Friday, April 11, 2014

Unforgettable time with Philly friends in St. Lucia

Philly crew (and Hanna) on Gros Piton in St. Lucia
So it really happened! Four couples from Old City, Philadelphia made the trek down to St. Lucia and we were able to spend several amazing days with them. Michael, Mary, John, Megan, Ben, Jackie, John, and Maria got to experience a taste of the adventure. So much happened during our few days, it's hard to fit it all into the blog!

Upon arrival, Dana and I were quick to visit Michael, Mary, John, Meghan, Ben, and Jackie at their villa. We got updated on everything going on in Philly since we left and had a fun evening together. The next morning we were up early to embark on a adventurous hike up Gros Piton along with Hanna. St. Lucia is famous for the Pitons, Gros and Petit. We decided to hike Gros, the taller one. We ended up getting there a bit late and the hike was more arduous than expected. We made it to the halfway point before turning back and were treated to a spectacular view of Petit Piton and the open ocean. Afterward, we had a drink at the luxurious Ladera Hotel where we watched the sunset behind both Pitons. It was an amazing day.

Steep hike up Gros Piton
View of Petit Piton
View from Ladera
But the day wasn't over yet! We spent the night at a street party, where locals and tourists alike come to dance in the streets. We had a delicious grilled fish dinner in an open air tent before heading to the dance. Things started getting a bit crazy later in the night (i.e. Michael lost his phone to a pick pocket), so we decided to take off. We needed a lot of sleep that night after such an eventful day!

Enjoying the Gros Islet street party
The second full day of their visit was spent on Eventyr. Three of the couples joined Hanna, Dana and I on our floating home for a sail. We had great wind and booked south along the coast at close to 7 knots! Everyone was having a great time, and spirits weren't even dampened by a passing shower and building seas. On our way home, we pulled into a calmer spot and anchored to do some swimming and snorkeling off the boat. In no time we were having a diving competition, and I'm still not sure who won, although Meghan's back dive might have taken it. It was awesome having so many people enjoying themselves aboard Eventyr. It's rare she is used just for fun and not as transportation to our next port of call.

Welcoming the Philly crew aboard Eventyr

The Philly ladies on the foredeck as we left the marina
Ben taking a turn at the helm
Dance party on Eventyr's fore deck
Meghan and Dana competing. Nice form!
John and I in a synchronized dive

The whole crew in Eventyr's cockpit under sail
That night was exciting as well. We got to watch UConn beat Florida to go to the NCAA championship game. We basically took over the bar and surprised the other patrons with UConn chants and enthusiastic cheering. UConn went on to win the national championship, which really capped off this amazing year of college basketball.

Make the free throw!
The final full day together was spent as a beach day and Dana and I were able to join all four couples at their resort's beach. It was a pleasant, relaxing day, and everyone was able to wind down and get ready for return to real life (except Dana, Hanna, and I who will continue on with our adventure lifestyle). Ben and Mary were down for the count with some kind of bug, but the rest of the group were able to enjoy the beach. The night was capped off with a fantastic dinner attended by the four couples (excluding the sickies), a fifth couple from Philly down as well, Hanna, Dana and I.

Toasting our final day at the beach with Gasolina (thanks to Mary who brought them)
Doing plank on the beach (Lithe on location)
We said good bye on Monday and were sad to see them leave. We look forward to seeing the whole crew back in Old City once we return. Dana, Hanna, and I spent the last several days sanding and varnishing. Vision and Mesheena, who did our initial sanding and varnishing, will do the final coat to make it look nice. We were proud of ourselves for doing the five coats in between. It's really tough work but it's all part of the adventure! Not to complain about a bit of work, though :-)

Almost the final coat. Looking good!
Tomorrow we leave the Rodney Bay Marina to head further south in St. Lucia. Next week we'll make the jump down to Bequia, in the Grenadines. We're about ready to ramble on.