We arrived in Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia around 10:30 on Friday morning. The channel into Marigot is narrow, but the left (north) has space for anchoring and the right (south) has mooring balls. The lagoon itself is well protected and although our book says there is room to anchor, it’s really filled with moorings. The anchorage was shallow (we read as little as 4.5 feet!).
We relaxed for a bit on board Starry Horizons, had lunch, and then headed ashore to do a hike up to the lookout. We docked the dinghy at the Oasis dock (first on the left after the beach) and there were some guys who advised us where to tie up. When we told them we were doing the lookout hike they told us we should take a guide, we’ll “never” find it ourselves and of course, you can pay them to take you!
Thankfully I was dubious and they didn’t push it. We did have to ask the resort staff twice for directions to the entrance of the hike (for free) but once we found the start in the back of the resort (labeled Billy Goat Trail) it was very easy to follow. After about 20 minutes of hiking we reached a “breather station” and a few minutes after that we came to a fork in the trail. To the left was the Lookout and to the right was the Meditation Deck and Mango Beach Club. We headed left and after about 10 minutes found ourselves at the top of the hill over looking the lagoon. The view over Marigot was gorgeous, but the view over the sea was obscured by vegetation. It was very worth the hike! We went back to the fork and took the right tine to the meditation deck. It was an additional 10 minutes, but the path was much steeper, including Jo Jo’s steps. The view was about the same, so not worth the extra effort, unless you are doing it for a) the extra effort, like us, or b) to actually meditate.
We headed back down to Oasis and quenched our thirst at the Dolittle bar, aptly named because Marigot Bay was the setting for some of the scenes of the 1967 movie Dr Dolittle. David had felt that the winds at the top of the hike were too high to fly his new drone for the first time, so he went to launch it off the dock while Madeline and I played some pool.
We capped the day off with an afternoon of swimming for Madeline and I. Saturday morning Madeline and I went snorkeling around the north shore of the Marigot channel. For lunch we went ashore to Chateau Maygo, where Madeline and I left David to the internet and we walked around the shopping areas. Marigot is tiny and cute, with a very calm lagoon. The only downside is the party boats that come through. I think most of the time they don’t even stop, they just come into the lagoon, do a loop around the moorings, and head back out. That night Madeline and I swam again and read on the bow. Marigot Bay is beautiful, and my favorite place in St Lucia.
Sunday we picked up and headed to Soufrière. The winds were so light on the way down we just motored for most of it. In Soufrière, we were approached by a boat guy to “help” with our mooring. Soufrière is part of the Soufrière Marine Management Association (SMMA), and no anchoring is allowed. But the moorings are available for $20 a night. We are definitely not in Portsmouth anymore. Here there are “boat guys”. They meet you about a mile out and ask if you are looking for a mooring. They will then “help” you with your mooring – expecting a tip. I have a few reservations about this. Both times the guy was in the way more than helping – and let’s face it, we know how to pick up a mooring. We ended up just asking him to drop the mooring so we could pick it up ourselves. Another argument for the boat guys is that it might make your boat more secure while you are gone. I consider this like paying off the mob. The winning argument was that it’s only a few dollars to us. They ask you if you want any tours or taxis, and then you never see them again.
Anyway, our mooring was on the far north side near the bat cave. It was rolly, but we were right next to the snorkeling area and only a short dinghy ride to town, with a beautiful view of the Pitons. Madeline and I decided snorkeling was the top of the list, so we were off to snorkel from Starry Horizons and along the coast to the west of us.
Monday we popped into the dinghy and stopped quickly to check out the bat caves. The “cave” is really just a tall, deep vertical crack in the cliffs. But we were pretty amazing by the prolific activity inside the crack. We could hear the chirping of the bats and see them flitting about the cave.
Ashore, we took off to walk through town and head towards the Diamond Botanical Gardens, which includes waterfalls and a mineral spring. The gardens were nice, although nothing compared to the Deshaies Gardens; the falls were beautiful, but didn’t compare to the Emerald Pools of Dominica; and the mineral pools were nice but not what I was expecting (I had in mind a natural pool, not tiled). MAN are we spoiled!!
Tipping or asking for tips in St Lucia is very prominent in the culture, not at restaurants but pretty much any tourist activity is a little tainted with the tipping practices. While walking through the gardens, we started chatting with one of the gardeners, who eagerly showed us the herb and vegetable garden, while pointing all the names of the plants and tress out to us. Of course, at the end he held out his hand and said that they all work hard and if we can give him anything it would be appreciated (we did).
Afterwards we went to the restaurant next door, which specialized in local cuisine, and was actually quite good, cheap ($10 USD per person, including drinks) and quick (buffet!). When we got back to the boat though, we noticed that the latch on our starboard side engine room was up. Now, we couldn’t find anything amiss – nothing was obviously stolen or broken and everything looked fine in our engine room, but since we board our dinghy from that side, it would have been pretty obvious to us if we had left the latch up ourselves. So we aren’t really sure, but it is possible someone was on our boat. Fortunately we always lock up and move everything inside, but since we knew the more southern parts of St Lucia have a reputation, we were extra careful.
Tuesday morning we moved over to a mooring between the Pitons, also known as Anse a la Pitons, or Sugar Beach. Our boat guy helped us arrange a taxi to the Tete Paul hike. The taxi drive was about 20 minutes from downtown Soufriere. The hike was pretty good – our guide, Denver, told us about the local community of farmers who are pretty self sufficient. Parts of the short, 30 minute walk overlooked the farm land and fields, as well as gave us a stunning view of the Anse a la Pitons, Sugar Beach and the two Pitons, Gros and Petit.
In the afternoon Madeline and I took the dinghy to Sugar Beach’s dock, tied up, and hopped overboard to snorkel the reef. The coral was quite good, and there were many large snapper and parrot fish. After swimming Madeline and I sat on the dock to dry off and then walked through the Sugar Beach Resort (a Viceroy Property). The grounds were really stunning, and even though we obviously weren’t guests, all the staff we encountered were incredibly nice. They helped us arrange a taxi for Madeline the next day. If David and I hadn’t just had a date night, Sugar Beach would have been a wonderful place for a romantic dinner.
Wednesday sadly came and we had to say goodbye to Madeline. As her flight wasn’t until 3:30, we got a fit in some lazy swimming in the morning with our pool noodles. After dropping Madeline off, David and I left for Rodney Bay – that’s right, we back tracked. Our primary reason? Let it Be was in Rodney Bay, and we were anxious to see Frank and Mary Grace one last time before we left this side of the world. We also got to meet their son Hunter. We met at LIB at 6 pm for pre-dinner drinks, and then, like the Texans we are, we went to Big Chef for steaks! After dinner we went back to LIB to hang out and chat – keeping us up and going until 11!
This morning LIB left to head south at 7 am, so David and I were ready. We got the drone and our camera out, and got to take some great pictures of our friends and give them one last wave before they are off.
While we are both going south, they are spending the next few weeks in St Vincent and the Grenadines, while e are passing over SVG and headed to Grenada. Hopefully someday Frank and Mary Grace will come visit us on SH – a nice pacific sailing vacation without having to bring LIB over.
David and I are working on projects and errands, and then we will refuel here in Rodney Bay and head out for an overnight sail to Carricou, Grenada.