Tuesday, August 9, 2016

31-32. It's Not Rio…But It’s Pretty Awesome!


Many of you know our ultimate goal on this trip was making it to Rio for the Olympics.  Getting a later start than we had originally planned and having way too much fun on our journey south meant too much ground to cover and too little time to get there.  For a very long time now I’ve been holding out hope that we would just leave the boat somewhere and travel to Brazil anyway but after much consideration that proved to be very cost prohibitive.  So here we are in St Lucia instead and when it comes down to it, it may have worked out for the better.  (That’s not to say there weren't a few tears while watching the opening ceremonies on a screen instead of feeling the boom of the fireworks firsthand.)  But after those few moments of disappointment, I could look around at the faces of my fam and feel the thankfulness overflowing in my heart.  We are having an amazing journey to places we may never see again and making relationships with people who have changed our lives forever.  So we will gladly cheer on Team USA from various tiki bars in the southern Caribbean!

Now to recap the adventures of the last two weeks :)
Before leaving Dominica we bought some fresh tuna from a street vendor.
Looks a bit shady, right?  But you can't get more fresh than swimming a few hours before it hits your stomach and it made the most amazing sushi!

Our sail to Martinique had some rain,
some sun, 
some fishing
and some fun!  

We anchored in St Pierre, a beautiful little French town on the northwest coast of Martinique.
    Can't beat the view from my galley port! -St Pierre, Martinique
The locals host an amazing produce market every day and even more vendors on the weekend.  We bought local cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, green beans, carrot, avocado, peppers, lime, and some spice packs of chili powder, curry and a mix we used in a great chicken and rice dish.  I can't believe we didn't take any pics of the market but I think I was too busy supervising Andrew’s negotiating, French numbers are not his strength ;)
St Pierre is not far from the Canal des Esclaves / Canal de Beauregard and was on Andrew’s list of “must sees”!  
The canal was built by slaves to bring water from the mountains down to the coastal towns for plantations and distilleries.  
Work on the canal began in 1772, taking 17 years to complete and it was used as a water source up until 1956.  
Words will not be able to do it justice and I’m not sure the pictures even depict how extraordinary a feat it must have been to build, bringing rocks up the mountain on their back, with sheer faces to work on and fall off!  
But the views are unparalleled!
 
    Resorting to selfies to prove I'm here too!
The hike is fairly simple.
A slow and steady incline but flat easy path along the cap of the canal wall.  
A fear of heights might have been challenging but you know I live with dare devils.  
The top of the canal wall is 18-24” wide and sometimes the only place to stand on the sheer mountainside.  
We hiked for 1.5 hrs to the falls at the start of the canal
where we could jump into the very cool pool at the base of the falls for a bit of refreshment before heading back down the mountain.  
There is a beautiful little restaurant about 20 minutes from the top where we enjoyed/ inhaled a vanilla creme brûlée, chocolate creme brûlée and coconut flan so fast that I didn't have a chance to snap a picture!  
 
It was the perfect day for a hike
with bright sunshine, the occasional sprinkle to cool us off
and we made it back to the boat just before sundown.
We loved our stay in St Pierre but needed to make it further south.  Once the dinghy was hauled and secured we remembered we needed some ballyhoo for fishing bait so Sky offered to swim ashore to get it at the market.  
The locals thought she was so cute that they gave her the ballyhoo for free.

    Pulling into Fort de France, Martinique.
Fort de France is a large city with a beautiful park on the bay.  
    Abby is anchored just above Paige.
We played, enjoyed McDonald’s fries and free wifi and had some great provisioning at a proper grocery store before heading on to St Lucia.
    Local kids training for the sailing races that were the following weekend.

The first and probably most popular bay on the north of St Lucia is Rodney Bay.  
The shores are lined with resorts and restaurants.  Legend says the British hid their entire fleet here from the pursuing French by tucking into the bay and tying palm fronds to their masts.  It is a great hurricane hole with lots of amenities close by.  We enjoyed tying up to the dock for a few days of A/C and were pleasantly surprised to meet a new kid boat, Time Chaser.  
    Girls with Time Chaser crew.
The girls have been missing friends since parting ways with our buddies Aqua Vida and Take Two!  They disappeared to the pool with their new friends while Andrew got us checked in and I got us settled in.  Having an Island Water World marine supply within walking distance is pricey, yet productive and Andrew can always find a new project.  It’s even better when he can find good local help to handle one project while he works on another!  
Andrew tackled a new refrigeration system while Vision refinished all our teak hand rails and trim.
He worked tirelessly for 2.5 days, to get done in time for us to leave in good weather, and had a smile on his face the entire time.  He even introduced Andrew to a new fruit, sweetsop, and gave us the biggest mango we’ve ever seen!  
It wasn't all hard work though.  We took Time Chaser out on the Hobie cats for Andrew to do a little sailing instruction while the kids had one of their own to go crazy on!  
 
The girls and I snuck away for a movie night.  
     Secret Life of Pets!  Note the cows in front of the theatre.
And we had a great night of Indian food with our friends from Alley Cat.  
    My crazies working on their best Zoolander looks.
We haven't gotten to experience much of St Lucia’s natural beauty yet but we are enjoying ourselves and can see why some people stop here and don't even continue south.

Things learned aboard this week:
Having a destination is important but experiencing the journey is what life is all about!  Had we not planned on Rio, we could very easily still be at our home dock in Jax, working on various boat projects.  Having a goal/ deadline is what got us off the dock and for that I am thankful.  But I would not sacrifice the places we’ve been, the things we’ve learned or the people we’ve met over the past 7 months to be in the Olympic village right now; and I think that says a lot because I really wanted to be there!  So don't get so caught up in pushing through to the end result that you miss out on the awesome that is happening right here and now.  As my friend Tanya says, “Take a cookie when the plate is passed” because you may not get this opportunity again!

We are getting our first taste of the beauty that is to come in St Lucia.  We’ll keep you posted!

11 comments:

  1. Impossible not to smile.
    Yhank you, Summer, for sharing your trip with us.

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  2. Impossible not to smile.
    Yhank you, Summer, for sharing your trip with us.

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  3. Such a great experience! And I totally agree with your closing statement - the goal/journey part AND the cookie part! 😉 Love to all!

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  4. You didn't redirect to the Olympics but you are sure winning your own gold. Beanie

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  5. You didn't redirect to the Olympics but you are sure winning your own gold. Beanie

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  6. Great post of this continuing adventure. I can't wait to follow some of your examples soon. Looking forward to the next edition.

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  7. Great post of this continuing adventure. I can't wait to follow some of your examples soon. Looking forward to the next edition.

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