From Martinique we sailed to Rodney Bay, St Lucia. Dave and I spent a lot of time here earlier in the season, but never saw anything of the island beyond Castries. This time we did not have any boat problems to fix, so we were free to go tour around. We were joined by Francois and Vanessa from Why Knot IV, Cheryl from Slow Down, and Eric and Debbie from Indigo. The main part of the day trip was to visit the Pitons. Google Maps told me it would take about two hours. Ha! Not on these roads. There was not a straight road the entire trip. I actually think it would have been quicker to take the boat.
At least we were in good company for an entire day of driving. Eventually we got our first glimpse of the Pitons, the breasts of St Lucia. There is something awe inspiring about them. We were all dazzled by the sight.
At the foot of the northern Piton sits the city of Soufriere. We’d heard so many bad things about taking our boat there that we decided to skip by it each time we’ve passed by. It looks beautiful from up here, though.
We drove past the first Piton and descended between the two into the cleavage where Sugar Beach is located. What a gorgeous spot. It was peaceful and had a beautiful resort. Cheryl said that this is where they moored to see the Pitons and didn’t have any problems. We arrived too late to hike and so our disappointed friends decided we would return here with our boats to hike the Pitons.
We arrived in St Lucia in time for Friday Night Jump Up. The street was full of vendors selling alcohol, food, jewelry, and other handicrafts. The music was loud and we would have scored on the ultimate party scene… if we didn’t return to our boats for a 9:30 PM bedtime. But we arrived early and visited our friend with the fry bread stand. She calls them bakes. Whatever you call them, they are delicious. Eric noticed the lady, pictured above, while Francois was buying a beer. “Francois pose with her.” And that’s how we got a picture of the ‘real’ Pitons. Talk about mountainous! Impressive.
Dave heard about Plantation Beach with an excellent kiteboarding school, Kite Surf St Lucia. Francois agreed to go with Dave and took his first lesson. The first day focused on learning the kite, then body dragging.
Meanwhile, Dave cut the waves back and forth across the bay. At one point, he exchanged his board and kite with the instructor for the jet ski.
Francois had such a good time, he returned with Dave the next morning for his second lesson. After a kite refresher and more body drags, Dave brought him out a board.
His instructor took Francois, the kite, and the board upwind on a jet ski. The wind would push Francois toward the beach, since we were on the windward side of the island.
This location is good because the reef blocks the waves. You get all the wind without the chop.
The instructor demonstrated how to hold the kite at midday while putting on the board. He made it look easy.
As Francois found out, standing up on the board is not that easy. One of the problems, though, was the light wind. It takes more force to get up out of the water than to move on top of it.
With Francois happily learning, Dave pulled out his new gear we went all the way back to Antigua for. This 14 meter kite, being quite large, was intended for lighter winds.
All pumped up and ready to go, Dave flew his kite to the far shore.
Finally trying out all his own gear, Dave made a couple laps across the bay.
But he was having trouble staying on top of the water. He could not get the kite powered up enough. His kite might be for light winds, but these were too light. He didn’t think Francois would have much of a chance to get up and going that day either.
This guy kited with a 15 meter kite on a surfboard. The surfboard doesn’t cut into the water as much and gives less resistance. The two people using surfboards were the only ones kiting well that day.
Dave watched as he came right to shore, leaned over and touched the water with his free hand, and spun the board around. Nice transition! Obviously this guy has been doing it a while. It was like he was glued to the board (no straps)!
The first day ended with Beth, the kite school owner, teaching a little boy how to control the kite.
Day two ended with her teaching a little girl.
They start them young, huh? It is time for us to move on to Marigot and then the Pitons, so the guys will have to try kiteboarding in the Grenadines. It’s hard to believe the season is nearly over for us. It feels like we just got started. We are ending a little early, about mid-May, in order to return home and ready our house for the market. Yes, we are in love with cruising and are doing away with all our land-based worldly possessions. Next season we are planning something completely different, so I will probably keep blogging. Thank you to everyone who has shared in our fun so far.