Well, after sending two weeks in Marigot, St Lucia, it was time to begin our run north to Antigua. It was a real treat to spend time at the lovely resort attached to the marina and to enjoy the views of Pandora with the ocean in the distance. I took this phot from the bow of Che, the huge cat that I have mentioned in past posts. It was wonderful to watch the fiery sunsets every evening. And see the colors change with the minutes. It’s amazing how quickly it gets dark every night. Yesterday, Brenda and I sailed less than ten miles north from Marigot to Rodney Bay where we went into yet another marina to spend two days with our friends Bill and Maureen of Kalunamoo, marking the beginning of our run north and the beginning of the end of our season in the Caribbean. The marina staff was nice enough to put us next to each other on the dock. You may recall that Bill and Maureen were our mentors back in 2012 when we made our first trip down the ICW on our way to the Bahamas. They proceeded us in the Caribbean by a few years, but ultimately we followed them again, so here we are.
We will begin our near 200 mile run north on Monday with an overnight to Antigua beginning tomorrow morning, Monday.As the wind is nearly always from the east, we have spent the entire season as we have headed south on a port tack and now that we are turning to the north, we will be on a starboard tack. This will also be the case for the 200 mile from Antigua to the USVI where I will join the Homeward Bound Rally in May.
I expect that we will continue on a starboard tack much of the way until Pandora is north of the Bahamas on our passage to the US. As Pandora moves farther north we will encounter the SW prevailing winds on the US East Coast that are dominant.
We’d prefer to move to Antigua doing short 70 or so mile jumps over a three or four day period, but the wind will shift back to a more NE direction on Tuesday and we really want to avoid being hard on the wind for the nearly 200 mile run to Antigua. Sure, we could wait but that means being here for perhaps another week and that’s too long.
This time of year the trades begin to shift to a slightly more ESE direction so it’s generally easier to head north than south, unlike earlier in the season when ENE was the norm, favoring southbound runs.
The wind won’t be particularly strong, at about 15kts with gusts to 20, so we should have a decent run and I am guessing that it will take about 26-31 hours to go the 185 miles. Along the way we will pass Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe so if we decide that we want to stop, there are plenty of options.
I will, as always, have my tracker transmitting our position so feel free to follow along. See the link “where in the world is Pandora” on the top of this page.
We really enjoyed our time at the Marigot Bay Resort and I am looking forward to organizing a rendezvous next March with the Dawgs as spending a week or two there is a nice way to break up the season.
In addition to the lovely pool that is the centerpiece of the resort, there is a very nice spa where Brenda spent some time. The entrance to the spa area is, I guess, best described as Zen with a plunge pool near the entrance. I did wonder if anyone had ever sat in the two white chairs. If you prefer a small plunge pool with a water feature, this is for you.They also have a steam room so you can get all hot and then jump into the nearby pool. And, all of this is available to folks on the docks and moorings. Such a deal.
The day before we headed out to Rodney Bay, we rented a car with Stephanie and Jim to tour the island. To say that driving on the left on those narrow and winding roads was challenging, doesn’t begin to do justice to driving in St Lucia. It’s a bit hair-raising.
Along with a number of the other islands in the eastern Caribbean, St Lucia has an active volcano. Most of the evidence of what’s happening down deep in the earth is the presence of hot springs and steam vents. This spot looks really nasty and nothing can grow. The smell is a strong odor of sulfur. Not a place I’d want to have a picnic. I understand that the venting steam is a near permanent fixture of the area. The island has been volcanically active for millions of years. In past millenniums, violently so as evidenced by the pitons, the cones of long extinct volcanos. These formations are all that is left after the softer outer parts of the structure weathered away and left the hard igneous rock. This view from an overlook along the winding, switchback road. Of course, what’s an overlook without a couples photo?We visited a chocolate factory and store. What a variety, including chocolate infused gin. And Brenda, being a gin girl, had to get a bottle. The product displays were in very cleverly modified steel shipping containers. Below, in their restaurant, we had coffee and a snack. Later, we had lunch at Ladera, a spot overlooking the Pitons. It is perhaps the best view of any place we have ever had a meal. A lovely open air spot, high above the water. The view of the few yachts on moorings, in more than 100′ of water, far below. Zoom in on the one big yacht and you can see that it is Excellence, owned by an American, Herb Chambers. He owns a slew of automobile dealerships in the North East, US. She is a spectacular yacht, one of two that he owns. This one was built in Germany a few years ago. She can be yours for a week for about $100k.
Of course, if you split the charter with another couple, like the group in this video, it’s half price, a mere $50k plus expenses and tip. I can tell you, if I had the coin, this boat would be on my list. The owner lives on the CT River not far from our club in Essex. However, this boat never comes up the river, spending it’s time in the Caribbean and likely the Med in the summer. His smaller one, a mere 150′ long, is also named Excellence. Not bad Herb. Well done.
After lunch we visited one of the many beautiful waterfalls on the island. This one, diamond falls, is not far from the sulphur vents so the water spilling over the falls is warm and mineral laden. The water stained the rocks and was a dark grey. We were told that the color of the water changes day to day as the leaching of water from the vents evolves.
Brenda and Stephanie enjoy each other’s company. Just down stream from the falls are a series of mineral bath pools. We all donned bathing suits and enjoyed time soaking. It was nice to be there alone as the crowds in past visits were pretty large. Interestingly, the water in the pool was clear during this visit and last time, a coco brown. So ends the southbound journey of Pandora for this season. Even though we are thousands of miles from home, it still feels like the end.
Perhaps I’ll close with a photo of Pandora, under sail, taken for us by a friend. Of course, you know that we were sailing south, because we were on a port tack. So much for that, it’s starboard tack from now on. Well, mostly…
Oh yea, a special thanks to my friend Maureen, yes that Maureen, to point out that I really messed up the whole port and starboard tack thing. I fixed it…I think…
Yes, I know that there are still a few typos. Such is life…