ST LUCIAMarch2023


We had read abut the terrible wind conditions in the channel between Martinique andSt Lucia owing to the funneling promoted by the venturi effect of the volcanic slopes of both. None of these materialized on our trip south, in fact our sail ended up with a motoring as soon as we were in the lee of the island of St Lucia. We were left wondering how people in the Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600 races deal with these conditions which are surely challenging and requre a lot of local knowledge for racing. 

Rodney Bay

We only spent a three days in St Lucia, owing to the fact that we limited it to a short term base to pick up Karen's Sister and brother in law, planning  on heading south to Bequia and tobago cays for more of a snorkel and reef experience. St Lucia has easy airport access, but the marina is in Rodney Bay and the farthest possible distance from the airport at the southern tip.  Staying in the Rodney Bay marina has benefits and drawbacks. The benefits are the facilities, their safety, and the availability of shops and restaurants. The dock in St Lucia required a different ISO adapter than the one aboard, and we were able to procure plugs and make a proper cord system out of it, thanks to the local chandlery supply stores.

 The security in the marina is much superior to the bay, and it provides an enclave that allows you to leave your boat without worri es, many cruisers doing so for weeks at a time when in need of travel. On the down side, the price is not cheap at $80 per night. The IGY run marina is well organized, and has the cookie cutter, developed world company normality of any marina like Jolly Bay Marina in Antigua or Le Marin in Martinique. Sometimes, that familiarity is welcome and many cruisers make it a multi week base for catching up with friends and touring the island venues. Access to the check in / check out border police is a breeze, a very short walk from your dock, with courteous and professional government workers to guide you through the process. 

One particular attractive aspect of this marina is the vegetable and fruit boat. He comes around every day and offers fresh produce, and if you ask him why he has three engines in the back of the boat, he will tell you that you can't beat the reliability. Given the prospect of a engine failure causing one to drift to Columbia, we agree.


Water streams from the underground into rivers, and as the waters cools and interacts with the air, the minerals deposit onto rocks. Red for Iron, white for calcium carbonate, yellow for sulfur. The result is the earthy colors of the streams and the waterfall ponds, and a rich vegetation taking adantage of the nutrients in the water. Playtime for swimmers but beware of the pounding that your head will get when the water falls 70 to 80 feet onto it.

Botanical Gardens

We hired a guide for the Botanical Gardens. This added a lot of dimension to the tour and insights into the local flora, as our tour guide had a college degree in Botany and was very knowledgeable, though apparently underemployed based on her knowledge. Nevertheless the pictures will speak for themselves, birds of paradise, tiger lilly, ginger lilly, and some nasty trees which will give you a poison Ivy rash. The odd looking grape like fruits are close to the trunk, and this, as well as the manchineel tree, are two plants that are best not touched.


The coastline is rugged, mountains meet the sea, upwelled by volcanic activity and too young to have eroded flat.The most impressive features are the pitons, steep sentinels of the southern coast, blocking the trade winds and unmistakedly marking this as St Lucia's waterfront.We sailed past these on the way to Bequia after an early (3AM) departure from Rodney bay. Land travel is cumbersome. Because of all the deep river valleys, the landscape requires roads to follow the coast in meandering ways, up the valley, past a crest, down the next valley and so on.


The old Fort stands on top of the hill and is accessible by car, an ideal venue for overlooking the island. St Lucia was colonized by the British and French in the 17th century and was the subject of several possession changes until 1814, when it was ceded to the British by France for the final time. Wikipedia St Lucia link


Our main activity after the arrival of our guests was a tour of the Island. We booked one of the many tour companies recommended by fellow cruisers. The tour was fine. Many of the stops were friends and relatives, but nonetheless interesting, such as the wood carving factory. Waterfalls, mud baths in the volcanic area of Soufriere, and more driving on local roads makeing for a cheer at the end of a 10 hour day in the car. I recommend such a tour nonetheless, because it helps get an overlook of the island in a relatively short time. It also helps to support the local economy.


The Tour guide who took us around the island is related to the owner of an art gallery that makes carvings on St Lucia. It is a successful art venture turning roots and other wood into various themed pieces. Its style is part african art inspired, part native caribbean traditions, using moderns chisels and hand tools.

Mud Baths

Mineral rich mud is found near Soufriere, baths containing clay, calcium, sulfur, and iron are the result of hot underground springs typical of volcanic areas. The baths are a fun activity. The women in the tour went there while the men in the car chose to sit it out, figure that.