21 March 2009

Anse La Raye, St Lucia

Anchored off Anse Cochon
St Lucia Island
Caribbean Sea

  • 85 miles from SV Christa!!!
  • 7 days till Mom Sherman & Dr. Bob arrive!!!
  • 1 day till Sam from Utah makes a guest arrival!!!
We left Soufriere yesterday morning and made the short 6 mile motor up the leeward coast of St Lucia and dropped the hook in a small bay off the even smaller fishing village Anse La Raye. We had read that there was a street party and fish fry every Friday so we decided we must attend. There was only one bit of drama on this passage when one of my flip-flops flew over the side and we had to make a recovery.

St Lucia’s leeward coast is all a marine sanctuary and they have set up mooring buoys all down the coast. The down side to this is that it is quite expensive when saying more then one day. Because of this we look for the limited areas where anchoring is allowed such as this small bay that has a nice sandy bottom.

We paddled ashore at sunset and the party was setting up all along the main street on the waterfront. The town of Anse La Raye is only a couple streets with many small houses all crammed together. Many of the houses are just boards and tin roofs. On the beach were several large backhoes that had been digging large holes with small Japanese men in white hard hats scurrying about. Turns out that Japan has donated 15 million dollars and engineers to rebuild the waterfront for the fishermen. They will have a new jetty and places to store their boats along with a market to sell their fish.

It all looks nice of Japan to do this, but then comes what they want in return. They want St Lucia’s vote in the U.N. so they can resume whaling, and they want access to St Lucia’s fisheries. It is nice that Japan wants to help the fishermen here. But it makes no sense for St Lucia allows Japan to fish their waters because there will be no fish left for the fishermen to bring back to their new waterfront facility.

There were tables all along the street with ladies cooking all different kinds of seafood in open barrels full of burning charcoal. Also every table had many bottles of different liquors and beers where you can buy a drink and walk around. We quickly discovered that the beer prices were double what they should normally be, so we popped our head into a small store that sold just about everything. It too was a small bar with a large TV showing American Wrestling. The 88-year-old owner who claims to have 15 children. He told us he loves watching wrestling, and he  sold us the cheapest beers we have had in the Caribbean, making his store our new favorite spot.

Bus loads of tourists arrive early, eat all they can, then are out of town by 9pm leaving us with all the locals drinking beer in the streets At each end of the main street are DJ’s spinning tunes out of a massive stacks of speakers. They compete to see which end of the street people favor the most. Our favorite Rasta DJ, Richard, aka ‘Sharkin’, on the south end of the street was quite pleased when Amy starting requesting some popular island dance hall songs we hear on the radio. He didn’t have one of the songs requested then a local walking by said he had the song on his cell phone. So he hooked his phone to the speakers and had the whole street dancing. 

Sharkin told us his boss wanted him to play country music figuring it would draw the tourists down to his end of the street. But picturing this Rasta Man spinning out country songs seemed a bit bizarre to us and we told him if he started playing country music we would go hang out with his competitor down the street.

My favorite spot was in town a bit where a lady had a karaoke machine set up on the sidewalk. It was quite exciting watching the inebriated local men belting out Elton John and Laura Branigan hits at the top of their lungs while dancing around.

We are very glad we made the decision to come to Anse La Raye and we were the only boat in the anchorage, which is quite rare in the Caribbean. This gets our vote as a ‘very cool town’ and is one of the rare towns where there are only islanders living here. Everyone is very friendly and all wave hello as we walked around. If you are in St. Lucia on a Friday night, make sure you stop by!
Current plans are to motor up the coast 1.5 miles to Marigot Bay where we will be spending the weekend waiting for the arrival of friend Sam who is flying in for the week from Utah.  Then we head up to Rodney Bay to meet up with Cap’ Chris on S/V Christa.

More later from the next bay,
Tom and Amy

Note from Amy:
Sharkin introduced us to a few new artists, my new favorite being ‘Busy Signal’ from Jamaica. Check him out

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