A Caribbean Christmas! Next Stop Colombia on the World ARC!
Our family joined us for a wonderful action packed 24 days in St Lucia and St Vincent. Both these tropical islands are beautiful with lush green rain forest and tall volcanic mountains! In the picture below we are one of the boats tied up to a palm tree!
Our holiday started from Rodney Bay in the north of St Lucia, so we sailed South to Soufriere, where we anchored below the famous Pitons. Here we relaxed read and enjoyed snorkelling and swimming as well as paddling the inflatable canoe to explore and exercise and have fun!
We went ashore on a tour of interesting places around Soufriere. Firstly we visited a chocolate plantation. This was fascinating, informative and fun especially as we now have our own Cocoa tree which we grafted onto the root stock and called it Celtic Star! Afterwards we visited the very smelly bubbling hot mud pools at the volcano centre! None of us fancied getting into the cooler health baths lower down! A dip under the tall waterfall nearby cooled us down but was quite hard on the head!
After a couple of nights anchored here we set off on a lively 30 mile sail to St Vincent, called the island of rainbows due to the tall volcanic mountain causing lots of rain and rainbows. We visited a few anchorages before we settled at Young's Cut on the southern most tip for our Christmas venue. Our first trip here was to the beautiful botanical gardens at Kingstown which I adored. I admit to missing my garden and it was wonderful to be surrounded by interesting flowers, foliage and trees.
Walking, visiting waterfalls, snorkelling and diving on and around the island was amazing and the days there passed in a pleasant, relaxed way, visiting anchorages, swimming reading, eating and drinking just like Xmas at home.
The traditional Christmas morning walk involved a steep climb on a small island to Fort Duvernette which helped to work up an appetite for lunch.
Once back on board a quiz and then cocktails at the local beach bar also helped.
Our lunch was delicious and original, for pudding I had a banana flambé, the over strength rum (84%!) was difficult to extinguish and I blamed the intoxicating effect of this for my inability to get into the dinghy to return to Celtic Star. A refreshing dip is always enjoyable after Xmas lunch,( note to self, remember to put mobile phone in a plastic bag when riding in the dinghy inebriated! This was before lunch, I looked a lot more wobbly later on!!
To clear customs back to St Lucia we visited Wallilabou Bay, St Vincent where the second Pirates of the Caribbean film was made. We had anchored in this bay on our previous trip 12 years ago and I was excited to see a lot of the props and buildings still there.
Our first anchorage back in St Lucia was in the stunning little bay called Anse Cochin. Here there is a very nice resort and Richard and I went to a wine tasting afternoon!
We also dived in the bay on a wreck and a fantastic coral reef.
Back in Rodney Bay Celtic Star had to be lifted for work on her rudder and propeller, so we booked a very comfortable and truly delightful apartment up the hill behind Rodney Bay.
We had amazing views over the bay towards Pigeon Island and a huge cruise ship with masts! You can see the marina with yacht masts on the right. It was a pleasant change to be away from the sea for a short while.
From here we walked or taxied to the boat yard, supermarket, shops or beach. New Year's Eve was celebrated at the yacht club on Reduit beach. Of course there were a lot of rum punch and games and fireworks. The youngsters enjoyed a New Year swim in the sea before heading back to recover in delightfully air conditioned rooms!
A wonderful welcome to 2020!
Our final few days back on board Celtic Star were spent doing some work in preparation for the start of World Arc Leg 1 St Lucia to Santa Marta. Servicing the winches for example;
However we had a couple of excursions- another brilliant dive and a trip to the Treetops adventure. Twelve zip wires through the jungle on the East coast of St Lucia , plus rope walkways and bridges proved to be an absolutely brilliant experience.
We had a couple of days sails and anchorages for swimming off the boat before sadly it was time to say good bye to the family.
Now we have completed our preparations and seminars, we have attended the skipper's briefing and updated the weather forecasts. Tomorrow Richard and I set sail on Celtic Star along with 33 other yachts on the 815 mile passage to Santa Marta, Colombia and then on to the San Blas Islands. We meet our next crew in Colon for the Panama transit.
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