Not all strangers are kind. In fact not all people you spend time with and get to know turn out to be kind either.
It is saddening to me that I am left feeling bitter and resentful about St Lucia even though I met many amazing people and, for the most part, had a great time.
I did promise not only to tell half the story. So here’s the other side of travelling – in St Lucia I was lied to, manipulated, used, threatened, followed and eventually, on what should have been my final night on the island, robbed at apparent gun point. I suspected there was no gun which was why the three men had to rip my bag off my arm while I, perhaps stupidly, grabbed at the guy with the “gun” then gave chase while the other two cowardly scumbags jumped back into the van with the waiting driver. (4 guys to rob me – these boys must be proud!)
So leaving the island with frightened, no money, bank cards, phone or camera it was difficult for me to focus on the incredible experiences and fun generous people I met while there. So I write this not just to tell you a story but to remind myself to focus on the good.
Well, arriving after 19 days at sea on a small boat with no fridge and no shower you can probably imagine the first two priorities for us was to wash then eat some good food. So after a quick clean up on the boat off we went for the most blissful cold trickling shower I’ve ever had!
It’s New Years Eve and we are on dry land so naturally we are wondering where the party will be that night. Within 30 minutes we’re talking to a rather eccentric, rather hungover English guy. He is there to visit friends who are working on a boat. Stu will soon become a good friend and a big part of my life in St Lucia. After a trip to town to try and find some accommodation (somehow unsuccessfully), Tanya, myself and our new friend Stu hit the marina bar for a quick beer before taking a walk to the boat his friends are working on. Now this isn’t just any boat – it’s a pirate ship! Little did I know that in the days ahead I would be calling this ship home.
We end up seeing the new year in, not dancing on a beach or in a bar or club but on Stu’s friends own private boat out at anchor, away from the crowds. I imagined after so long at sea it would be the last thing we would want to do but, in fact, it was the perfect evening. With the beautiful unconventional family – Stu’s friend Chris, his partner Ali, his strange little 13 year old daughter Noa (who collects rocks and has pet snails and who I now think of like a little sister) and 84 year old Capitan Kirk – one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
The next day we are soon offered a place to stay on a yacht with a professional skipper who sails for a living. We spend the following days sailing or having trips out on the dingy to beautiful beaches while enjoying good conversation, a little too much rum and a lot of laughs!
Tanya and myself have by this point decided to go our separate ways for now. She flew to Grenada to meet a capitan and begin another adventure from there. She is doing well and enjoying cruising the Caribbean!
But as I mentioned – the pirate ship would soon be my home… One day I go to visit the ship and find Noa struggling with her maths work (she lives on a boat so is home-schooled) I offer her some help and suddenly find myself with a new place to stay and a little bit of cash in exchange for maths lessons.
For the first week or so I stay on the boat with just the 3 local guys who work on board and find myself on many an adventure – beach days, BBQs, street parties, boat parties and a fantastic day when they invited me to Sefrou with a group of their friends for a road trip, music, dancing, waterfalls, swimming and a serious feast (these Rastas know how to cook – no disposable BBQs or frozen burgers here).
Once Capitan Kirk, Chris and his family and eventually Stu all move on board it is becoming a busy place with us all sleeping up on deck while work is being done down below in the engine room and cabins. I have been in St Lucia for sometime by then and realise I must move on (and as I mentioned all these good times had coincided with some rather shitty times) This is when I meet Capitan Rui who agrees I can sail with him for a week or so before he has to return to St Lucia.
And there my new adventure begins…!
My time in St Lucia was filled with so many incredible people and great experiences. I will not let the actions of one sad bullying individual allow me to stop believing in the kindness of strangers!
(Unfortunately I have no photos, as mentioned my phone and GoPro have been stolen. Only the above one that some kind stranger took as we sailed into Martinique then later found our boat and sent me them)