From the Tobago Cays we took a short hop up to Bequia, just 36 miles, and on the way we saw an in credible sun halo, an aurora none of had ever witnessed before. What an amazing sight!
After a very short stay in Bequia, we prepared to make the 70 mile sail past St. Vincent and on to St. Lucia. We knew this move would position us to greet our guests sooner than we needed, but my long range forecasting showed an extended period of heavier winds trending out of the northeast, just the kind of sailing we do not want to endure, 30 to 35 knots on the nose with nasty waves to boot. As it was, the passage between St. Vincent and St. Lucia was nasty, NE wind at 25, confused waves from several directions, no fun. Patti wanted to quit early and take a mooring at the Pitons on the SW corner of the island, but I told her Joy and I were continuing on another hour to anchor at Marigot, one of the jewels of the Caribbean. Native Dancer followed in the calm lee of St. Lucia.
When we pulled into the outer harbor, one of the boat boys, Michael, approached, and I told him I wanted a mooring in the inner harbor. He said he didn’t have one left inside, but he could put us on a cousin’s mooring at a reduced rate. What a deal. Once inside, Joy panicked. No way, she said; it’s tooo tight and I don’t want to stay here. Relax I said; it will be a new European sort of experience. Apparently Patti’s words to Gary were even more expressive of her feelings. But once secured, the girls loved it; flat calm water, showers, and wi-fi included with the mooring fee; lots of places to shop and eat. What more could you ask?
After just a couple days, we motored the three hours to Rodney Bay, arriving there on February 19th, two weeks ahead of our first guests. We spent five days at anchor, but while there, we heard of a great deal being offered by the marina. The longer we stayed, the greater discount we could obtain on the rates, so I booked a total of three weeks to obtain a 40% discount on our slip rate. We moved into the marina on Feb. 24th which gave us a full week to do laundry, wash and wax the exterior, polish the interior, make the aft cabin ready, and tidy up our own appearances with hair cuts and long showers. Our first guest, one of our great friends and a talented, dependable veteran of many open ocean miles sailing on board Ocean Angel, Jane Fultz, arrived on March 4th.
We had dinner our first night at the Bread Basket restaurant and had to catch up and discuss plans for the next ten days. I told the girls that the weather was not cooperating and we would not be making any passages. Jane said that was fine with her, and she’d be happy to sit at anchor and drink Pina Coladas with Joy! So they soon had their first.
Patti and Gary’s guest arrived the same day, on the same flight as Jane, so the two of them had met each other at the Miami airport where they had changed planes to make the connecting flight to St. Lucia. They got to know each other on the flight down and found they had quite a bit in common. As it worked out, the six of us got along fantastically. We all agreed that a sail down the lee side of the island back to Marigot would be a splendid idea. Joy and Patti insisted on taking a mooring in the inner harbor. Imagine that!
We asked for Michael as we entered the harbor, and not long after being secured to a marina mooring, Michael came alongside to display his wares. He is an amazing, soft-spoken man with a kind heart and gentle manner to match. We had him arrange our tours of the island and lots of other little details.