Is it Murphy’s Law or just Karma that on the day after I make a big post bragging about our anchoring prowess, we find ourselves in a bit of drama getting our anchor down?
In keeping with our “decide at the last minute where we’re going to go” method of planning, we booked ourselves to go on a Jungle Biking Adventure today. Thanks to Thomas who posted on our blog about this place because it sounds really cool. Booking the trip just yesterday morning though meant we had to get moving. We had planned to visit Pigeon Island to do a bit of hiking/exploring so we jumped in the dinghy and made a morning of it. I don’t know how Rebecca does it but she has a knack for finding really steep hills to climb. 🙁 The scenery was beautiful though, even if I had to work a bit to get to some of it. We definitely recommend this hike!
After arriving back to our boat shortly before noon, we upped anchor and set sail for Anse Chastanet, 15 miles south of Rodney Bay. The weather was excellent for sailing and we cruised parallel to the coast on a nice beam reach. Awesome.
When we booked the biking excursion, we were informed that because that entire area is a park, anchoring is very limited. We were told that there were a “few” moorings available or we could anchor right off their beach, one of the only places where anchoring is permitted. Initially we were going to take the easy route and just pick up a mooring but as we made our approach, we found that a “few” moorings actually meant two, and both of them were taken. No problem, we’ll save some money and anchor. I called Scuba St. Lucia, who runs the biking trips, to confirm that this would be OK. They assured me that it was BUT they also warned that if we dropped our anchor in coral, we would be fined $5000.00 US! The guide book confirms this, although it says up to $5000.00. Anyway, as you might imagine, that made us a bit nervous. Also, our awesome Garmin chartplotter showed basically no detail for the area, so we were going to be heading in using only our depth gauge and eyeballs.
If things weren’t complicated enough, the bay turned out to be pretty small and there was one boat already at anchor in the middle of it and he didn’t appear to be lying to the wind as a boat normally would. That is a good indication that he had a stern anchor set to hold him in place and as we came up alongside, we verified that this was the case. Great, that meant that we need to do the same. In retrospect, we should have pulled back out into deeper water, gotten ourselves organized and then came back in again when we were ready. Foolishly, we instead quickly picked our spot, dropped our main anchor and then while Rebecca tried to hold us in place with the engines, I quickly assembled our stern anchor (we keep it broken down in a bag in our lazarette) and made ready to deploy it. This is about when Simon came to lend a hand. Simon Pascal runs Giddy Up Tours and after a warm greeting, he took our stern anchor in his boat and started to take it out for us. He also helped to pull us away from the previously-mentioned boat at anchor, as we had started to drift into him. The entire experience involved a lot more steps, including a bunch of swimming to get that second anchor set, but as I’ve already written far too much on the anchor subject, I’ll stop here. I should mention though that right after all that stuff went down, the other boat left. Typical. At least we then had the place to ourselves. 🙂
The beach we are anchored off of is part of the Anse Chastanet Resort and it is beautiful. There is a nice little “beach bar” there, or what we thought was a beach bar. Our definition of beach bar is one that you can swim to, which is what we attempted to do after getting settled yesterday. Upon arriving though, we found a sign there saying that wet bathing suits were not welcome. Oh well, more money saved. 🙂
Anchorage: Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia
Internet on boat with Alfa: Yes. Free.
Internet on boat without Alfa: Yes. Free.
Internet on shore: NA