What do you do after sailing the Atlantic? This is the question facing ARC crews now that they have arrived in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. Each crew seems to have a different approach, but with one common theme – let’s have some fun!
The fun starts on the dockside, regardless of time of day or night, with an ice-cold rum punch made with delicious Saint Lucian Bounty Rum, and a welcome basket of local fruits, spices, hot sauce and yes, more rum! The post-arrival party, especially for those arriving around sundown, usually spills over into the Boardwalk Bar at Rodney Bay Marina. Hungary crews are well catered for with juicy stakes, crispy pizza and spicy creole dishes on offer at the dockside restaurants and those on the beach at Rodney Bay.
Sleep is probably next on the list, having been at sea for 20+ days, fatigue catches up and long sultry sleeps are enjoyed in the tropical heat, unbroken by calls for watch changes or the need to put in an urgent reef for an approaching squall.
Once crews have found their land-legs again, then there is a huge array of tours and activities to engage and entertain the visitors. For the active crews, one of the most popular trips is to Soufriere where visitors can hike up the 800m high Gros Piton, one of Saint Lucia’s two iconic volcanic plugs which dominate the island’s skyline. Hikers often relax after their exercise with a trip to the nearby volcanic mud pools and a rinse in the crystal waters of the Piton waterfalls.
Nature lovers can join bird watching trips, hiking through Saint Lucia’s mountainous rainforests. High-line zip wires are an exciting way to whizz through the rainforest canopy, or for the less energetic there are gondolas from which to enjoy the rainforest views and wildlife.
Dive excursions are very popular, with lots of crews wanting to spend time underwater exploring the reefs and wrecks around the coast. There are corals, wall dives, superb underwater wildlife and an artificial reef, purposely created to promote fisheries by sinking a large ship in 1986 – ideal for dive exploration.
Another ‘not to be missed’ active experience is a horse trek through the forest on the west coast, which culminates in a beach ride and a chance to swim with the horses, quite magical.
Those looking to relax after their Atlantic crossing are also well served with spa treatments, massages, and exotic beauty treatments. Visits to the Saint Lucia Distillers rum distillery are always popular as is a visit to the Project Chocolat estate where locally grown cocoa beans are processed into delicious chocolate. Reduit Beach, a short dinghy ride from the marina, or the national historic landmark at Pidgeon Island are great places to relax, take a swim and enjoy a snack at a beachside bar. So whether you are energised by your Atlantic crossing or needed some ‘R n’ R’ ashore, Saint Lucia has everything an ARC sailor needs.