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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.

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.

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".

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.

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