St Lucia

May 16, 2024

We arrived in Rodney Bay, St Lucia just as it got too dark to see. The anchor lights of the other boats blended in with the city lights on shore, but with the help of the radar, we got anchored in a safe calm place with plenty of room to swing without coming close to another boat.

Morning revealed a pretty little bay. V was so excited to finally be ashore that he was up with me at first light, getting lines ready and putting out fenders. The marina opened at 8:00, and we headed in.

Even though we were on fumes, the fuel dock wouldn't help us until we checked in to the country. That's weird, but what's even weirder is that they filled us up after we checked out. Can you fill up a boat who is not legally in, or can't you?

St Lucia is full of people at the ready to scrub your deck, do your laundry, and repair your sails, all of whom we needed. Some are right there helping to tie up the boat. The bad side of that is that everyone has some services to sell you, and they pester you to the point of being irritating. It's also a cash island, so you have the trips to the ATM, which are annoying.

We worked hard on rigging repairs. I swam the bottom to inspect the hydrogenerator (which was fine) and the bow thrusters (which had giant plastic bag sucked up into its propellers). On Mother's day, we hired a van to drive us around. It's a big, jungly island. Very pretty away from the town, but also a little boring. The tiny fishing villages were neat to see, and at one, we stopped for a beach walk and rum punches.

On the disaster front, the dinghy that we paid to ship to Slovenia failed miserably before hitting the water. We had it half inflated and were putting in the floors (which float above the pvc bottom), and the glue keeping the bottom attached to the tubes gave up their hold. The seam was huge, and I don't think we would have ever gotten a good hold with the glue.

Fortunately, one of the island hustlers had seen the dinghy, happened to sell dinghys, and had dropped off a card. With another huge hit to the bank account, we were back in service. Having a dinghy allowed us to tour the town's little shopping restaurant area, where we had some great food, and then visit a beach restaurant the next night, where the food was mediocre, but where it felt more like vacation.

Here's a funny part: When we bought the dinghy, the guy told us we could go to the shop, they would inflate it up, and then tow us back to our slip. That sounded good, up until the part where they didn't have a towing vessel in the water. They stood on the bank and tried to wave down other boats. V and I shoved off and started paddling, and sure enough, someone pulled up and offered a tow. And unusually for St. Lucia, they didn't tell me how much I owed them for the favor. Thanks, kind stranger.

As soon as we had rigging repairs completed and the engine and generator serviced (just regular maintenance), we set off. We have a bit of a learning curve regarding how to secure the dinghy to the retractible davits on Velvet Elvis, and at one point, we had the dinghy hanging off sideways out in the ocean. It's always something with us.

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