Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rodney Bay St. Lucia - Florida’s Eccentric Cousin

With scattered squalls, winds 10-15 knots a sea forecast of 4-5 ft. we made a mad dash from St. Anne, Martinique to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. It was a decent sail and for the most part we were able to avoid the rain…

We could see dark sheets of it in the distance that would slide silently across our bow… 

Then another would build and we would jus KNOW this one would get us… only to watch it trail off behind us

Sliding in front

Sliding behind...
The one that got us waited until we were dealing with the approach to the north end of the island. Wouldn’t you know it? The precise moment that the boat was surfing the rollers in mad fashion on her last stretch toward the safety and comfort of the island lee… the rain broke loose!

We had building waves up our a$$ and the boat rolled wildly… then the wind hit us with about 30 knots as Bruce quickly rolled down our enclosure panels. 

I pointed the boat down the waves to get some control and a better feel… hold on Jezabelle! We’re almost there!

And then… just like that.. it was all over. The rain passed, the seas settled down and the sun was shining again. The only evidence of what just passed was the dripping bimini top and my shaking knees! 

A quick look at our future in radar and the decision was made. We would NOT be anchoring outside the marina basin as planned… We would proceed in through the narrow entrance channel to the Lagoon and snatch ourselves up a mooring in Rodney Bay Marina! There we would be safe and calm for the coming weather events… both today…. and the more ominous storms looming on our horizon. 

We looked around us and just couldn’t believe it. This place looks like we could be somewhere in Florida! It’s true, we never know exactly what to expect when we go from one island to another… but it wasn’t THIS! 

We dinghied ashore on blessedly FLAT water… This marina is huge and what a hurricane hole! The basin is completely surrounded with the only access to the bay outside being that narrow channel. 

This could pass in Florida!
The marina complex has a Customs and Immigration office, boater’s facilities with air conditioned shower/toilets and there are bar/restaurants, a bank, a grocery, Island Water World, a sail maker and an electronics store… even a car rental company, all here on the property. We’ve landed in a Cruiser’s Paradise!!!!

We paid for two weeks… That would put us past my Mom’s visit and hoping that would be sufficient time for us to have the new generator shipped. We obtained the shipping address and the marina manager would email me information for a broker who could do the import paperwork for us. Perfect! They were all so nice and we felt welcomed with open arms!

Back on the boat, we settled for the evening and watched the rain continue to pass us by. Only the minimal sprinkle or two made it into our basin and the sun bathed our surroundings in golden light.

We doused our quarantine flag, raised our St. Lucian Courtesy Flag and switched out our money. We’ve got bags of it… from each of the different countries we’ve visited… Bahamas, Dominican Republic, France and yes… EC’s, which are used in the rest of the countries south of us until Trinidad. 

The setting sun turned the rain sheets PINK!

We are still a little bit incredulous that this place looks just like a Florida Canal neighbourhood. The homes and condos are well kept and we are moored in a basin with concrete bulkheads… staring into the back yards of the homeowners… just like Florida! Just like Padre Island! The water inside the basin is even the color of our home waters… (not a good thing). 

My mom would arrive in one week. We had ONE WEEK to get our generator ordered and do some maintenance projects in preparation for her visit. Finally we made contact with the salesman (thanks John-Michael) and did the last bit of research about the Next Generation Generator. It would fit, it would be the perfect size… and with Caribbean Shippers coordinating with our agent here in St. Lucia… Shipping from Ft. Lauderdale to here would add less than $500 to the cost of the purchase. The thing weights over 230 lbs!!! I was amazed at the easy shipping process here! And if things worked out, we would have it here no later than the 26th and can pop it in and be on our way south again! (delusional)

Now THIS is more like it!
Settling into life here where everything we need is at our fingertips… we did the mundane things… Laundry, grocery shopping…swimming. Wait, what? Yes, we even have a pool! And there’s hardly ever anyone in it!

Jambo made us the hats and animals... and gave us some history on the island.  Nice guy!
Bruce sport'n the bird...
Imagine our surprise when we heard familiar voices while soaking in the cool waters of our (almost) private pool… Janet Lee and Michael, from Adventure US 2 wandered up! They had just arrived in St. Lucia and were looking for the Customs office. Bruce showed them around and we had a nice happy hour. We told them of our recent generator order and Michael once again extended his offer of help to install it. Things just work out sometimes and we told him that if they were still here when it arrived, we would happily accept his help! 

Convenient dinghy dock near grocery shopping and restaurants
Coconut water is everywhere here!  Where are they getting all of these coconuts???

Weekly market with luscious fresh tomatoes and many other things.

Life is looking good here in Rodney Bay. While we leave our home country in search of adventure and a different life… sometimes a little bit of familiarity is a welcome change. Here, we don’t even have to close our eyes to imagine ourselves back in Florida for a little while…but with a little bit of added eccentricity!

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