shark Week on Discovery Channel. We were the chum for the driver sharks! OUR DRIVER LIONEL, as in Lionel Ritchie, drove us the 1.5 hrs to the north of the Island to Rodney Bay. The roads are incredibly steep and narrow and we saw two quite grizzly accidents. Everyone looked fine btw. Tailgating is a national sport if you can see the licence plate of the car in front get closer! We learned that Lionel aged 36, has 5 kids, three different paramours, no wives. A delightful man who likes the ladies! He walked us right to the bar where Price and Benny were WiFi'ing (aka beering).
I will catch up with some more posts in the next few days as we are already 7 days south but we have been watching the most amazing kite boarders for the past 2 hours. We are in the heart of Captain Jack Sparrow land, Tobago Cays!
I hear the call of a gin and tonic.
Click on the photos below for a larger view.