Cruising in St. Lucia and Martinique - Page 5 of 5

[Boatkeeping at Marigot Bay]  
Boatkeeping in Marigot Bay, after we returned from Rodney Bay.  

After anchoring overnight in Rodney Bay, we sailed back to Marigot Bay, where Jeff, the instructor, went ashore. The students got to sail the boat by ourselves down to the Pitons for an overnight stop. This was like a mini bareboat charter, where we got to do everything without prompting or assistance from the instructor.

The area around the Pitons had spectacular scenery. There were two pitons, Petit Piton to the north and Gros Piton to the south. "Petit" means "small", but even the small piton was immense. The steeply sloping sides plunged below the surface of the water and kept dropping, providing deep water close to shore. Due to the steeply sloping hard bottom, anchoring was impractical, and boaters tied up to mooring balls for a small fee. The moorings were in deep water quite close to shore. We could easily hear the small surf breaking very close at hand, which is not something you normally hear. Ashore, between the two pitons, there was a resort called Jalousie, but we didn't visit it.

[Approaching the Pitons]   [Approaching the Pitons]
Approaching the Pitons, with Petit Piton to the left and Gros Piton to the right.

[The mooring field between the Pitons]   [Gros Piton meeting the sea]
This is the mooring field between the Pitons. We are much closer than this picture makes it appear, since this is a very wide-angle shot to show the whole scene. Ashore, you can see numerous palms and banana trees where the Jalousie resort is located.   In the previous picture, you see Gros Piton just starting to rise at the right side of the picture. This picture shows the scene further to the right, where Gros Piton drops into the sea. There was an interesting and dramatic rock formation.

The next morning, we sailed back north to Marigot Bay, cleaned up the boat, and reluctantly went ashore. Later in the day, we each had an individual conference with Jeff, where he discussed the skills assessment sheet that he had filled out. We also received a fancy certificate from Offshore Sailing School for successfully completing the course. The best thing we received, of course, was the wonderful time we had sailing in a beautiful tropical paradise.

In retrospect, the course was a great experience. We had a great teacher, a great boat, and sailed in an exotic and fascinating area. It was such a positive experience, and it happened at just the right time in my early cruising experiences. As a result, I was very excited about cruising, and wound up buying my own boat shortly thereafter. The rest, as they say, is history.

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