A year ago we were convinced, by whatever information we had heard about St Lucia, that there may be some concern for safety to cruisers, and on our way to Grenada in April passed right by the island in the middle of the night. We were in awe of the Pitons that were illuminated by the moon that Good Friday night and continued on with concern for safety at some of the anchorages. But, here we are 6 months later, with updated information, and day 4 in Marigot Bay and loving it. We passed the Pitons now sailing north in the morning light against the rising sun…still pretty magnificent. Marigot is a pretty small anchorage that is populated by many cruisers and charters nightly. There is a large marina and resort facility that make up most of the harbor. We have been greeted by a few of the locals in the row boats selling fruit and other services, but in no way feel safety is a problem. We have even seen a patrol boat out at night (Christmas Eve!). We had an easy check-in at customs upon our arrival and found that the marina staff and other local personnel very helpful.
We have decided to anchor and could have spent $30 for a mooring bouy, but after our anchor was firmly set in sand we are comfortable where we are. We can swim right off the back of the boat and snorkel to some reefs. It is a busy place as some of the cruise ships docked in Castries ( a mile away) bring boatloads of travelers to see the beautiful port, and there are the comings and goings of local fishermen and dive charters.
We are about 100 ft from the northern rocky shore lined by mangroves and palms. The landscape quickly rises to nearly 900 feet. To the north it is rainforest, to the south it is populated with villas and luxury homes. To the east we can see the massive luxury boats and sailboats moored and at dock. And to the west is the Caribbean blue sea.
Our sail here was a bit eventful. We left in 15-18 knot winds just off the quarter bow and were so glad to be on the water with the sails up and moving somewhere. Overnight we found ourselves driving straight into the wind with variable winds from 10-22 knots. The seas were a bit challenging. Initially, coming from a few directions (called confused) and the building for a few hours to 6-10 ft , then settling by early morning. I think it was about the time we both thought of the possibility of rouge waves and made sure we were clipped in. It definitely kept us on our toes! We also had the cruise ships to tend with. They were coming out of Grenada, heading to Castries or out of Castries heading to Grenada. We both tried sleeping below for a while and when it was too rough came to the cockpit. There comes a time when sleep is so desirable that a rolling sea and rough waters don’t matter….. you have to sleep, and trust the boat…….even dreams come easily. We took our usual turns on watch and by morning light we were excited to arrive at the south end of St Lucia and the Pitons.
Above the anchorage here in Marigot Bay is a trail. We read about the challenge and were up for it. It starts at the garden gate behind the Mango Inn and ascends quickly. We stopped at the inn to get directions and who we presumed were the owners gave us valuable information for our hike…take a stick at the garden gate and “take your time”…oh and they also told Mike to fasten the straps of his Crocs! We looked at each other, recalling an energetic and muddy hike to waterfalls in Guadeloupe last year, wondering if that was what was in store???? We passed through the garden and the gate (locked to keep the dogs in….we never saw them??). We picked out a walking stick and headed vertical right away. It was fairly easy until we came to the ropes alongside the trail set there to assist one to move from rock to root to root again. The vegetation was dense, but we were relieved that it was so shaded. As is our usual, we hike midday…the heat of the sun at its highest. The challenge soon became hanging onto the walking stick, the Go-pro and the ropes! We ascended nearly 900 ft and were rewarded by a beautiful lookout over the harbor and the shore to the south of the inlet to Marigot Bay. We found the meditation platform and then headed to Oasis Marigot, down the trail to the west. One more stop gave us a nice rest on a handmade bamboo bench and a short rain shower provided some cooling effect. We descended through thick palms, cacti and yucca. We were lucky to be THE only ones on the trail that afternoon…all to ourselves!
We were ready for a swim, but needed to investigate Doolittle’s Restaurant and Bar. We heard over the loud speaker of one of the tour boats passing us in the anchorage that this was the location from which the seaside scenes from the original Dr. Doolittle film in 1967 were made. It was a cool and eclectic establishment and we decided we had intent to return, but so needed a swim and returned to the boat!
We also had a visit from the “Black Pearl”, a local day charter! Pretty ominous on arrival though!
We spent Christmas here! With our white twinkle lights up the flag halyard we made our (now traditional) holiday dinner of homemade cheese ravioli, fresh baked bread, and salad. Between the heat in the galley and the frequent downpours..it was a challenge, but worth the trouble. Best meal yet. We called family and enjoyed Christmas over the miles.
Hope your holidays were terrific!
We keep moving north…stay in touch!