A really great time was spent at anchor in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, with the crews of Hent-Eon, Ribouldingue and Sturmschwalbe over the Christmas period. We celebrated with dinner on the 24th onboard Ribouldingue, 25th on Hent-Eon, 26th on Sturmschwalbe and on the 27th I cooked dinner and delivered it to Ribouldingue for everyone to eat as Fathom is rather too small to fit everyone comfortably. A unique Christmas indeed in the company of French and German friends in 30 degree temperatures, blazing sun and even an attempt to learn windsurfing on Christmas morning. Thank you everyone for speaking English it made life so much easier!
I found St Lucia itself quite a disappointment. At Rodney Bay the marina and associated developments felt artificial and there was a fairly strong feeling going around the cruising yachts that the area and the island itself were not particularly safe. In fact one crew member from a boat on the ARC, was beaten up and robbed when he found himself alone in an area close to the marina. The daily radio net run by a British yacht warned every boat at anchor to ensure all dinghies were hauled out the water and chained at night and during periods of a new moon to lock yourself in the cabin as boarding’s on dark nights were a possibility.
We did explore ashore and before Christmas went along to a street party that happens every Friday evening in a small village close to the marina called Gros Islet. Several streets are filled with food and rum stalls and there is loud music and dancing at pretty much every street corner. We were advised to stay in groups and not take cameras so unfortunately no photos. The jerk chicken was fantastic especially when washed down with a rum punch. A few days later we went back to the same area in daylight to take photos but nearly had some trouble with some locals who saw us taking photos and began to get mad that they were in one of our shots. After assuring them we had deleted the photo we walked off briskly.
Another day we took a bus to a nearby town called Castries. On the bus a friendly local recommended we stick to the market and central square only and not to walk off down any side streets. We enjoyed an excellent lunch in the market with local homecooked food but again no photos due to risk of losing our cameras. Later in the day we explored Pigeon Island National Park at the northern end of Rodney Bay and Fort Rodney which was built by the British so they could keep an eye on the French at the neighbouring island of Martinique. Our legs were clearly used to sitting on a boat and the short hike to the summit of the hill wiped us out as you can see in the photo. The evening of the 28th was our last evening all together. The next day Hent-Eon and Ribouldingue headed north and Fathom and Sturmschwalbe south to the Grenadines. I will remember these days very fondly with lots of laughs, one or two glasses of rum and excellent company.