Day 7 – To Laborie, St. Lucia

Mark's dad Bill was supposed to join us on St. Lucia, but he get sick and couldn't come.
Mark’s dad Bill was supposed to join us on St. Vincent, but he got sick and couldn’t come.

Busy day. We move our mooring back to Soufriere in the morning. Goals include: getting water for Ginger’s tanks, attending the local farmer’s market, and do some provisioning of edibles/drinkables. Susan and I dingy in to the market. We are swarmed by all manner of people trying to sell us all manor of goods and services. After about the 20th person, we finally start ignoring people who approach. Rude of us, but we are a little overwhelmed.

Kelley, Sheven and Loren are picked up by Vincent for another scuba dive. We meet them back at the boat, where Vincent drops them off.

Dive crew returning - St. Lucia
Dive crew returning – St. Lucia

They had a great dive. While Vincent dove/guided them underwater the man in his skiff was supposed to follow along. But the current took them around the corner of the Petit Piton and when they surfaced, there was no boat to be seen. After a while, Vincent was able to flag down another dive boat by waving his fins in the air and splashing. That boat went along the coast and found Vincent’s driver, who then came and got them out of the water.

Sheven taking post-diving dip
Sheven taking post-diving dip

We motored Ginger to the fishing dock and filled the tanks with water. The tanks have 600 liters capacity and we had used about 3/4 of that over the last 7 days. Also filled the dingy fuel tank.

Getting some water in Castries. This is our hose-attendant.
Getting some water in Rodney Bay. This is our hose-attendant.

Someone tried call us on the Sat phone, and we missed the call. We are supposed to meet my dad on St. Vincent tomorrow, so I call him on the Sat phone. Turns out in the last 24 hours he’s gotten an upper respiratory infection. Doctor says no travel. We are bummed, but thankful he was diagnosed early. We think the medical care is probably not quite as good here, as it is in West Palm Beach where he is currently. We’ve been looking forward to spending time with dad on the boat, but understand the importance of getting good care quickly. A friend of mine recently died of pneumonia in Anchorage.

We decide we’ll head of the fishing village of Laborie on the south end of St. Lucia. From there we can launch south the next day, weather permitting.

Strong wind, we are double reefed and seeing occasional gusts to 32 knts. Sheven, Susan, Loren lay out on the trampoline. Ginger launches off of waves and when she lands, a good amount of spray shoots up through the trampoline and douses them. Lots of water/amusement park shrieks, laughter.

The trampoline roller coaster ride on the way to Laborie, St. Lucia
The trampoline roller coaster ride on the way to Laborie, St. Lucia.  This looks tame, but big waves were blasting up thru the trampoline. Photo by Sheven

A squall was spinning off of St. Lucia so we dropped the sails and motored the final 3 miles into Laborie. We needed to thread between some un-marked reefs to get to the area our guidebook said there were some mooring balls. There were two cats anchored between the reefs. We motored by one of them and grabbed the only mooring ball we could see. A british gentleman came out of his custom cat and warned us not to use the mooring ball (contrary to the guidebook) because they were not maintained.

As we were dropping anchor, it started to rain and quickly became a torrential downpour. I think that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen it rain. We got soaked, and it only lasted about 15 minutes then cleared up to sunny blue skies again.

During the squall
We got soaked by the rainstorm while trying to anchor. Photo by Loren
The dock at Laborie, St. Lucia
The dock at Laborie, St. Lucia. Photo by Sheven
Sunset view from the dock at Laborie, St. Lucia
Sunset view from the dock at Laborie, St. Lucia. That’s our boat on the left. Photo by Sheven

We dingy to the town dock, and happened to meet the british gent from the cat, and his friends as they were getting into their dingy. We had some nice chats about his catamaran, and the strong winds coming in to the harbor. As we started to say goodbye, we found out he is Chris Doyle Рthe man who wrote the guide book we are using. Nice guy and we told him how much we enjoyed and used his book (we have two aboard). 

Sheven chillin with Chris Doyle, author of our guidebook
Sheven chillin with Chris Doyle, author of our guidebook

We wandered thru town, bustling with people, dogs, and chickens doing their thing. Laborie is an authentic, non-touristy (except for us) place. People were very nice and we were not harassed by one person trying to sell us something or get some money from us using any method possible. In contrast, when Susan and I went to the market in Soufriere, we were propositioned literally by over 20 people trying to sell us things, or asking for money, asking to be our guide, etc.

Our guidebook had mentioned Captain Kent’s Big Bamboo Cafe, so we sought it out.

Big Bamboo Cafe, Laborie, St. Lucia. Photo by Sheven
Big Bamboo Cafe, Laborie, St. Lucia. Photo by Sheven

Quite a rustic place with super friendly staff. Their menu was simple: our waitress when and talked to Captain Kent, who was grilling food over a 55 gallon barrel. She came back with the choices: Chicken, Pork, Fish or Octopus. We got Chicken & Fish dinners that were delightful, tasty creole creations. With beans, rice, and a little local veggie mix.

Kelley posing with the Chicken Plate.
Kelley posing with the Chicken Plate.

We met the owner of the other cat in the harbor – it’s a Fountaine Pajot Belize (2004) and he’s heading back north. One of his rudders fell off when we was sailing a few days ago. I hadn’t heard of that happening before. He’s not sure when exactly it fell off, so he never found it. To get a replacement from the factory would take a couple of months, so he’s headed to Rodney Bay hoping to find a craftsman there who can make a new one. Another nice thing about having a catamaran: two rudders, and if one falls off, the other one can work by itself. Not as elegant if you are on a monohull, you are fairly helpless until you rig a rudder using something like an oar. Doesn’t work very well.

Dingy back to the boat for another round of cards (Five Crowns), which is a nightly tradition. I finally break my losing streak, although I think my crewmates threw the game to me so that I would stop whining.

 

We plan to get up before sunrise, and haul south, past St. Vincent to Bequia.

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