Last Days in the Eastern Caribbean, Part Six
St Vincent is a big mountainous island. Passing it requires making a decision. Go on the leeward side and motor all the way or go on the windward side for a chance to sail. We once tried the windward side and felt like someone turned on the agitator. The wind was good, somewhere around 20 knots. The seas were confused. It seemed the swells and wind waves did not match directions and the waves would echo off the island to hit us from both sides. Yes, we saved on fuel, but we arrived exhausted and well after our friends who took the leeward side. Slow Flight was with us on that trip, too. So the decision was a no-brainer for both Dave and Steve: go leeward. You’re welcome, Marie!
So instead of an exciting bumpy sail, we had a calm slow motoring trip. We had plenty of time to enjoy the views of the island; much of it appearing to be uninhabitable steep terrain.
This is how Dave was on watch. There wasn’t much traffic, so he really just watched for fishing pots. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
Some catamarans have big trampolines on the front. They can be a great place to relax when conditions are calm enough. Other times the ride is more exciting and very wet! Our trampolines are small, but the princess seats on the bow are a nice place to sit. Today, the water was calm but the small swells were close together. In the video, it looks like a bumpier ride than it felt like. With no wind and near glassy water, we had to motor to the north end of St Vincent before we would get any wind to sail by. You can see Slow Flight in the distance ahead of us when I pan around.
There is nothing flat about St Vincent. I don’t know much about it, but it looks like it must be nearly as volcanic as Dominica. It looks like it would have been another great location for filming Jurassic Park. Steve probably looked at it and thought of all the great hiking he could do there. Most cruisers avoid St Vincent, though. It has a bad reputation for crime.
As we neared south St Lucia and its famous Pitons, we saw this rainbow encasing them. What a beautiful and welcoming sight!
The Pitons make a great picture on their own, but the rainbow made them look so cheery: like a post card or advertisement to visit St Lucia.
We passed Steve and Marie when we could finally sail. They were looking good and Marie said she was doing great.
As we neared the anchorage, we furled the jib and dropped the main sail. Dave has to go way up topside to tuck away the sail into the bag. It makes me nervous when he is up there. We pull the sheets in tight, so it shouldn’t move, but I don’t trust it. When we were taking sailing lessons, the boom tossed me off the bimini of another catamran like I was a ragdoll. I was very fortunate to have avoided injury. It’s not a scenario either one of us wants to repeat.
There is some great stuff at St Lucia: Hiking, shopping, restaurants, a good marina and protected mooring lagoon, and duty free fuel after check out. But St Lucia has its down sides as well. A big problem is the boat boys. They are not organized like the PAYS group at Dominica. They fight over boats, try to undercut each other, and constantly look for ways to rip off the boaters. Last visit to the Pitons, one tried to sell us a small tuna for US$250 and four small “baguettes” for US$40!!! Crazy! We were getting baguettes at other islands for US$1 each and fish for US$1-$2.50 per pound! It’s a shame they are like this. I spoke with Ivan, pictured above, and encouraged him to try to organize the boat boys and fix prices and fees to stop the scamming. I told him instead of getting 4 boats a day, they would get more like 20-40 boats a day. I told him to see all the boats that go to Rodney Bay and Marigot and skip over the Pitons because of their reputation. I doubt it did any good, but it would be great for cruisers if they got their act together like Dominica did! It is such a beautiful spot.
Once again, we are only resting for the night and leaving in the morning, this time for Martinique, our final stop and jump off point for Bonaire. We enjoyed a dinner together and picked up the Cruiser’s Wifi for a little internet. It wasn’t good enough to blog by, but it was good for keeping in touch and checking Facebook. It’s been smooth sailing so far and the weather is holding out. Looks good for Martinique.