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Wednesday June 26th, 2002
Our First Friends!

As if you haven't noticed by now, we've found not much goes unnoticed in an anchorage, and it seems to propagate some degree of voyeurism in even the best of us. With so many people coming in and out of each other's living space, it doesn't seem too surprising to me really. So on this particular morning, Curt had been checking out a young British couple a few boats away. Breakfast conversation focused on trying to figure out how old we thought they might be and if they were a charter boat- since they didn't have any of the usual "cruising gear" on board such as wind generators, BBQs, or even a bimini to keep the sun out of the cockpit. Curt even proposed we go by to introduce ourselves to say hello. We were still discussing this as Curt decided to hop in and check on our anchor. He nearly landed in the dinghy of the couple we had just been talking about! A guy looking somewhere around our age, perhaps younger, greeted us. He and his wife had noticed another boat in the anchorage that looked about their age and he had decided to row over and say hello. He gestured over to their boat where his wife sat in the cockpit and said they'd seen us pull in yesterday. It isn't often you see cruisers under the age of 45 it seems.

Ian and Mary (32 and 28 respectively) are British and have been cruising for a year and a half, beginning in England, finding their way to the Caribbean. They're on their way to build a life on land in Australia, traveling via the Panama Canal and South Pacific. It was clear Ian's great love is sailing. They started their adventure with a brand new "J" boat they fittingly call, Jammin' (I later came to learn this some sort of superfast, state of the art type sailboat). As it turns out, Ian had explained, they had also just met another couple around our age- Aussies that "are a really good laugh." They also are headed to Australia- but for them, it's a return to home. He gestured to a boat behind us, True Blue- a ketch with a navy blue hull.

Curt and Ian digressed into a myriad of "guy talk" that I found myself only half listening to: the types of boats we owned, how they handled, their seaworthiness, how we've felt about the cruising life thus far. As the conversation wound down, we discovered that all three of our boats are headed in the same direction over the next few months… south towards Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago. With a smile and a warm handshake, Curt thanked him for introducing himself and we all hoped to get together for a happy hour or some such even down the road. It goes without saying that both Curt and I were so happy to've finally met someone- not only our age, but seemingly some folks we might really enjoy hanging out with.

We went off to the market and along the way considered inviting them over for a drink or perhaps for a trip into town (as it appeared they didn't have an engine on their dinghy). When we returned to Force Five however, both Jammin' and True Blue were gone.

Thursday June 27th, 2002
Boat Boys and Sailing From Rodney Bay to Marigot, Saint Lucia

Marigot is a tiny little bay hidden between two cliffs as you move south from Rodney Bay on Saint Lucia. It's so well hidden as a matter of fact, that a British admiral is reputed to have hidden his fleet here, disguising the masts by tying coconut fronds to the rigging. The pursuing French sailed right by. As we slid into the narrow entry, we saw both Jammin' and True Blue anchored to our immediate left. We waved as we passed them, looking for a good spot to anchor and ended up dropping the hook right in front of them. Marigot Bay, I knew right away, was another spot where I would really like to spend some time with a pad of drawing paper and pencils. You may have even seen it in the old classic movie, Dr. Doolittle. Mangroves surround each side, and colorful little hotels and restaurants are nestled among the trees on shore. The water is the trademark Caribbean blue.

No sooner had we dropped the anchor then we had our first experience with the infamous "boat boys". Boat boys, we heard, are sometimes helpful- sometimes badgering- local men that offer products and services from their brightly colored boats that come to your door. They sell everything from fruit and vegetables, to homemade bread, to ice and t-shirts. Some will give you island tours, other will take your trash to shore or even run errands for you… for a fee. It's pretty wild. Many of them have established a good name for themselves in a particular anchorage and we later came to find many boats that rely on the same boat boys season after season. On the other hand, the bad apples that borderline harass you for business sour the experience for most cruisers. It's widely believed that the wealthy American vacationers that charter sailboats for their annual two week vacation exacerbate the problem immensely by throwing cash at them just to get them to go away. What develops is a community of locals that assume anyone on a boat is rich and has money to offer if they hang around and hassle them long enough. At any rate- our experience that day was a good one. The boat boys that approached us were offering mangos and avocados and Curt agreed to a fair price with them and we gave it a try. They were absolutely delicious!

We had read about some interesting little bars and restaurants and decided to see if the new boats we had met might like to come join us. While I showered, Curt rowed over to invite them along. An hour or so later, a dinghy convoy of Ian and Mary from Jammin', John and Allison from True Blue, and Curt and I from Force Five made its way to The Shack.

Curt and I were launched into the company of other people at warp speed. The evening was filled with laughter and good cheer- all six of us trying to scream over one another to be heard as we shared the chain of events that led us to this particular point in time and space here in the Caribbean. None of us wanted the night to end when the restaurant started to clear out- so we relocated the party to Force Five. It was great to have our boat filled with people and frivolity as we ate and drank late into the evening. But Curt and I had planned to move on to Bequia (pronounced, BECK-way) at seven the next morning, so at some point the party had to end. Our new friends agreed to meet us in Admiralty Bay the day after… that is, unless we changed our minds about leaving the next morning, which was now just a few hours away! Bets were exchanged on whether or not they'd wake to find Force Five still anchored there, or if we'd actually go sailing.

Friday June 28th, 2002
Saint Lucia to Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Ouch. 7am sure hurt that morning. Okay- so we didn't actually up-anchor until 8:00. I was pretty much useless the entire trip, and as far as I was concerned, Curt earned his place in heaven that morning by making me the best grilled cheese sandwich in history:-)

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