Tuesday, October 24, 2017

We Found Paradise - In a Marina!

Deck crew at work!
Our next destination was Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia. It is the gathering place for all of the World ARC fleet before commencing the Parade of Sail into Rodney Bay, SL for the final party and celebration. We had a choice of an overnight sail to Marigot Bay or get up very early and sail to the Pitons, just south of Marigot Bay. Since we had a reservation for a mooring ball between the Gros and Petit Pitons, we opted for the early morning sail, knowing it would be a push to get moored before dark.

So up went the anchor. Goodbye to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We will wave at St. Vincent as we pass. We are not stopping there due to the history of crimes against yachties in their waters. And the government does nothing to punish the criminals. If and when the police come to "investigate" a crime, they don't even take notes or photos of the crime scene. Then the judge dismisses the cases because there is no evidence! Even though the yachties file police reports, nothing happens with it. If they do bother to look for and capture the offenders, they

usually let them out of jail - if they have even bothered to pick them up! Not a good place to be! Most yachts avoid St. Vincent - and there is a similar problem in St. Lucia that is beginning to discourage yacht visits there! Of all the places we have been in the world, the Caribbean feels more threatening than anywhere!
We arrived in the bay between the Pitons just before sunset after a nice passage. The Pitons are so majestic - especially when you are below and looking up. Nature has so many wonders that we have been able to enjoy around the world. And it is even more special when you can share such experiences with family and friends.

The biggest challenge in the Pitons was dealing with the boat boys. Since this area is a designated Marine Park and is under the authority of the Soufriere Marine Management Association, Inc. (SMMA), there is a fee to be paid, but only to those in uniform who can give you an legal receipt. The boat boys want to help you moor and charge you for the moorings, but you still have to pay the SMMA. To appease the pushy boat boys, we ordered a bag of ice at a set price after they had approached us.
Upon their return with the ice, they wanted a lot more money than we had agreed to! Typical boat boy behavior (and these are not little boys!). After an exchange of words, we paid for the ice and sent them away. However, we decided to stay on the boat for dinner and not leave it unattended. We all just had an uncomfortable feeling! That is the sad situation in this part of the Caribbean.

There have been a lot of robberies and even bodily harm done in this area so we did not want to tempt fate. We would spend the night enjoying the beautiful view and move on in the morning.
Sure enough, the ranger came by to collect and we had our official receipt before dark. We shared our concern regarding the aggressive young men who had brought the ice.

After more than 50,000 nautical miles of sailing and thousands of islands and beaches, who would ever think that paradise could be found in a marina! There are marinas and there are marinas! This was a five-star marina in our book.

Actually, it is a resort marina rather than a working marina. That means no real boat services, but you can get fuel and the Customs and Immigration Office is right on the dock.

Since it is a beautiful Capella Resort, we had laundry service pick up and delivery to the boat, use of the two beautiful swimming pools on different levels and a swim-up pool bar, beach towel, and lovely cabanas.

Food and beverage service at pool side was excellent. In fact, we all spent all day at the pool! As a matter of fact, we spent several days at the pool and enjoyed the island fruity libations!
There was one WARC dinner planned and as a group, we planned a second one across the lagoon from the marina at The Rainforest, so we could have a little more time and fun together. Everyone was happy that the long sails were over. But quite sad that the fleet would be breaking up and going separate ways. Even though we joined this WARC fleet at the half-way point, we were warmly received and fit right into the mix. It was a warm and welcoming group of strangers who weren’t sure about new arrivals into their little “family”, just as we were somewhat concerned about being included. All was right in the world!

The World ARC uses the stop in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia as a gathering point and place to rest after a long trek from South Africa to Brazil and all the Carnival activities. It gave us all time to relax for a few days before heading to the finale in Rodney Bay just up the coast a short sail. We will return to Marigot Bay next year when we are sailing from Grenada back to the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland.

On the final day of the World ARC Rally 2016-17, we all dressed our boats with signal flags and our World Cruising Club flags in preparation for the Parade of Yachts. I think we had the most WCC flags of all as we have been doing their rallies since 2010. S/V Trillium looked pretty spiffy all dressed up and ready to strut her stuff! Unfortunately, Merc and Bob were leaving from Marigot Bay to fly home, so we were on our own with our emotions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you here. You can see earlier posts at http://sv-trillium.blogspot.com