Sunday, March 22, 2009

St Lucia

S/V Christa
Anchored Rodney Bay
St Lucia Island
Caribbean Sea

Ahoy! I set sail Saturday morning from Dominica after waving goodbye to SV Buxom who set sail for St John. The weather was beautiful and calm. I was able to sail most of the way out of the large bay that makes up Prince Rupert but then got caught in the wind shadow of the large island. I fired the “iron genny” for a couple of hours before I picked up some wind. The wind was slightly south of east that put us on a close reach. The wind direction stayed south of east for the remainder of the 105 mile trip.

After clearing the south coast of Dominica the boat was jamming along between 5 and 6 knots. The current flows strongly between these islands, as trades drive the wind and seas and then is compressed resulting in a westerly set. So I had to sail harder on the wind to try and counter the set. I had dashed behind Martinique by night fall and the wind eased but did not die. So for the 30 mile length of Martinique I had to work the boat to keep us moving. For some reason I was very tired even though I had slept well the night before. So after clearing the south coast of Martinique I was once again in the open sea, I reduced sail to slow down so I could get some sleep. Usually I do just fine staying awake for 24 hours, but not this time. So with the boat speed at 2.5 to 3 knots I was able to sleep off and on for about 4 hours. With a start I awoke with, confused for a moment but then I felt a bit rested. I cracked on more sail and pointed for Rodney Bay.

I arrived around 9am and spent a good while meandering around the bay and then headed into the lagoon looking for Team Sandpiper and a mooring. Thwarted on both counts I headed back out into the Rodney Bay. I had a tough time getting the anchor in and never did get it to bight. The bay is very deep in some spots and then shallows up. The bottom is a sporatic composition of sand, rock and busted up dead coral. It took me several tries to get the boat anchor which is the last thing a sailor wants at the end of a long passage. Right now the anchor sits on its side on top of broken coral on a 10 to 1 scope. So basically the weight of the chain keeps us in position. But should the anchor drag, the hook will drag for ten feet and then hit a lovely sandy spot where it will dig in.

After this exercise I was very tired and passed out for 3 hours. I awoke in the late afternoon and started to secure the boat properly and that is when I heard on CH 16, “SV Christa SV Sandpiper over” and next thing you know I was talking on the radio with Tom. Amazing! They are in a bay just south of Rodney Bay and they will be here tomorrow afternoon. The last time I saw Tom and Amy was in Puerta Vallarta in 2005 where I flew down for a visit while I was still on active duty.

So very excited!

Capt Chris

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