Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

Saint Lucia National Parks

08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
Donna Cariss
Saturday was going to be a busy day. Before it became too warm, we washed the boat. Then we were going to Pigeon Island, in the dinghy, so we first needed to go to the fuel dock for unleaded petrol for the outboard. It was quite a long trip to Pigeon Island, out through the channel and across the bay to the northwest side. The sea was fairly flat, so we didn't get too wet on the way there. We pulled into the little dinghy dock and were met by Malachi, a Jamaican, who said he would take care of our dinghy, as he was just setting up his shop at the end of the dock. We were directed to the kiosk, by the road entrance, to pay the US$10 park fee per person. We walked up the track until we reached the old fort, on top of the hill that overlooks the sea. The fort had most recently been used in the second world war, as a signal station, by the Americans and they had created a causeway that means Pigeon Island no longer appears to be an island. Sandals resort is now part of the causeway, with its lovely sand beach. Previously, the fort had passed between English and French hands, as they fought 14 times for ownership of Saint Lucia, the English eventually winning the day. From the fort, there was a great view of Rodney Bay, the open sea and the bay to the north. Looking across Rodney Bay, I spotted plumes of water; there were 2, maybe 3 whales out there and you could see them rising out of the water. I told Pete and he shouted to the few other people that were up there with us. One of the young couples said they had hiked the pitons the previous day. They said it was tough but worth it and that it took them 5 hours. We would be doing that tomorrow. We retraced our steps, part way down and then across and up the second hill, steeper and rockier this time and with another great view from the top, straight over the causeway and Sandals Resort. We made our way back down, along the northern shore of the peninsula, where we sat on a swing seat and watched the surf rolling in over the reefs. It was time for a cool drink and we had spotted, from the top of the hill, that there were a couple of open air bars between the Park and Sandals, so we headed that way. Pete paid for 4 Pitons and was charged 40 EC. It's usually somewhere between 6 and 8 per bottle, depending on where you are and how upmarket the bar or restaurant is, so this was expensive. We returned through the park to our dinghy, stopping on the way to peruse Malachi's stall, where he persuaded us to buy a necklace for me and a Jamaican bracelet for Pete. The wind had picked up during the morning, so it was a pretty wet ride back to Rodney Bay. We ate fish tacos at La Mesa, for lunch. They looked quite different to the last time I had them but were just as delicious. Next chore was provisioning, for tomorrow's walk and the subsequent nights at anchor. We took the dinghy across the lagoon, to the dock we had spotted a few days ago and it was just a short walk to Massey's. Next up, Pete contacted Jahleel to book a buoy at Anse des Pitons for Monday night, as recommended by Davina and Antony. We didn't want to miss out and have to go to Soufriere, which has a bad reputation for thefts. Now we just needed to cool off, so we headed to the marina pool to shower, swim and relax in the last of the day's sunshine. There we met Nigel and Veronica, Kiwis who had lived in London for several years. They were sailing a 60 foot expedition yacht, Novara, whilst volunteering on a climate project and it turned out that we had plenty to chat about. They briefly considered coming to the Pitons with us the next day but eventually agreed that they had jobs to do on board that couldn't wait.
Nigel picked us up at 7.50am, by the market place, at the marina. We had a scenic drive to Gros Piton, a trip of about an hour and 40 minutes, as the road doesn't follow the coast but goes up and down over the hills, between each town. Nigel was chatty and interesting and a much better driver than Bongo had been on the tour of North Dominica. On arrival, we were allocated Maya as our guide. She looked like she might still be college age but turned out to be 33 with 2 children. We paid the park entrance fee, 125 EC per person, made a toilet stop and then had a briefing on the route and the stops along the way. We were encouraged to hire a walking pole each at 13 EC and we did so. We were great up to the first stop at the 0.5 mile point. We had a quick drink from our bottles, took some photos and stroked the cat that lives there and we were off again. The second quarter of the climb involved scrambling up a steep slope of pretty large boulders. For me, the walking pole was a hindrance, as I needed both hands to climb, so Pete carried both poles. We made it to the 1 mile stop and had another drink and chatted to an American guy who had decided that was far enough for him. There was another cat to stroke and tickle, photographs to take of Petit Piton, across the bay and then we were on our way again. It was now 11am and getting hot, although we were mainly in the shade and we were absolutely dripping sweat. Heart rates were increasing with the effort of climbing up and over rocks. In places there were handrails, made from branches and these were essential for me to pull myself up, as the height of the rocks was too much for me to get any leverage with my other leg. I had a couple of short, extra breathers on route to stop 3 at 1.5 miles. We were now in the rain forest. We were also meeting quite a few groups of people on their way back down, all offering encouragement and confirming it was worth the effort. Quads and biceps were now burning and sweat was turning cold at times. It was getting harder and harder to put one foot in front of and above the other. 5 minutes to go, then 2 minutes to go; we can see the light filtering through from the top. We made it. The summit really was a peak, no more than 15 metres diameter, a pile of rocks, with a Saint Lucia flag on a pole and a view out over the valley and the sea. It was a shame we couldn't see Petit Piton but it was obscured by bushes. There were lovely butterflies, tortoiseshells and some bright red ones, as well as mongoose and colourful little finches. I ate half a pasty and had a good drink, we did the photo call and then started our descent, not wanting to let our muscles seize up too much. I felt surprisingly good going down and we didn't bother taking a break at the first stop. I had expected my muscles, as well as my knees to start complaining immediately. By half way down we were more than ready to rest though. The rest of our water and orange juice went, we tickled the cat again and then we were on our way again. This is where we had to descend the boulder slope. For me, that meant making my way down on my backside, stretching for the next foothold. The early afternoon sun was on this side of the mountain and I was burning. I had a long-sleeved shirt tied around my waist for this eventuality, so unfastened it to put on. It was soaking wet with sweat but I put it on anyway. At the final stop, there was a man with a cooler, selling beer, water and Gatorade. Pete had a beer and Maya and I had Gatorade and we sat in the shade for 10 minutes to hydrate a little. We completed the round trip in 4 hours and 10 minutes, including stops, which wasn't too bad. Pete complained that I had held him up and that he felt like his nose was always right on my backside and that, when I actually carried my pole myself, I kept nearly hitting him in the face with it, which Maya thought was funny. However, Pete found having 2 walking poles great for coming downhill, whereas I preferred to use my hands and my bottom when necessary. We arrived back at the taxi, where Nigel produced Pitons from a cooler in his boot. That's the sort of differentiator you want in a taxi driver! 1 beer was enough for me and I selected beautiful, chilled water after that. Pete drank the remaining beers on the way back to base. We hadn't though to bring a change of clothes, or towels and we were soaked through, so we used a mat from Nigel's boot to keep his lovely, cream seats clean in the taxi. On the way back, we stopped at all the viewpoints, to take photos. At the Pitons viewpoint, a local lad took photos for us, arranging them so we pointed a finger on the top of each Piton, or in Pete's case, his bottle of Piton, while another local quickly made us a grasshopper and an angel fish from grasses. Pete tipped them for their efforts. We also stopped to look down on Marigot Bay, filmset for the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie and a well known hurricane hole. It looked gorgeous and started to put thoughts in our minds of stopping there with Muirgen before heading to Saint Vincent. We arrived at the marina at 4.20pm, so had been out for 8.5 hours. Our legs were stiffening up so, having settled up with Nigel and included a tip, we headed to the pool to swim. Nigel and Veronica came over for a quick drink, in the evening and invited us to pop and see their boat before we left the next morning. After they had gone, after much deliberation, we decided to cancel our mooring buoy at Anse des Pitons, stay longer in the marina and then visit Marigot Bay. They had live country music on at the hotel opposite and the singer was really good so, tired though we were, we stayed up until 11pm, as we no longer had to set an alarm for the next day. I struggled to sleep and eventually realised that it was the caffeine in the Gatorade; a drug I am not at all accustomed to.

Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 1 April 2024
26 Photos
Created 22 March 2024
49 Photos
Created 22 March 2024
19 Photos
Created 22 March 2024
30 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
5 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
84 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
7 Photos
Created 3 March 2024
29 Photos
Created 4 February 2024
22 Photos
Created 4 February 2024
32 Photos
Created 24 January 2024
31 Photos
Created 24 January 2024
14 Photos
Created 27 December 2023
9 Photos
Created 11 September 2023
15 Photos
Created 11 September 2023
44 Photos
Created 11 September 2023
13 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
9 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
10 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
12 Photos
Created 9 August 2023
9 Photos
Created 19 July 2023
10 Photos
Created 19 July 2023
66 Photos
Created 14 July 2023
10 Photos
Created 14 July 2023
3 Photos
Created 24 May 2023
65 Photos
Created 20 September 2022
56 Photos
Created 9 July 2022
13 Photos
Created 7 July 2022
7 Photos
Created 18 April 2022
19 Photos
Created 3 April 2022
22 Photos
Created 3 April 2022
3 Photos
Created 10 September 2021
3 Photos
Created 10 September 2021
4 Photos
Created 2 October 2020
16 Photos
Created 26 September 2020
13 Photos
Created 23 September 2020
11 Photos
Created 27 August 2020
27 Photos
Created 25 August 2020
9 Photos
Created 25 August 2020
11 Photos
Created 18 August 2020
16 Photos
Created 15 August 2020
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2020
18 Photos
Created 10 August 2020
10 Photos
Created 7 August 2020
20 Photos
Created 3 August 2020
14 Photos
Created 3 August 2020
20 Photos
Created 27 July 2020
10 Photos
Created 26 July 2020
29 Photos
Created 18 July 2020
5 Photos
Created 18 July 2020
12 Photos
Created 18 July 2020
Photos of Muirgen preparations
8 Photos
Created 12 July 2020
39 Photos
Created 11 August 2017
52 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
35 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
10 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
26 Photos
Created 6 August 2017
4 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
13 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
14 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
5 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
10 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
6 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
13 Photos
Created 21 July 2017
30 Photos
Created 1 July 2017
15 Photos
Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
10 Photos
Created 19 June 2017
9 Photos
Created 17 June 2017
11 Photos
Created 15 June 2017
17 Photos
Created 15 June 2017
The Beautiful Kvitsoy
5 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
8 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
13 Photos
Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
16 Photos
Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
12 Photos
Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016