04 July 2007 | Saint Lucia
Hideko, Thomas, Kory and Maddy dinghied over to the Moorings Marina this morning to get pastries and fresh baguettes. I'm not sure but I suspect that there is a French based pastry franchise operating in the Caribbean. I have noticed an almost identical set of pastries acquired here, in the other French islands, and also in the train stations in Paris. The products are all great and cooked in proper pastry ovens and all that, but with a McDonalds like consistency. This standardization and quality control is a good thing because I have not found any other good Caribbean bakeries. This bakery alone makes me want to come back to Marigot.
Thomas selected our next stop, Anse Cachon. We motored the short 3 miles around Point De La Ville. Anse Cachon marks the north end of the prime diving territory in Saint Lucia. We picked up a mooring to protect the coral there abouts.
Cachon has a nice sized dive shop and a pretty beach. The big attraction is the snorkeling and diving however. This suited us well because Thomas had recently been certified for SCUBA and Kory was hoping to get certified as a Junior diver on this trip.
Saint Lucia has a law restricting all diving, except diving involved with working on your boat, to registered dive shops. This allows marine park fees to be collected and ensures that the park is protected by the designated dive operations. From Anse Cachon down to Soufriere the park rangers are out in force.
This was a predicament. Diving in Saint Lucia is about as expensive as it gets in the Caribbean. We also like to dive without the crowds. I do respect what they are trying to do however. I wanted to take Kory out for his first confined water dive in the shallows of the protected bay, but I didn't want a $5,000 fine.
I decided to talk with the Island Divers dive shop to figure out the best course of action. Thomas, Kory and I snorkeled over from Swingin' on a Star. The manager of Island Divers was a friendly guy. I showed him my instructor card and explained the situation. We both agreed that the diving restrictions were designed to manage reef diving, which was not what we were about. The letter of the law was not clear here though. I asked them to supervise us which would certainly cover things. He was not sure he wanted to do that. I finally offered to pay for a one tank dive and have him just sit in the sand for an hour and watch us do regulator recovery and other skills, sure to be exciting to a 10 year dive instructor. That got him, he said, "Go ahead I'll just keep an eye on you from here but stay off of the reef" Perfect!
The whole area is beautiful and filled with lots of fish. You couldn't go from A to B without seeing something beautiful or interesting. Thomas joined Kory and I as we ran through the dive skills. We took a leisurely surface swim back to the boat with our dive flag in tow and enjoyed all of the sights on the way. Once on board we refilled the tanks with the Brownie compressor and rinsed off all of our gear. Kory completed his first SCUBA session with ease and we had a great time in the water.
The Sand Crabs (in this incarnation, Em, Maddy and Sammy), were, however, nonplussed. The sand was not very white and there were too many rocks. We'd be moving on tomorrow.
All of the MacKenzie kids are great swimmers. Kory is as strong as most adults at age 10 and Maddy does very well also. Sammy can't quite swim solo yet but will happily jump into any body of water with no concern for personal safety. Swimming lessons are proceeding at a rapid clip.
When everyone was back aboard we fired up the barbeque and grilled some hamburgers and hot dogs. It was July 4th after all. There were British, French and of course Saint Lucians about but not too many folks flying Old Glory. We did our best to celebrate in the traditional 4th barbeque fashion. I could almost see the fireworks in the starry night sky.