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 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

  Rodney Bay, St. Lucia Southbound

12/13/08 News from Rodney Bay

IGY, have things more or less ready for ARC 2008. The megayacht dock has already hosted a megayacht and several of the larger ARC boats are occupying slips there. The dredging is far from complete and a vessel with 13' draft repeatedly grounded on the way in. There is a wall along the boatyard and preparations for a fence. There are docks along the road and new floating docks out in lagoon. The original A and B docks are still in operation and the new docks are parallel and way out in the lagoon from there. Everything that holds still has been painted. Instant palm trees are plugged in everywhere and plugs of grass poked in the dirt between them.

3/18/07 News from Rodney Bay

IGY, the new owners, have been busy. The docks at the north end are all destroyed and a pile driver and jackhammers are working even on the weekends. The outer lagoon is off limits as it is being dredged with the spoils being placed on the former pasture at the south end of the outer lagoon. The Landings is open. The Eagles Nest is now Iguana and everything is more expensive

11/1/07 News from Rodney Bay

The new owners have effected no substantial changes at Rodney Bay except to raise the rates slightly (65 cents/foot no discounts). The new travellift is expected for at the end of 2008 as the small boats in the yard are too closely packed to admit the larger travellift. A new, larger pier for the travellift has been built to the east. The lift operates on it and the original western pier while a third new pier is built further west. When the new lift is ready, the remaining older pier will be removed. The JQ Mall pier at the southwestern corner of the inner lagoon has been replaced courtesty of the new condo developement at that site. The old computer business is torn down. Lion is no longer tied to the work dock. Unicorn continues to ply her trade briskly. Hurricane Dean has not caused much visible damage except to agriculture causing a bit of a banana and grapefruit shortage.


ARC finishers at the new RBM floating docks
ARC 2008 finishers on new floating docks
RBM Megayacht Dock
Rodney Bay Marina Megayacht dock and instant palm trees

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.

View of Rodney Bay from the Fort
View of Rodney Bay from the Fort
Rodney Bay Marina Construction
Rodney Bay Marina Under Construction

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.

ARC boats after the finish in Rodney Bay Marina
ARC 2006 participants in Rodney Bay Marina

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.





S/V Unicorn at Sunset in Rodney Bay
The Unicorn in Rodney Bay at sunset.
A number of boat rides leave from Rodney Bay for a sail, rum and dancing. They show people a really good time although some pay for it in the morning. Shown at right is the barquentine "Unicorn" as seen in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" . If you are lucky, they will fire the cannon at Fort Rodney and they always nimbly climb aloft and unfurl the sails. Sometimes, they feature a pan band and you always get the spectacular views of Saint Lucia.


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).

Fuel dock, boatyard and pub at Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
The Boatyard Pub, home of the best roti on the island
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