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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
Auntie NJ and her pal Luna
05/12/2012, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia

We are back in Rodney Bay, appreciating the sunshine and dry conditions. Finally! Nancy Jo is going to stay an extra few days which gives us a little more time for seeing all the sights that were invisible in the clouds last week. We re-connected with our buddy Brad and hope he'll join us when we return to Soufriere for a tour of the volcano and sulfur springs. And of course, Ladera, which is one of the best views in the world, according to Oprah and a few other people we know and trust. Like Brad, our friend T and Tyson and Judith. We keep hearing about the place so we look forward to seeing it up close and personal.

We have also enjoyed running into other friends here in the bay, s/v Sapphire, s/v Just Imagine, and s/v Tiger Lily. It's always fun seeing familiar faces in the different anchorages.

05/15/2012 | Tyson
I would not trust me further than i could throw myself!!! Just kidding, i m my favorite person, just ask Judith. In the airport, leaving for Paris and the boat. send Luna home with Nancy Jo and join us on the canals! Miss your laughter, thoughts, and . . . . . Let's skylark together! Ty and Judith
Gros Piton
05/12/2012, Soufriere, Saint Lucia

In addition to the rain effecting all our moods, the boat boy, Captain Bob, who met us as we approached our mooring ball just outside of Soufriere turned out to be a pain in the rear who we found it hard to cut off. He was at first pleasant and helpful but over time things soured for me in particular. First he told us Luna wasn't allowed on shore and said the customs officers would forbid her being there. That made no sense to us but he kept to his story even after our telling him she had a permit with the government. This turned out to be totally false. Then he told us there was no dinghy dock, meaning we would need to rely on him for all our boat to shore transportation, paying him for this service, of course. We discovered two suitable dinghy docks. His fee for arranging a land tour with our taxi driver Dickson was quite expensive, which we only realized after talking to Dickson about what he would charge without a "broker" involved. That was our fault entirely, but once we committed to a tour, it was hard to negotiate anything different. When we told him we were heading back to Rodney Bay until the weather cleared, he shook his head and said, "Mon, they've had bad flooding there". We haven't heard anything about flooding since returning to Rodney Bay. But we don't particularly want to do business with anyone we can't trust. Captain Bob wasn't happy when we cancelled the majority of our tour with Dickson due to the weather and he kept putting off settling up on our payment for what we did do. We figured he was angling for rescheduling but we really didn't want to deal with him again. Finally we offered him what we thought was a fair price, handing him that amount in spite of his saying he wanted more and left for Rodney Bay. Ed handled that negotiation with him and did a fine job. Bob didn't make it easy. The trouble is, when we return to Soufriere to tour the Pitons, we'll encounter him again and will have to let him know we don't want to do any more business with him. It left a sour taste in our mouths. And of course we are learning valuable lessons until we get the hang of how things are done.

For those of you who don't know anything about boat boys, it is a term to describe the men, and sometimes younger boys who motor or paddle out to yachts selling their services--fruit, jewelry, garbage disposal, tours, help with mooring lines, security, etc. It is a thriving business for the locals and the majority of them are great, helpful and interesting. For example, here in Rodney Bay, Gregory is the fruit man in the photo I took of his little boat covered with flags. He remembers us and what we've bought from him and he's great whenever we need something in particular, like mint or ripe tomatoes. Then there was Kennedy at Marigot who brought Ed extra large mangos after he requested some. Or in Dominica, Andrew who was low-key, prompt, efficient and knowledgeable. The problem is when you get hooked up with someone you don't want to do business with, or if you keep getting harassed or treated rudely. We have yet to experience the latter to any great extent. We are happy to provide payment for help or services and feel good about contributing to the local economy. But we also need to learn how to say "no", or "we'll think about it" and how to confront Captain Bob about his dishonesty. I really don't want to do any of that.

05/13/2012 | Jan keny
Had no idea about boat boys. What a tough, uncomfortable position in this instance. Ouch. Is ther some underground communication among cruisers about such problem guys? Start if if not...
05/15/2012 | tyson
OK, when you go back to the Pitons, meet Peter, the head of he SMMA, the group in charge of the marine park area. Mention my name, and have a chat about Bob. A bad apple. You nailed when you said you had to learn to say no, right up front! and strong. About the guy on crack, just a rumor, in fact, other people have said not true, just alccohal. Short teper but no drugs. They all now each other so you have to be really careful about what you are posting. No need to post this, just for you. How about taking pictures of the good boat boys and posting with compliments on their services. I will try and do the same. Love to see Ed at Lunch, wish I could hang with him daily! Ty
Pig Family
Elizabeth (photo by Nancy Jo)
05/10/2012, Soufriere, Saint Lucia

Nancy Jo noticed Luna on high alert, her eyes focused on a sandy beach close to our mooring ball. I looked around to find her object of intrigue and saw some movement, which turned out to be a pig family. Daddy pig in the lead, mamma pig behind him and several piglets taking up the rear. Where did they come from? A local guy said they live there, which is unfortunate for us because we were planning on bringing Luna ashore there to do her business tonight. We will find a pigless beach elsewhere. You can barely find the pigs in this photo, but Nancy Jo thought you might be able to if you know what to look for. Remember, you are looking for at least 4 pigs, big, medium and small, and as Nancy Jo adds, "Pink blobs with legs".

05/11/2012 | judi
Couldn't find the pigs, but I loved the story :-)
Your adventures and travels are a joy to see/read about!
05/12/2012 | Ed Easter
Judi, I'm sure you're not the only one who failed to actually see the pigs. I'm glad you enjoyed the story nonetheless!
Rain Squall
Elizabeth (photo by Nancy Jo)
05/10/2012, Saint Lucia

This almost looks like a tornado, but it was just a localized squall. I'm sure it got to us eventually, although I can't keep track of them anymore.

Waterlogged captain
05/10/2012, Soufriere, Saint Lucia

Waterlogged and getting irritable, that's my captain putting on his best lunch-time face in a delightful restaurant overlooking the water. He doesn't want anymore photos of him on this blog, he says, only interesting places and things. I usually ignore these types of announcements unless he's adamant. And he's not adamant, I feel certain of this. Just ready for the weather to lift. We have had rain for a solid week and are eager to do some touring before heading further south. For anyone who knows Ed, you would probably agree he's relatively good-natured most days, so if he's grumpy, it's a passing phase. Me? Well, that's another story...My sister? She'll tell you she's the queen of grumpy, but we haven't seen a thread of evidence of this since she arrived.

Dreadlock Plant
05/10/2012, Soufriere, Saint Lucia

We took a taxi up to the Tet Paul Nature Trail but it started to pour as soon as we hit the trail. We carried on with our knowledgeable and good-natured tour guide, Natasha (Ed asked her if she knew about Boris and Natasha....I told him to zip it because how in the world would she know and how would he ever explain who Rocky and Bullwinkle were?) and although the view was lousy, it was a wonderful place. We were scheduled stop at a few other sites but asked the taxi driver, Dickson to bring us back into town and said we'd reschedule once the sun comes out. Because you know, it is going to come out again. We feel certain of this.

Soufriere means "sulphur in the atmosphere". After a volcano erupted here in the late 1700's, it brought with it the lasting smell of sulphur. We hope to go to the mud baths and sulphur springs as soon as that rascal sun pokes its face out again.

The formal name of this plant escapes me, but Natasha said they call it the Dreadlock Plant. We saw pineapples, mangos, cashews, papayas, nutmeg, bananas, bay leaf trees, sour sop, herbs, lemon and lime trees and a variety of other plants including cocoa. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant in town before heading back to our wet and soggy boat, greeted by a mostly dry dog who was extremely glad to see us.

Nancy Jo and the Pitons
05/10/2012, Saint Lucia

Note from Nancy Jo: A "good night's sleep" here means only being woken 1-2 times by mosquitos and bumps in the night, getting up only one time instead of 3 to pee, then pumping the flush handle up and down 20 times (as instructed) having the boat barely rock (or not at all) vs. nearly rolling out of my berth, and getting up only 1-2 times to turn on or off the fan and open or shut the hatch depending on rain squalls.

A relaxing day is when it rains all day steadily and you don't have to do anything, as opposed to rain, no rain, rain, no rain which means laundry comes in and out, towels get used and wasted, the sun awning comes up and down, and we change a multitude of times throughout the day. The good news is it doesn't really matter because we're all having a good time. The bad news is we are almost at the end of our "good times". We all sense crankiness settling in, especially with Ed who mutters constantly when he's had enough of something.

While this photo suggests a sunny day, we only had a couple of hours of it. We took full advantage of its appearance and snorkeled at Anse Chastanet, which was some of the best we've seen. Nancy Jo and I swam with a sea turtle, which was awesome and the three of us followed a large school of roundish, dark purple fish around several crevices and rock formations. And then it rained again, hard and most of the night.

Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
05/08/2012, Marigot, Saint Lucia

We so seldom dress nicely on the boat or fix our hair, never mind wear jewelry or makeup. When we do, it is a mandatory photo opportunity.

05/09/2012 | Lyndall
Oh, what a wonderful sight - the two of you look SO happy together. Wonderful that NJ seized the moment and is now with you for such a nice stretch of time. Enjoy every precious moment. Love to all.
05/11/2012 | judi
Great sisters photo and what a special way to enjoy being together. Lovely memories in the making....You two look so happy!
05/12/2012 | Ed Easter
We are always happy to be together! It's been fun having her here.

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