It’s been about a week since I last posted, but what can I say- I’m working on Caribbean time!
Life has definitely taken a turn for the… slow. We’ve been in Saint Lucia for over a week, and we’ve not even left the Rodney Bay area yet! We’d feel bad about that, but our friends from Belafonte only yesterday inflated their dinghy- they haven’t even made it to Rodney Bay village yet, which is a 2 minute dinghy ride away.
So last Sunday was a bit of a blur. After the initial boat-side hysteria, we got ourselves sorted and spent the rest of the day in the bar. I’m not kidding. I’d already had a champagne and rum punch by 10am, so I was happy sticking to one beer, and then iced coffee, but Neil, John and Nick are obviously made of hardier stuff and they celebrated in a predictable fashion. We logged onto the internet for the first time in 3 weeks, realised that we’d missed absolutely nothing of importance, and by 6pm we were ready for bed. We forced ourselves to stay up a bit longer, but by 8pm I was curled up in a bed that wasn’t rocking at all- not even a little bit!- and we enjoyed our first night of unbroken sleep in 3 weeks.
Boy, it was good.
The rest of the week passed in a blur of social activities. Every night- and most days- we had something to do or someone to see. For the first few days our body clocks were still a little messed up- we were craving our bed by sunset and waking up with our watch system, which effectively meant being wide awake at 4am and enjoying the sunrise from our cockpit.
There’s Only So Much Partying I Can Do
Thursday night was the ARC 80s party night (complete with a reggae band…?) and although Nick, Tim and Madga got dressed up and went to the party, I went on strike. I was knackered and hadn’t had a quiet night since we’d arrived. So, after four consecutive nights of drinking, eating out and socialising (all of which was great fun, by the way!), I stayed in, made myself spaghetti carbonara, watched Stardust and polished off half a bar of chocolate. It was amazing. Although, perhaps not quite as amazing as Nick and Tim in 80s drag…
John flew to Florida on the Thursday to see his sister, and on the Friday we took in a couple of Aussie strays, Bel and Stephen who crewed for another ARC boat and were now, after much wooing, crewing on Belafonte for the World ARC! They were a lot of fun, and listening to the four of them talk excitedly about doing the World ARC in January, Nick and I came pretty close to throwing caution (and sense) into the wind, and signing up ourselves! Okay, we’d had a few rum punches by this stage… and in the cold light of day, we realised that cruising the Caribbean for 6 months was probably just as good a plan as anything else! Next year, maybe…
We also got our paddle board out and inflated, and have been gradually teaching Sandra to use it. The first lesson was in the marina (ostensibly because it would be easier for Sandra to hold onto the side of her boat while learning to stand up on the board, but I have it on good authority that Nick was feeling a little fragile that morning after getting stuck into the rum punches the night before, and couldn’t quite face the trip to the beach in the dinghy), and, as predicted, it featured Sandra spending more time falling off the board than standing on it. Her shrieks could be heard from all four corners of the marina- and probably much further afield- and before long she had an audience who had rushed over to see what all the fuss was about. Truly excellent entertainment.
However, she’s improved greatly over the past week, and we had a memorable afternoon having a late lunch at Spinnakers on the beach, then a group swim and paddle boarding session with another couple who we bumped in to, Chris and Helen who also did the ARC and were on our pontoon in Las Palmas. They were at anchor in the bay, and we hadn’t had an opportunity to catch up since arriving in Saint Lucia, so it was awesome to spend some time playing in the water with them.
Friday Night Jump Up
Friday night we went to the Jump Up street party- a weekly event in Gros Islet, the nearest town, which involves a lot of loud music, street food and home-made rum being sold by the cup-ful. We went with Bel, Stephen, Tim and Magda, but bumped into many familiar faces. It was a great night and we’ll definitely be going again.
Saturday night was the prize giving ceremony and official closing of the ARC 2015. We didn’t win anything of course, so we were basically just there to cheer everyone else, listen to the somewhat tedious speeches, and enjoy the free booze and nibbles. The next morning we woke up feeling a little wooly headed to the sight of a mass exodus from the marina. Suddenly the ARC is over and boats are leaving in droves, off to explore other parts of the island or moving south to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
So, first impressions of the Caribbean and Saint Lucia in particular are extremely positive. There’s plenty to do, mostly watersports which suits us just fine! We’re finally learning to kite surf after Nick’s impulse purchase of some equipment in Lanzarote, and we’re hoping to get some diving and snorkelling done as soon as our wallets recover from all this eating out and the kite surfing lessons!