22 March 2009

Marigot Bay, St Lucia

Anchored Marigot Bay
St Lucia Island
Caribbean Sea

  • 85 miles from SV Christa!!!
  • 6 days till Mom Sherman & Dr. Bob arrive!!!
  • 1 day till Sam from Utah makes a guest arrival!!!
We left the friendly fishing village of Anse La Raye yesterday morning for the short 1.5 motor up to where we are currently anchored off the entrance to Marigot Bay. We had been looking forward to coming here as all the travel magazines have photos of this small bay and our guidebook states “Marigot Bay is a spectacular anchorage”. And other books state that this is the best anchorage in the Caribbean.

With high hopes we entered the channel to be greeted by the usual boat boys that lurk at every harbor entrance in this part of the Caribbean. They offer to tie you off to their mooring ball for $15.00 U.S. per night. Since being in the Windward Islands this is the usual scam for arriving charter boats.  They assume that they must take a mooring and fork out the cash. But everywhere we have been there has been plenty of room to anchor for free. We feel more secure using our own anchor as we have no idea what the mooring ball is connected to. And there is a good chance that our own ground tackle is stronger then what is under the mooring ball.

I am sure in years past that being anchored in Marigot Bay was a highlight of one's travels through the Windward Islands. But much has changed. Boats are no longer allowed to anchor in the small bay and now must pay for a mooring buoy. There are so many mooring balls stuffed in the harbor that there is nowhere to anchor. Charter boats that are based out of here and large yachts take up most the moorings in the harbor. The only place to anchor is right were we are located, just outside the channel entrance to the north where holding is poor.

There are several resorts inside the bay that we explored. And being resorts, they make prices for everything quite steep. From our short stop here this seems like a place that cruisers do not visit. As I am typing this out we are the only cruising boat here. All of the others are charters and mega yachts. I think this has to do with all the mooring balls and a lack of secure space to anchor. Also, the only facilities ashore belong to the resorts, with the exception of a couple restaurants.

We did make it over to the north side of the bay to Doolittle’s restaurant, hotel, and bar for happy hour and had a few drinks with English owner Dave who has owned the business for the last 15 years. He was one of the first businesses in the bay and has seen it go from an idyllic setting to the overbuilt, mooring ball infested bay that it has become. He was looking forward to the sale of his business very soon so he can take delivery of a brand new sailboat that he was planning on sailing around the world.

For all the hype about Marigot Bay, I give it a big ‘thumbs down’ unless you have lots of cash and are on a charter boat. Amy gives it a middle thumb because it is so picturesque.

Plans are to move up the coast about 12 miles to St Lucia’s main shipping port of Castries where we plan to get some grocery shopping done before we proceed up to Rodney Bay to meet up with Capn’ Chris of the S/V Christa. Friend Sam from Utah got held up and should be arriving in the next couple of days.

More when up island,
Tom and Amy

Note From Ron: The restaurant "Doolittle's" is named after the the 1967 film "Dr. Dolittle" starring Rex Harrison. They filmed the giant pink snail on the beach scene at Marigot Bay. But I'm not sure why the restaurant name is spelled with two O's instead of one. The official name only has one.

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