St. Lucia to Grenada - Day 3 Arrival in St. Vincent
I am an early riser and wake up at daybreak, which maddens me sometimes. But, today it didn't. I needed no alarm clock to get us up and out of Soufriere on St. Lucia. At daybreak, we dropped our mooring in a New York minute and took off toward St. Vincent, trying to escape the boat boys and vendors who have surrounded us like hungry seagulls from the moment we arrived at the anchorage. Soufriere is a little rough around the edges, and many of the islanders are just trying to make a living the best they know how, which often times is not to a cruiser's advantage. As an example, when we left for our restaurant last night, we didn't want to leave the boat unattended, so we paid someone to watch it for us. But, in a true Catch 22 situation, had we not hired someone, word would've been out around town that a charter boat was left unattended, thus leaving us wide open for a break in while we were at dinner. Don't get me wrong, most of the people in town were very friendly and helpful, but the security guards at the dinghy dock and the marine management association turn a blind eye toward this and other kinds of shenanigans.
As we began our trek to St. Vincent, we read the cruising guide and noted that we would need to adjust our course to account for the equatorial current, which runs steadily from east to west. We headed about 30 degrees further to the east to account for the current pushing us west, but what we didn't account for was the local tide. In the Caribbean, the flood tide (incoming tide) sets to the east and the ebb tide (outgoing) sets to the west. It took us a while to realize that we were in the throes of an outgoing tide which was setting us to the west much further than we had figured, and setting us quickly. We pointed our boat to the east and our speed was 1.5 knots. We turned the boat 180 degrees and pointed directly to the west, our boat speed was 8 knots. Obviously a very strong current.
We had estimated our sail from Soufriere and the Pitons to the southern end of St. Vincent to take 9 hours, but because we had to fight an equatorial current and a raging tide, we finally arrived at the Blue Lagoon Marina salty and exhausted after 12 hours!