It is so awesome to hear and read English again! I can actually read the labels on the products in the store and I know what I am getting without the use of a translator! Not like Martinique where I bought body wash instead of hair conditioner because I forgot to take the translator with me. I really enjoyed Martinique but it is nice to hear and speak English to shop clerks and authorities again.
Martinique and St Lucia are roughly a five hour sail or around 30 miles. It was a great trip down. The weather was perfect. The winds were perfect. It was one of our fastest sailing trips in a long time. We made the trip in four hours instead of five. It felt good to be on the move again. Cream Puff and crew were in heaven. A great day!
After being in a marina in Martinique for awhile we looked forward to being at anchor while in St. Lucia. Customs and Immigration is always our first stop when arriving and last stop before leaving each country. In some countries, like St. Lucia, we can clear both in and out if our stay is for a short period of time. We lowered the dinghy into the water for the trip to Customs and Immigration.We also lowered our 8 horsepower, 2 stroke Yamaha outboard motor onto the dinghy for the last time. Was there a tear shed? Not from these sailors. More on that later.
The customs official asked me the purpose for our trip to St Lucia. I replied our trip was for pleasure. When he pressed as to a more detailed reason I said we were in St Lucia to spend money at their shops. With a huge laugh he welcomed me and my wallet to St Lucia.
There are things that we can buy in St Lucia that are not available in Martinique and vice versa. One of the important items is propane. The French Islands do not sell propane so we planned to fill our tanks in St. Lucia. Mark wrote, the two things he cannot prefers not to live without are fresh orange juice and flour tortillas. Crossword puzzles are a close third. I am pretty sure I am in the top ten somewhere as well.
There is a narrow dinghy dock near the grocery store/mall area of town. This is where we met Jason. Jason was not at the dinghy dock when we were in St. Lucia in November so he was a surprise to us. He explained his self appointed duty is to watch the dinghies for a small fee. He also asked if we would use his grocery store points card for our grocery purchase so he could collect the points. We had no problem with any of the requests so off we went to buy tortillas, orange juice and a few other much needed items. Fingers crossed they have all in stock. When we returned our dinghy was safe with Jason stretched out asleep inside.
It is a sad fact that theft has continued to rise for the past several years throughout the Caribbean. We have been in a few ports where it was prudent to pay a person to watch over our dinghy. Jason asked us to lock our dinghy to the dock even though he was going to stand guard. During this visit to St Lucia a dinghy was stolen from a busy dinghy dock in the marina. Making this the third dinghy in two weeks to be stolen from this area. The padlocked cable was cut from the dock around ten o’clock in the morning with plenty of people milling about the marina.
Our Yamaha outboard is about 10 years old. We bought it used about 5 years ago. It has been a good engine but is showing signs of its age. Recently, Mark took an entire day to service the outboard and rebuild the carburetor. I joke that we do not want to ride any further than we can paddle back. That is a bit of a stretch but the outboard is getting older and unreliable. Since we depend on it heavily we decided it is time to buy a new outboard. One of the other reasons for buying a new outboard is to gain a bit extra horsepower as well.
If I could indulge in a side note. As a kid I was very curious and asked a lot of questions. Sitting in the back of the family ski boat one day I was looking at the giant HP painted on the outboard. I asked my Dad what it meant. He said it stood for horsepower and explained what horsepower meant. My next question was, “Do they use big horses or little horses because that would make a difference?” At this point I was told, once again, that I ask too many questions. Still do.
With our Yamaha, our dinghy did not plane because it was under powered. We could use a few extra horses. If you remember from one of my past dinghy post, planing is a big deal to male boaters. I am pretty sure it is written in the unofficial cruiser’s handbook that a dinghy must plane and be a blur as it glides past other dinghies or past an anchorage. We gals just want to arrive somewhat dry and in one piece. A smooth ride is nice too. You will be happy to know our new Nissan 15HP, 2 stroke outboard has plenty of power to do all of the above. Probably a few more horses than we need but what the heck.
We were a little concerned about getting the old Yamaha back to Cream Puff. It could puncture the rubber dinghy and it would take up most of the space inside. We hoped to sell it along the way but really did not want to stow it until we did. Once the new outboard was installed Mark and the salesperson left to go buy fuel. While I waited on the dock I had four offers to buy our old outboard motor. Problem solved. I guess used outboards are a hot item in St. Lucia. I threw in some spare parts and explained the age and issues of the old outboard to the soon to be owner. I made a deal and sold the outboard while Mark was away. I think I just moved up a few rungs on the Top 10 List. You know what they say, if everyone walks away happy it is a good deal. Everyone is happy and we did not have to deal with getting it back to the boat or storing it. So far this has been a great trip to St Lucia.
In our first year of cruising, we often met up with our friend Richard at different stops along the way. Richard has sailed single-handed all over the world. Sailing long stretches for days or weeks were normal for him. Richard would often say a destination was “Only a few days away” as if he was popping out for a gallon of milk at the local grocery. At first we were a bit taken back but as time went on we grew to understand what he meant. As we prepared to leave Martinique a guest on the boat next to us struck up a conversation. We told her we were leaving to go to St Lucia for a couple of days. She was amazed that we would sail five hours to a different country just to go shopping. It made us think of Richard and how much our lives have changed.
With all the errands completed we had time to visit Mark’s favorite Italian restaurant on the waterfront. On the way back to Cream Puff the captain finally had the opportunity to give the new outboard a test drive. We flew back to the boat in half the time it took to arrive at shore. This is going to be great!
We spent less than 48 hours in St Lucia. It was probably the shortest time we have ever spent visiting a country. It was also the longest shopping trip we have ever taken but a really fun and successful one for sure.