A Trip to the Local Shop

The journey from Marigot Bay to St Lucia was like a trip to the local shop. And to some extent it was. The journey was short and uneventful, and we spent more than intended.

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been steadily emptying our bank account at the Island Water World chandlers and Johnson’s hardware store buying things for Lady Jane. So this hasn’t, as you may rightly assume, been a period of slackness for the motley crew. There was plenty to do on the to-do list:

  • Repair the davits after an incident that Maria would rather not talk about.
  • Sand and revarnish the saloon table, because a stain would appear every time a cold drink was placed on it.
  • Polish Lady Jane’s hull and topsides, because she had lost her shiny complexion after a few months in the sun.
  • Replace the engine fuel filters; clean the heat exchanger; change the anode and replace the coolant.
  • Reinforce the bimini (which provides shade in the cockpit) because the middle has been flapping about in a particularly un-cool manner.
  • Finally, we needed to wait for the watermaker spares to arrive from Italy to stop the squeaking each time we switched it on. And in authentic Italian and Caribbean style, the parts came late.

And there was good news and bad.

After hanging on for months following a soaking on the beach in Tenerife, my iPhone finally gave up the will to live. But on the positive note, we have been accepted as members of the Ocean Cruising Club in recognition of our Atlantic Crossing.

Rodney Bay Marina

Rodney Bay is a great place to get things done. The davit thing was always going to be tricky. But with the help of Bob Hathaway, the Ocean Cruising Club port officer in St Lucia who came along to see us to bring our club burgee, we found a machine shop that was able to create a set of bushes from a block of material I bought from Island Water World. And the guys did a perfect job – accurate to within a fraction of a millimetre. And now the davits are back to their pre-Maria state.

Benjamin took care of the polishing, transforming Lady Jane’s dull salt-encrusted hull into a shining masterpiece armed only with a bucket of vinegar-infused water and a small bottle of polish. And with heads down – literally in the case of the engine – we took care of the rest of the other stuff on the to-do list.

It wasn’t all hard graft and sweaty misery, however. We did manage to get out from time to time. And whatever we were doing on the boat, Benjamin the fruit seller, in his little palm-fronded boat always made the day a little bit brighter. And he celebrated his 50th birthday this week.

We even managed to get off the boat from time to time. When in one of the cafes in the marina complex, we bumped into some of our fellow Odyssey sailors, the crew of Mirabella – Andre and Eva Maria – who were here preparing their boat for the journey to Panama and then across the Pacific. We had drinks and an excellent dinner one night with our new neighbours, Neil and Rita, on board their Lagoon 400 catamaran, Balance. We ate in a few of the restaurants, played pool for the first time in years – with Neil – in one of them. And Maria and I managed to escape outside of Rodney Bay by taking a day trip around the island.

Road Trip

Delvin arrived at 0900 on Sunday 11th March to take us on a tour of the island. And after discussing what places to stop, we decided on the Sulphur Springs at Soufriere and the nearby botanical gardens, which is rich with tropical fruits, medicinal herbs – and chocolate.

The sulphur springs are supposed to have a Cocoon-like effect on you. You can see from the photographs how well that went, but I’m assured that a daily visit to the springs will result in a noticeable change. There is definitely change to my swimming shorts – I can’t get rid of the smell of sulphur from them.

We stopped at various points along the way. Once at Delvin’s mother’s house so that he could wish her happy Mother’s Day. And after a few more sight-seeing stops, we ended our tour back at Rodney Bay Marina late afternoon.

Out and About

Just a short dinghy ride from the marina, across the lagoon, is a small dinghy dock, guarded by Lawrence who sits on his chair outside the tapas restaurant watching all who come and go. From here it’s easy to access to the shopping malls, more restaurants and bars, and the Massey Gourmet store supermarket. The latter is where we stocked up on reasonably-priced groceries in air-conditioned comfort. And in the mall, we bought some new flip-flops to replace the stolen ones, and a cheap phone as a temporary replacement my iPhone. And we were able to find a bar – Maccabees – showing the six-nations rugby. Although as England rugby fans mixing it with an overwhelmingly Irish crowd, it wasn’t the best experience. And Reduit beach isn’t too far away from here, so we took a stroll over there and had lunch at Spinnaker’s restaurant overlooking the sea.

After two weeks of waiting, the watermaker parts arrived and we could finally leave Rodney Bay. So on Wednesday 14th March, we cleared customs (relaxed and friendly and free) and headed off to Martinique the next day.