|Rodney Bay, St. Lucia||Southbound|
Rodney Bay Marina is destination for the Atlantic Ralley for Cruisers which dominates the scene when the European Ralley/Race comes in in December. Anchoring is best outside near Pigeon Island where one can enjoy the radio traffic and watch the boats come in.The new docks are much easier on the gelcoat but a long way from anywhere. There is talk of getting golf carts for transport as it is nearly 1/2 mile from the outermost pier to the parking lot. A whole lot of money and cement has been poured into the lagoon. Everyone hopes it will pay off in terms of increased employment on the island. It is clearly going to change the family orientation of the marina and is moving much more into the cruiseship version of the Caribbean. I hope it doesn't result in further segregation of the locals and the tourists and that the Lucians maintain their easygoing attitude in the face of all this money passing through. So far, it represents the kind of gentrification by outsiders that usually leaves the original dwellers in the lurch.
Rodney Bay itself has a huge capacity to hold cruising boats and you can anchor anywhere in the bay. Our favorite anchorage is outside roughly where the two boats are anchored just above the rail. This is a compromise anchoring spot. It keeps us out of the main PWC zone located to the south of the channel entering the lagoon. We can swim here and it is still a reasonable ride into the marina. The inner lagoon is very handy to everything but the mud is notoriously sticky and you really don't want to swim inside the lagoon. The other main anchorage is just below the fort at Pigeon Island. The holding there is very tricky, its a little far to the marina and it is hard not to damage the reefs when anchoring.
The inner lagoon with the marina is entered through a narrow cut just to the left of where the cannon is aimed. If you are deep draft, check the current depth in the channel, some of the bigger ARC boats can't get in.
The view from the top of the fort at pigeon Island. There is an extensive national park and museum out at pigeon island (no longer an island as the island was joined to the mainland with fill taken from the inner lagoon at Rodney Bay.) The park, museum and extensive fortifications are well worth the nominal charge for their use. The view from the top of the fort is spectacular. Snorkeling is good at the base of the island.
Rodney Bay Marina is home to Island Waterworld, a duty free chandlery (and home to Ian Cowen, the nicest and most helpful person in the Caribbean). There are several good grocery stores, a reasonable mall, a good dentist, and Johnson's (an excellent hardware store) within dinghy or walking distance of Rodney Bay. The jump-up in Gros Islet is famous and Castries has a spectacular market.
There are good dollar buses running all over at all times and taxis and pubs are plentiful.
The Rodney Bay boatyard will give you a discount if you are there more than one year. Ricky is the travelt lift operator and is one of the few practicing that profession I have met who is not permanently in foul mood. (Doubly amazing considering that he has to keep the lift operating). Its easy to get on and off the fuel dock (shown just west of the pub).
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