We have been moored in stunning Soufriere Bay further south for the last 3 days and just got back to Rodney Bay for the ARC Finish Line duty. Logging into the website we found the hit counter has gone over 40,000, so thanks to everyone who reads our posts and especially to those who continue to!! We still enjoy writing about our travels and cruising life and it is great that other people find the site useful or interesting too.
Over the past week we spent a few hours in the boardwalk cafes and bars of Rodney Bay, another few walking around the National Monument at Pigeon Island and climbed up the hill to Fort Rodney with spectacular views across to the Atlantic Ocean and the sea we sailed through almost exactly a year ago.
There are several old buildings on Pigeon Island with some interesting information near each one. A tiny graveyard is a sad sight, with one gravestone for a 10 month old infant daughter of 1 of the officers stationed there. Admiral Rodney knew that Pigeon Island was a strategic position, from where he could keep an eye on the french in nearby Martinique but the conditions for the soldiers couldn’t have been easy with their heavy woollen uniforms. Eventually they did manufacture tropical wear but initially they suffered from heat and tropical diseases.
It only costs 4 GBP to get into the park and wander around, well worth it. There is also a lovely restaurant and bar on the island, with a huge book swop, comfy sofas and waterside location. One of the boats anchored next to us, Nemo, from Jersey, invited us with 9 others on Saturday night to the restaurant and we had a great evening. We all gathered before dark, to make it easier to find the dinghy dock and people were leaving by 8pm – we get up with the sun and get to bed early too these days, so not sure how we are going to cope with the ARC parties for the next fortnight!!
Soufriere is right next to the Pitons but the boat boys there are a little more intrusive than elsewhere. 3 approached us a couple of miles outside the bay and we gave 1 of them 15 EC (less than 4 GBP) to help us tie up to the mooring, although we usually do that ourselves quite happily. Its the way they make their living. Several others wanted to sell us wooden carvings but we explained that we are not on holiday, can’t take souvenirs anywhere and they left us alone. 3 young boys paddled up on a plastic canoe trying to get food and drink and sell some shells they shouldn’t have taken from the Marine Park!! We were moored by the Bat Caves and you could hear them all inside making a huge noise but we didn’t see any at night. We locked our bananas up just in case!! It costs 13.50 GBP for 1 or 2 nights, so you may as well stay for 2.
The snorkelling right off the boat was brilliant but I could also see a broken off mooring, just astern of us and despite the claim that the moorings should have an orange ticket with the date of the last service, I didn’t see one. The heavy steel boat on the mooring next to us came within touching distance, so we both had to get our fenders out. I called the SMMA (Soufriere Marine Management Agency) on VHF Ch. 16 and they came over straight away to move the other boat (we were there first, so the rule is that they move) and calling the SMMA saved the other boat having to pay another boat boy a tie up fee.
So we are now back in Rodney Bay until January, unless we get a couple of free days to sail south again. There is a meeting tomorrow for the 4 Finish Line boats and we expect the first ARC 2012 boat to arrive on Thursday. Should be an exciting couple of weeks, lots of emotion for the crews who have crossed the Atlantic and lots of partying. We see that next week the winds are expected to be 30 knots with swells of 10-12 feet, so those still en route will have an exciting finish!