Adventures of s/v WILD HAIR


Our land life took on form, solidity, routine. We had mastery of a limited set of skills. We had habitual expectations of others and ourselves. Going sailing, we let go of our attachments to our roles, views, and rituals. We persist because we are growing in this shapeless and dynamic world.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cruising St Lucia

We had a whirlwind tour of St Lucia today.

Last night we anchored off a beach called Anse Cochon with hundreds of swimming tourists, a day cruise destination for the local Sandal's Resort (and others). Dave jumped in to check the set of our anchor and was surrounded by a flock of 4"stinging jelly fish. This was a first for us. He climbed out quickly and unscathed. Surrounded by vendors in various floating contraptions, we purchased a conch shell (from a man in a kayak) that had the tip cut off to make it a ready-made "trumpet." Now, we can blow our horn at sundown to celebrate the end of the day, a long-standing island tradition in which we had not participated because--sadly--we had no instrument. By the end of the day, all the day cruisers and local vendors left and we had a quiet anchorage almost to ourselves.

Knowing this was a terrific place to snorkel, and watching all the swimmers swim without incident, I felt like a weeny for being afraid of jelly fish. So this morning, with the tourists coming back in force, Dave and I hopped in.

There were no big jelly fish around. Phew. But, after a few minutes I realized I was surrounded by thousands upon thousands of baby jellies about 1/4 inch in diameter. It was like swimming through a jello mold peppered with nasty nuts. They were that thick. They felt like needles. It was very uncomfortable with some stings being significantly worse than others. Then, the cups in my bikini top started acting like a net. Oh my. Unmentionables were suddenly on fire! This was not funny.

I had to get out as soon as I could. Making my way back to our boat, a fellow on a day cruiser asked if the jelly fish were bad where I was too. YES! It seems they were bad everywhere in this bay. This begs the question: Why would all of the day tours bring visitors to a jelly fish incubator? Judging from my pain, I thought I would find an entire jellyfish dinner in my swimsuit top. But no, no jelly fish were harmed during this event.

As has been the case for the past week, we continue to suffer from no wind. So, today we motored down St Lucia’s shore to Soufriere, a very pretty town at the base of the Pitons (three oddly shaped mountain peaks rising dramatically 2800 feet out of the sea). Again, we were flooded by boat vendors that wanted to do odd jobs for us and sell us things. After driving in circles and looking at the amazing scenery, we moved south along the shore again.

Thinking we would spend the night, we anchored off a tiny fishing village called Laborie. It was a place known for charm and no tourists. Indeed, we were the only cruising boat there. We dinghied to shore and enjoyed a walk about town, stopping at the local bakery to buy bread. Farther down the street we noticed a sign for creole bread and a man coming up the side walk of the house. He encouraged us to go into the back yard and ask for bread. There we found a garage-type building with a very large concrete wood burning oven, and a wife selling lovely rolls baked by her husband. They made the bread early in the morning but the oven was still very hot! She charged us .25 EC each, or about 10 US cents per roll. They were supper delicious at our evening supper!

Motoring back to our boat about 3 pm we decided to leave Laborie altogether. The route into the harbor was tricky as it twisted awkwardly around coral reefs. Plus, the route was littered with floats and lines attached to submerged fish pots. Tomorrow morning we intend to depart early to sail to Bequia, the northern-most island in the Grenadines. The thought of trying to navigate the exit from the harbor in the dark gave us the willies. So, we hoisted anchor and drove out of there, following our "bread crumbs" on our electronic navigation charts. SCRRRAAAAAPE--we hit the coral reef. Knowing that coral is alive and that it takes years to grow we found the sound sickening. But, WILD HAIR did not get stuck aground nor did we wrap a fish pot line around our prop. We were safely on our way again.

Our day's final destination was Vieux Fort--the southern-most town on St Lucia. The guide book describes this location as a community without a single tourism bone. It is quite industrial and we are anchored under the flood lights of the shipping dock. But, it is quiet, safe, and we're secure.

At sundown, we took great delight in tooting our conch horn for no one other than ourselves. Plus, I'm pretty sure I finally saw the famous "green flash," a phenomenon of the atmosphere that happens when conditions are just so as the sun dips below the horizon.

I'm exhausted. I'm going to bed since we're getting up at 05:00 to head to Bequia for more adventures.

1 comment:

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