When you enter Marigot Bay, one of the first things that happens is a number of guys in boats come out to you offering you everything from help to connect to your mooring, to selling trinkets, fruit, etc. And, each of them has a different way of marketing and selling their wares. Some come on windsurfers, some on dinghys, some come as a neutral country….
Everybody’s brand is different and this fellow certainly had a different brand. He didn’t have anything that we needed but we did like his flag especially with a number of Swiss citizens on board (with Caroline, Andrew and the boys).
And, here we are… heading into Marigot Bay marina which means that we actually are going to be moored behind those palm trees.
A very quaint place with pretty great amenities.
Including smart birds who decide to just hang around and wait until the fish come to them, which is exactly what this bird did. Whenever the school of fish fry swam under the eletrical cable, he would poke his head down and grab a snack.
As an aside, we would highly recommend this to anyone. It is very safe as you have 2 harnesses on, and you are connected in 3 ways to 2 separate cables. So, safe and fun for the whole family. And, we did this on Mother’s Day…. yes, Mom will need to get a day of peace and quiet later. We’ll celebrate Mother’s Day in a couple of weeks.
And, now, we’ll return you to your regularly scheduled flora programming, as we walk back to the main centre.
So, we’ve gotten settled on St. Lucia. We’ve prepped the boat and done a little looking around. Now, it’s time for some more guests. This time it is Caroline’s brother Andrew and a friend of the family, Bruce. We met them, got them settled, and then told them that we’d be getting up early the next morning to go ziplining (is that a word?). So, we got up bright eyed and bushy tailed, just like the monkeys that we were going to be that day.
And, boy did we have a blast!!
Here are some of the sights of that day.
All geared up. They were very professional and it was a very safe experience.
Frazers and Andrew
Frazers and Bruce
It’s a rainforest. You know that there are going to be flora pictures…. seriously.
Our guides… Lea and Nicholas
Matthew on the practise line. For a kid who just barely met the size requirements, he was a little tentative, but he rocked at ziplining.
Here we are heading up the side of the hill/mountain by gondola.
Well, it had been raining so much that we needed to get off the boat and spend some time ashore. So, we chose to take a bus over to Castries, the main town. It was a simple but fun day. We took a local bus that dropped us off near the substantial market that they have. The following pictures are from the market. After the market, we went and had lunch and then were off to the highlight of the day…. an outing to “Our Planet“. Our Planet is a interactive multimedia experience that educates and entertains around the wonders of St Lucia and the Earth. It was a lot of fun. Perhaps a bit oversimplified in terms of some of the science and environmental stuff but had some good general messages.
One of the things that has been pretty amazing is the fact that most of the rain and all of the torrential rain has happened when we haven’t had any guests down. It has continued with our visit to St. Lucia. After we got here, it started to rain and basically rained until the day before Andrew and Bruce got here. We didn’t get a picture of the rain at it’s most torrential but you can get a sense of it with the pebbling of the water below. Time to rewaterproof the bimini cover again.
So, we did finally make it to St. Lucia. The passage was 38 hours of non-stop travelling. Given we had done another 31 hours passage just a day before, we felt that we weren’t too beaten up. But, it was definitely time to rest. When I went in to “check in” with Customs, Immigration and the Port Authority, I realized that I might have trouble standing up. I did actually hold on to the desk of the Port Authority gentleman by the time I got there. At that point, I decided that a nap once I got back to the boat was actually probably a good idea.
When we did approach St. Lucia, we decided to head into the lagoon to see if there were any moorings to be had. We want to have a flat sleep and we were going to be having guests soon. So, as luck would have it, we found a mooring ball. In fact, we found many mooring balls. But, none of them had any leads on them. They were all just balls with eyelets on the top. And, the balls were tight to the bottom so that they couldn’t really be lifted if you had the strength to do that. Strange. Everywhere else we’ve been, they have a lead that you can use to attach your mooring bridle. But, alas, after trying to get one, we discovered that there was actually one ball that had a lead. Problem solved.
These are some of the views that we had as we entered and got into the lagoon at Rodney Bay.
Sailing to St. Lucia was going to be our longest passage to date. The weather was forecast to be gently coming at us the whole way. So, we were greatful for the gentle winds and waves but wishing that the wind at least would come off our side or abeam as opposed to directly at us.
When we left the harbour, the waves were very gentle and we were pretty hopeful. But, as we got to sea, the waves picked up and the wind picked up but only a faintly and it was still directly at us. So, since we were still not fully rested, we decided that motoring was the order of the day, or night in this case.
We expected that we were going to have to travel a night, a day and then another night and that more or less came true. We did make pretty good time because of all the motoring and we ended up having to slow down the second night so that we wouldn’t arrive at St. Lucia too early.
The trip ended up being a lot of motoring with waves that came and went with wind that came but mostly went. We were fortunate with the rain and didn’t get a lot of hard rain so we stayed pretty dry. All in all, we did well especially since we were on a second long passage. And, the kids, as usual, did very well. They just hang out and do their thing. Sometimes it is above deck but often it is below deck…. amazing. They may get a little sick from time to time but not really. They figure all of this is pretty normal. 🙂
Here are some shots of the sky as we travelled. The nights don’t give us much to look at and during they day it was pretty grey.
Deciding when to passage is something I take pretty seriously from the standpoint of safety and also of comfort. We want to have a good weather window that will allow us to travel without incident. If things are uncomfortable, we’re more likely to get tired and thus more likely to make a mistake. So, we look at the wind, the waves and the weather.
We knew that once we were at Antigua, we would have to plan when and how we would head to St. Lucia. We could head off soon, wait a little bit. We could go directly to St. Lucia or we could do an island or two on the way. The upside of going to other islands is that it would break the voyage up. The downside is that it would involve several hours of checking in and then out of each we went to when we knew that we’d not be able to see anything.
So, after looking at the wind, weather and waves, we decided that we were going to go directly to St. Lucia. It like it wasn’t going to be changing much and that unfortunately for much of the time, we might have both the wind and waves on our nose, although they wouldn’t be too rough. So, we stayed one night at Jolly Harbor and then set of the next evening. And, oh what a glorious send off.
Here is what we saw as we left the harbor at about 6pm.
Again, we find ourselves entering Jolly Harbor in Antigua. We’re here because we knew that it would be a good place to end up after a long passage. This passage was 31 hours and we were happy to be able to have a flat harbor to rest and rejuvenate. So, as usual, the first order of business was to check into the country. To do that we have to dock the boat next to their small pier or in this case, we just came to the pier next to them. The customs pier really isn’t meant for a 50 foot boat. Then, I do my dance going to Customs to fill out lots of paperwork, and then to Immigration, and then to Customs, and then to the Port Authority. It is tedious but the people are nice and pleasant.
Once we’re complete, we head to a mooring ball so that we can stop and completely unwind from the trip. Just as we get the ball and start to get settled, the action starts…
The harbor has a visitor. A bottle-nose dolphin. Why do I know it was a bottle-nose dolphin. It’s simple. My 6 year old Matthew declared that that was what it was. And, with marine life or flags, I defer to my kids… always.
Here are some pics. Stay tuned for the next post to get video!!
I should also mentioned that during this time, I needed to go to the Marina office to pay for our mooring. Because our dinghy was up on the top of our boat and we were going to be heading off on another passage, we didn’t want to take it down. So, we opted for the easiest thing which was to have me kayak into the marina. This meant that I had the opportunity on the way back to get very close to the dolphin… about 2 metres away!
Unfortunately, at this point the dolphin is playing hide and seek and is no where to be found
The passage to Antigua was pretty great all things considered. Although we had to motor the whole way because we didn’t have any wind, it was nice and comfortable for the same reason. We all got a lot of rest which was really and generally had a great time.
The definite highlight was being able to see a pod of whales on our trip. This was such a treat as it is late in the season to be able to see them and I had given up hope on any possibility of a sighting on this adventure. But, our good fortune (as always) prevailed and we saw a few whales travelling together and not too far from the boat. The unfortunate thing is that we just weren’t able to catch a photo or video of them. Although we do have video of the sea with the kids and I in the background shouting and singing… We saw some whales! We saw some whales! Oh well, trust us. It was a very special experience.