Our search for a dinghy engine brought us to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, where we found the last Yamaha 8hp 2-stroke for sale in all of Eastern Caribbean. Ironically, if it were not for needing to replace our stolen engine, we would have skipped this port completely, given its reputation for being a hotbed of boat crime.
We’d only set foot on St. Lucian soil for one minute when a local man (drinking a beer, 9AM) approached us on our way to the Customs office. He’d noticed that we’d rowed in, and he wanted to sell us an engine. We played along and told him what we wanted. He said it would take him a little time, but he could find us one “used but like new”. Perhaps we’d see our engine again after all! I wonder how many sailors willingly participate in this black market, knowing full well that the engines they purchase are stolen from fellow cruisers.
After clearing customs and purchasing our new (legit) engine from the dealership, we decided to spend the rest of the day avoiding the scorching heat swimming in the pool at the Rodney Bay Marina, followed by glorious showers with hot water, the first we’ve had since our marina stay in Puerto Rico back in May (Pro tip for sailors – pick up a mooring ball in the lagoon and use of the marina facilities is included for a very reasonable price). On our mooring ball, we took full advantage of daily visits from Gregory the fruit guy, wrestled with our very damaged mainsail, and took the dinghy into town to provision and chow down on chicken roti and other West Indian delights.
Maybe it’s our newfound paranoia or the fact that we continued to have random, sketchy encounters in well-lit areas all around town, but we just didn’t like the vibe in St. Lucia. We decided to skip some very beautiful anchorages to avoid harassment from the infamous “boat boys” further down island and the headache of worrying about security. A 2AM departure made for a very long, zesty sail to Bequia, our first stop in The Grenadines. At least we had some beautiful views along the way.
*Our friend Justin used to say this about his home state of Florida.