July 10, 2015 , Admiralty Bay, Bequia
The famous Pitons are two volcanic plugs rising proudly from the Southern Tip of Saint Lucia. Named Gros Piton and Petit Piton, both are in the approximate vicinity of 2500 feet tall. And did you know that the local Saint Lucian Beer is appropriately called "Piton"?
After a few days in the very lovely and calm Marigot Bay, it was time to think about leaving.
As with all passage-making days, we somehow always seem to wake up on the early side. A little nervous. A little eager. A little anxious but mostly a lot excited.
We raised our main in the windless sheltered bay and quickly dropped our mooring ball lines. The time on the clock was exactly 05:50.
"Ten minutes ahead of schedule" I told the Capt'n as I noted the timings for my log-book.
"Hmm..." he shook his head with a bit of a grimace, not quite sure which was worse, leaving ten minutes ahead of schedule, or ten minutes after stated Time of Departure.
The weather had finally calmed down enough for us to plan a beautiful sail in calm seas after weeks of unsettled and gusty winds due to the Tropical Waves.
Off in the distance you can't help but notice the two magnificent and mountainous Pitons emerging from the land and almost reaching up to touch the sky.
Looking up, we noticed the skies were a little overcast and grey, with definite rain activity behind us.
"Might even be some rain in our future" I commented.
as well as ahead of us.
At this point we're still about one to two hours away from the Pitons, yet look how majestically gigantesque they are.
Would you believe that Gros Piton, the higher of the two Pitons, is actually (reportedly) easier to climb than the little one?? The hikes, we have heard, can be challenging and anywhere between 3 to 6 hours one way.
We happily sailed along in the lee of the island, the current giving us an extra burst of speed as it pushed us along, the engine on idle revs to help with the water-making process.
The morning sun fought it's way out of the clouds, shining its triumph as its rays pierced through the greyness,
resulting in some amazing photo-ops of the majestic and lush peaks and valleys,
that make up the beautiful island of Saint Lucia.
We've never anchored between the Pitons, and today wasn't going to be that day either, yet somehow sailing by them one can't help but feel so small,
and rather insignificant. Look how small the sailboat sailing by is, just for a perspective.
Once past the tidal forces at the southern tip of Saint Lucia, we settled into a beautiful sailing rhythm, and speeded towards St Vincent.
She's a pretty island,
and about 6 hours later, once again in the lee of the island,
the winds allowed us to slow down a bit. Which had the Capt'N asking me,
"What's for Lunch?"
"You're having Leftover Spaghetti and meatballs" I replied with a smile, and before I was quite finished he replied in all honesty,
"Yum, my favourite!"
And I'm having egg salad lettuce-wiches (replacing the bread with lettuce leaves). My favourite too.
It wasn't long before we were leaving St Vincent behind, and back in the full force of the winds as the Bequia Blast blasted us into Admiralty Bay, Bequia
where we dropped the hook not even 9.5 hours later, and having covered 67.66 nm.
It was a FUN, FAST, and FURIOUS type of race. Just the way the Capt'N likes it. And you know what? I liked it too.
July 9, 2015 , Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
Stairway to Heaven... (or Highway to Hell??)
There's a hike in the very lovely and idyllic Marigot Bay (Saint Lucia) that we dubbed Stairway to Heaven because of the sign we found partway up the trail.
It's perhaps better known as the Marigot Ridge Hike or the Mango Beach Inn Ridge Hike. The word ridge might give you a bit of a heads-up that we were climbing quite possibly somewhere UP HIGH, and there might be a view?
We docked our dinghy by the Rainforest Hideaway Cafe Dinghy Dock. Armed with water, wearing sneakers (a must), and our backpacks included, among other things, sailing gloves, we felt we were armed and ready to go.
We peeked through the partially open and mostly decayed wood plank door, ignoring the sign that said "CAREFUL : Bull Mastiff" and when no vicious barking ensued, we bravely went forth.
Walking through the property of the Mango Hotel we found ourselves on a pretty little trail. Shortly thereafter we were by the second fence with a partially open door.
This time we were met with a descriptive and mostly washed out panel laying on the ground providing a bit of info,
and would you believe even a set of phone numbers to call in case of emergency. Now that I'm sitting here in the comfort of my home, re-reading the photo so I can write this blog, a set of phone numbers to call in case of emergency would have been a good idea to program into our phone, before we left, hmm??
Safety conscious we are though.
Since there was still no sign of any vicious dogs on the premises, we went through the door. A sign of no return, right?
Before long we were stepping on pebbles and climbing over dusty roots, all hidden under the large canopy of rubbery brown leaves, all the while gently going uphill,
and it wasn't long before our hearts were thumping at the exertion, our bodies drenched in sweat, and every photo you are looking at became at that moment, the perfect excuse to stop, wipe our brows, get our breathing under control... also known as
"Hold on, I'm just taking a picture."
"No problem" everyone else chimed in, in huffing-puffing voices "take more. Take ten!!"
There's these leaves down these islands that are larger than
life. They're actually known as "Coccoloba Pubescens" or, in English the Grandleaf Seagrape,
or perhaps even, Eve's Umbrella.
Gee, had we known that the leaf was named with Eve in mind, we sure could have taken a whole different type of photo-op for you !!
With time and season these large leaves turn brown and leathery and fall down, laying on the ground helter skelter, one top of another, like one large shades of brown leathery duvet cover, and one would think it was Fall if we were but Back Home in October.
There was this moment we all stopped to put on our gloves,
as the uphill was so steep we were now obviously in need of a long rope, tied around the tree trunks, that would help us propel our sweaty, thigh-burning, calf-screaming, tired butts up and up and continuously up, by now using the one muscles that weren't hurting, our biceps.
Guess what else was now going to hurt??
I really don't know why we look as if we're smiling and having fun.
Could it have been another rest moment that had allowed all of us to have been stopped long enough to catch our breath, and then, even, for a brief moment, smile as I yelled "Photo-Op"!!
It truly wasn't a very long hike, perhaps 40 minutes or so?
We reached the top,
and oh, what splendid views.
A bit of a zoom-shot and you can see the resort where we spent a lovely afternoon the day before,
swimming in the pool, enjoying drinks, feeling pampered if but for a day, as the Marina Mooring ball rates allow us free us of (some) of the Resort Facilities.
Didn't we wish with our whole tired and sweaty beings that we were there right now? Enjoying the refreshing pool and a Rum Punch?
We followed the path and reached another viewpoint,
and followed more signs,
and what came up, must obviously go down right? Down, and down, and down we go...
and all the while the vegetation changing with lots of air plants above us,
and spiny cactii to walk through,
"ouch, ouch, OUCH!" as the tiny needles scraped our shins sometimes even drawing blood as the spikey needles poked through our sweaty skin.
Reaching a bit of what might have once been a sitting bench about halfway down,
and before we long we reached the Oasis resort, with it's funicular just waiting to be used.
"Climb on" said Izzy adventurously.
"Uh, I don't think so" I quickly replied as I warily eyed the rickety-looking contraption knowing that anything that moves without my control, like a rollercoaster about ready to hit that downward apex, quickly crescending my fear of heights to larger than life proportions, and trying to find an excuse as to why it wouldn't work and why I wouldn't get in! So many reasons why, why, why.
However, I'm also a "gotta do it, you only live once" type of gal, so I climbed in and oh, it didn't fall, in fact it didn't move. Izzy was quick to seize the moment as well as she climbed in behind me.
Well, wouldn't you know it, at the push of only two buttons while I wasn't looking (I was probably taking a photo, right?) and the whole contraption gave an earth shattering groan and creak, which made me shriek, and we began to move, albeit rather slowly, on the downward slide.
We stopped halfway to pick up Nancy,
however, the boys opted to walk down the stairs.
We reached the bottom safe and sound, and, as with all fear-laden events, once completed empowered my newfound confidence, and I promptly laughed at my silliness.
We reached Doolittles,
where the beer is expensive, but oh so cold and refreshing after that trail of a hike.
And of the Trivia type of information, it is reputed that Eddie Murphy (the modern-age Dr Doolittle) actually visited here on his yacht.
The beach is picturesquely breathtaking in its perfectly sculpted beauty,
and we decided to come back that night for Happy Hour
and their advertised Buffet BBQ.
We enjoyed some chit-chat, the Boys played Pool,
we ate and watched the sunset,
and agreed that we're in a slice of paradise that's truly almost like Heaven, and you know what?
Can't quite appreciate Heaven (with great friends over cold beer & delicious food), unless you've climbed and hoisted your sweaty ass up one HELLuva (up)Hill, right?