Wednesday, February 2, 2011

St. Lucia

 St. Lucia, West Indies. Caribbean---We sailed overnight to reach St. Lucia in 12 hours. The night was rough seeing winds up to 30 knots. I was granted duel night watch with Becky as a newbie and I was glad. This boat is completely different than anything I've sailed. For one, the beam is 14 feet! It's huge. And everything is electric so the sail configuration can be quickly changed and the Captain expects sails to be changed to keep the same speed.

I certainly am learning a lot but it is strange to be the one that is the new crew and feeling nervous and anxious about doing it right.

It is a 50 foot boat, which is the largest I have sailed. The cockpit is four times larger than I am used to and has a duel helm. There are safety lines run in the cockpit to hook onto as well as along the sides of the vessel! But I was surprised how close hauled she sailed (sailing almost into the wind) and how well she took the waves. I didn't have a lot of faith in new boats verses the heavy duty old versions but I love this boat. It IS more a cruisers boat than an ocean crossing boat lacking in lee cloths (hammock like cloths hung on the open beds to keep you in when the boat is heeled over) and little things like areas to hang onto or plant your feet when clinging for dear life in 30 knots of wind. It is still a pleasure to sail.

Rodney Bay where we anchored before and after the marina

I love rocks and the fishing boat names are fascinating to me

Small businesses in Castries!
For OceansWatch, I traveled to Castries (the capital) by Maxi Taxi alone to look for any contacts. Found our Captain Andy on the side of a street and together we found the tourism desk in a small shopping mall. After Andy found out that the Dive Shop contact he had been given was not in Castries after all, he headed back while I pursued more information. The lady at the desk was very helpful and got out the yellow pages to look up addresses and phone numbers as well as personally making some phone calls on OW’s behalf to make sure they were the correct contact numbers.

After not finding the building for Sustainable Development I returned to the tourism desk and was greeted by a relieved worker who had made another phone call and found out that the original directions were wrong. They had moved.

I took a taxi for $25EC to the American Drywall Building and found the office. Expecting to only get a contact name, I was extremely lucky to meet the director head on as he was leaving for the day. After a quick explanation of what OW is, he invited me back into his office for a quick sit down. Although he was in a hurry, he took notes and promised to follow up with three contacts: Tourism Development, Fisheries, and the person that works for him assigned to sustainable coastal projects. This was the third Minister of the Environment that I have met with in the islands! I know I am just a volunteer but it does feel like I am back in business.

Local Fishing boats along the Chanel

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