Friday, February 3, 2012

St. Lucia 2012

 Monday 30 January – Saturday 4 February

We had a decent motor sail up from Bequia to St. Lucia. The short distance between Bequia & St Vincent the winds were as predicted 20 – 25 with gusts up to 30 so we were double reefed on main & genoa sails, seas 6-8 feet with a lot of 10 footers thrown in. We were not pounding into the waves as they were 20° off the bow but still lots of water & spray over the boat. Couldn't keep our sunglasses clean. Once in the lee of St. Vincent the waves were knocked down, winds stayed pretty steady with a few fluky dulls or gusts. Approaching the north end of St. Vincent the waves began to increase again but they were only 4-6 footers making the 30 miles in open water up to St. Lucia a little better. Not the smoothest sail but not that rough, we made good timing so went all the way up to Rodney Bay on the north end of St Lucia and were anchored in Rodney Bay by 4. Steve had read an article in practical sailor about equalizing AGM batteries so he decided we should go into the marina for a couple of days so we could hook up to shore power and do a full equalization of the batteries. Tuesday morning after listening to the cruisers net we go into the marina. We had announced our arrival, during the nets they have a section for boats arriving and leaving, and afterward friends Maria & Maurice from Cattiva, whom we had met down in Trinidad and again in Grenada called us and said they were here in the anchorage also. They were leaving the next day to head back to Trinidad for Carnival so we made plans to meet for lunch at 1. Lunch lasted till 4:30, so we got back to the boat put the dinghy in the water and went over to the grocery store. Even though we are in the marina it is easier & shorter to go to the grocery store by dinghy instead of taxi or bus. Just have time to go to the one store, picking up a few things then back to the boat as the sun is setting. That evening Steve gets everything ready to do the equalization, as he plans to do it overnight , getting up every hour to check that all is okay. Shut everything down at midnight, and start the process. Left a lantern on and had flashlights close by, Steve set his watch and went to bed, getting up every hour through the night to ensure the batteries are not overheating or voltages too high. All went well.   Wednesday morning out on the dock we run in to Horst & Shariffa from Sunbourne again, they are here awaiting guests arrival the following day so we make plans to meet for dinner later. There is a ladies luncheon that afternoon over at the lovely Bay Gardens Beach Resort that I attend. A big group of lady cruisers just getting a little time off the boats away from the men. After lunch we can swim in the nice pool but it clouded up & rained a little so I just put my feet in and still felt cold but a lot of the others went in swimming. Back to the marina and relax a little after the drinks from lunch. Go to dinner that night with Shariffa & Horst, they have some fabulous restaurants on St. Lucia and the ones by the marina are pretty good and VERY convenient so we eat at one close by the marina. Thursday we leave the dock around noon, go back out and anchor and have lunch. I had a pedicure and foot massage appointment that afternoon so took the dinghy back in. I made it into the lagoon and heading toward the marina the engine dies ! It did sputter & die so my first thought was something to do with the fuel, so 1st thing I check is the plug connecting the gas can to the motor but it's connected. Mean while the winds are blowing 20 knots so I am drifting, luckily towards shore and I wind up against the dock of a beautiful home. Also had an anchor in the dinghy so if I had been drifting out to sea I would have thrown that out. Open the gas can and see its empty ! Call Steve on the hand held VFH radio I was carrying with me, I knew we had some gas in the internal tank but I did not know how to switch it over. Steve could not believe we were out of gas since we had just filled it in Bequia but I assured him the tank was empty and he told me how to switch over tanks – just a little lever on the side. We will check the gas can a lot more frequently from now on you can bet on that. Still make it in time for my foot massage & pedicure. Later back on the boat fill up the gas tank from the extra tank on board. Friday we had made arrangements to go up to the rain forest to finally do a zip line. One thing we have learned that if you want to do any kind of island excursion to call and make sure there is NOT a cruise ship in town as then the places you might be going to get too crowded. So we are being picked up at 8:20, as I am getting out of the dinghy at the dinghy dock it floats away from the dock and I loose my footing and into the water I go !! Steve pulls me out but I am soaked from the chest down, with not enough time to go back to the boat to change. As we go around front to the parking / pick up area I am trying to stand in the sun thinking maybe I can dry out a little. Then I see a little gift shop store & tell Steve I am going to look in there to see if they have a pair of shorts I can buy. I was worried that they would not let me in since I was still dripping but they were very sympathetic and said I could try them on and gave me a roll of paper towels to dry off with. I wound up buying a pair of $20 men’s swim shorts since I did not want to spend $50 for the ladies shorts. Not the most fashionable outfit I have ever worn but they were dry & got me through the day. A group of 6 in our van for the 45 minute ride up to the rain forest, where we joined 3 others. They split us into 2 groups 4 & 5 and told us about how crazy busy it was the day before when the cruise ship was in. After gearing up, an explanation and practice run we take the 40 minute tram ride up 1200 feet. As we go higher into the different levels of the rain forest our two guides are giving us insights about the different trees and plants. Moving into higher grounds you go from silence to sounds of birds. Off at the top, and a short hike down to the 1st platform, The group of 5 goes 1st then our group of 4 each group with 2 guides. One at a time we get hooked on and go flying through the trees, from platform to platform. This one is in a U formation so the distance and slope between platforms is not very long or steep. Just a fun ride through the tops of the trees. They do have a more extreme version, and this same company has sites on different islands through out the Caribbean so maybe next time. After the last platform a little hike back up to the tram station for the ride back down. Seeing the island through a bird's eye view is breathtaking. Complementary rum punch at the gift shop and back in the taxi for the ride back to the marina. So what started as not such a good day turned out to be a wonderful time. Weather is looking good so we will be heading up to Martinique Saturday morning.

link to pictures;

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