Ships Log 2 Jan 2004

Christmas in St Lucia was a BBQ on the beach. About 70 ARC crews were crowded onto the narrow beach, with dainty individual charcoal BBQ's, dodging intermittent rain squalls. We had acquired a large grille from the local welder, and our BBQ of driftwood in a tunnel of sand may not have been smokeless, but cooked the chicken (and tuna - courtesy of Nicky Tam) to perfection. 
The time after crossing the Atlantic can be an anticlimax, but the ARC program this year was full, and we explored St Lucia on a tour bus sponsored by Discovery who are developing Marigot Bay, and went mountain bicycling through the jungle with lectures on local fruit, plus various parties etc, and then sailed 30 miles north to Martinique to pick up James. 
For the 7 days after Christmas Tony Robbins, a travelling Brit, joined us. We had entered the inaugural St Lucia Yacht Club Christmas Regatta. We did not want to race Intrepid, so joined the fun/cruising division, which included a treasure hunt sailing round 15 miles of St Lucia on Boxing Day to Marigot Bay, a fun race back next day, and a round the buoys race on 28th Dec, with prizes, dinners and rum punch each night. Intrepid did Westerly Oceanlords and Kemp sails proud, beating a Beneteau 50, Malo 42 and Victoria 38 to win line honours and on handicap. A great regatta!
We sailed the 80 miles south to Bequia for New Years Eve, pausing only to anchor in the shallow part of the main port St Lucia port of Castries (avoiding 3 huge cruise ships) to redeem a voucher presented by Diamonds International as one of the prizes.
Bequia is one of the old whaling islands and has a relaxed happy international atmosphere, which is just as well as we entered the bay in a full gale at night, and anchored in just 3 metres of water so full was the anchorage. New Years Eve we dined and partied to a steel band, then next day had to head 80 miles north again into the teeth of the same continuing gale. This was serious sailing, sometimes we were doing 9 knots with 3 reefs, others we had blue water crashing over right up to the cockpit, and struggled to make 5 knots. But the moon shone, the water was warm, and at 4am we entered Rodney Bay, dropped anchor and fell asleep. 
We leave you with all best wishes, the information that it is raining (hard) here in St Lucia and we sail tomorrow north to Martinique to drop off James who has to fly home,. so its not all plain sailing!!
Happy 2004!!!!!!!!!!!
Andy and Nicky Gibb.

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