Sunday, April 26, 2009

St. Lucia visted May 2006 and April 2007

We weighed anchor and departed D’Arlet, Martinique, at 0545 on May 22, 2006; and arrived in Soufriere at 12:30. Were able to sail the entire way; first time this trip that we have been able to sail an entire passage on this trip south this spring. We were close-hauled about 2/3 of the trip and then on a beam reach for last 1/3. We picked up a mooring at 13.51.384N 61.04.047W .

When we awoke, Bill blasted our air horn 3 series of 5 blasts to awaken the people on a Moorings 4200 catamaran. The cat was named “Bambi.” They had lost their anchor holding and were quickly moving out to sea. Good thing we woke up so early. That boat had arrived fairly late last night and they were partying hard. They had anchored next to us and Bill was further worried about our anchor; he was sure that they had anchored directly over our anchor rode. At any rate, their anchor didn’t hold and they were floating free. We were able to pull our anchor and we left without incident.

The trip down was a great sail. One freighter passed in front of us way too close for my comfort level; and we passed a boat towing a barge way behind it. That was also too close for my comfort level. Bill thinks my depth perception isn’t very good. I do,not like anything big and/or fast to be anywhere near our boat or our course. Don't know if I will ever relax about this.

At Soufriere, we moored behind another Amel Super Maramu, named Trade Winds from Road Harbour in the BVI. When we went in to clear customs, we were hit up by a local man telling us that for a small fee he would watch our dinghy. Bill asked him why we needed him to watch our dinghy. He said because a few days ago some kids had put water into the gas tank of a tourist dinghy; but for a small fee he would watch and make sure no one puts water into our gas tank. We asked the customs official what the normal amount would be to pay the local guy to not put water in our gas tank, and he just laughed. Said that was a new one; he hadn’t heard that story before. When we later returned to our dinghy, the customs officer was down at the dock with a policeman talking to the locals gathered around the dock area. Apparently, the officials don’t want the locals harassing the tourists.

We spent a very rolly night at Soufriere and were out of there way before first light to sail to Bequia in St. Vincent and the Grenedines. St. Lucia is gorgeous but it has never been one of my favorite places.

April 2007 found us again making a brief stop in St. Lucia. This time we picked up a mooring at
13.49.181N 061.04.000W which afforded a spectacular view of the Pitons on the southwestern tip of St. Lucia. Last year we moored in Soufriere Bay (just on the other side of Petite Piton) near the bat cave, and it was horribly rolly. So we wanted to try a different spot this time. It is positively gorgeous at this mooring field between the Pitons. The park ranger said that this mooring can also become very rolly if a swell comes from the south, but it is very comfortable and calm tonight. Would recommend this mooring area to anyone planning a stop in St. Lucia.

The sail from Martinique to St. Lucia this time was a calm beam reach. Just lovely. Only exciting thing that happened was that a small airplane buzzed us. Bill got a kick out of that. The plane approached from our starboard quarter, crossed our stern, buzzed really close and then banked off our port side and turned north toward Martinique. We couldn’t figure out what that was all about. But later we heard a VHF radio pan-pan-pan call about a missing sailboat on our same route, so maybe the French coast guard was looking for the missing boat and checked us out for that reason.

I saw a large creature that we assume was a porpoise. It was very dark colored and about 16 feet long. It swam perpendicular to our boat and dove right beneath us. About 5 minutes later I saw what looked like the same creature (same size and same color) well off our starboard beam. Porpoises normally travel in pods so maybe it wasn’t a porpoise. Bill thought it might be some sort of small whale. Neither of us saw the head clearly enough to identify it (or them).

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