Location: Marigot Bay, St. Lucia
Marigot Bay is a unique and cozy little hurricane hole. The entrance is very narrow, and the hills surrounding the bay wrap on three sides, providing great shelter from both the sea and the wind. There is a lovely resort marina situated in the far corner at the very back. The dock was built just in front of the mangroves so as not to destroy them. Most of the bay has a thick mangrove forest that remains untouched, but the dock and a really neat bar are the only two exceptions. There are several small restaurants and bars scattered about the inner and outer harbors. While you can walk from place to place, a more fun and comfortable option are to use one of the free water taxis that shuttle folks about. At this time of year, the anchorage and marina are fairly quiet. There are only a few small yachts on the dock and in the mooring field, and the resort has many empty rooms. The resort staff is very friendly and personable, and they allowed us to use the tables for the first of many Navigation Masterclasses. Carolyn spread the charts out among several small groups of students and began to explain the basics of navigation and chart work. Her class took up much of the morning. During this time, I spent the day scrambling around trying to take care of many of the duties that go along with making a ship run. The marina manager approached me and asked that I move the vessel off the dock earlier than planned. By all rights, we were allowed to stay until 6 pm that evening, but he wished to see if we could expedite the schedule to allow for the first mega yacht of the season to take our spot. I was happy to oblige as he promised a free mooring for the evening, and so I checked out of the marina, made sure students’ would get the laundry finished, cleared the vessel out of Saint Lucia to leave early tomorrow, and took on 1400L of tax-free fuel. This was all done in under an hour because that mega yacht makes 20+ knots, and their arrival was fast approaching. We pulled off the dock with minutes to spare and tied up bow and stern to two mooring balls. After class had ended, the students returned to our spot on the dock to find a massive 55m multi-deck yacht in its place. I told them we had upgraded to a new vessel, and they were not amused. I spent the afternoon in a taxi buzzing around the island, securing propane, buying ship supplies, and provisioning food with Steve. Two former Sea|mester staff were in the area and said hello, but there wasn’t a moment to waste as we hustled back to Marigot to pack everything away. A superb roast chicken, potatoes, and veg along with some famous Yorkshire pudding, were prepared by Steve. All the students eagerly tucked into the meal, and quite a few were comatose after such a large feast. To ease into the evening, Steph put on a movie, and Emma cooked up popcorn on the stovetop. It was a very long day, as most of us had been up through the previous night writing cards to our departing shipmates. Not many made it all the way through the movie, but it was a mellow end to a tough day.