We are between voyages and remain in St. Lucia. The pandemic continues in most countries as travel restrictions remain or evolve almost day by day. Here in St. Lucia, no new cases in over 3 weeks, no current infections, and the island itself has the lowest cases per 100,000 population of all the Caribbean islands. They did a great job controlling it and even began to allow tourists to come to some resorts after they undergo testing and restricted travel. Soon it will be the start of the new tourist season so we’ll see how that goes. Our Sunday Dominoes and some touring keeps us busy between video zooms, books and NetFlix.
When we were in Trinidad for the season one of the reasons to fly back to New York was for routine doctor checkups. Since we were here, Maureen did schedule a dermatologist checkup for us and a cardiac doctor for herself. The cardiac doctor, in conjunction to a call that Maureen made to her doctor in New York, did some tests and medicine checkups and all is well. The dermatologist exam was very thorough and found 3 spots on me. She recommended that the two on my scalp be removed by a surgeon. That was done at Tapion Hospital and we are awaiting the biopsy report and don’t expect it will be too serious. All in all, the medical system looks sufficient and capable. What I noticed in the few doctors we saw was in their offices. They didn’t have the “staff” (assistants, secretaries, billers, etc) that are found in our NY doctor’s offices. However, considering how the country is controlling the pandemic, there is nothing to complain about.
The other major reason why we are “between voyages” is the hurricane season, or more specifically to avoid hurricanes. I did a post awhile back, Where Will My Hurricanes Be, part of which was also published in the Caribbean Compass, a Caribbean monthly newspaper. A bit of an update, now that we are in the peak of the season.
Ok, it Is definitely an active “season”. As of today there is a storm over Bermuda, a storm heading to New Orleans, a few storms heading across the Atlantic and a brewing weather system that will come off Africa. NOAA originally predicted 13-19 named storms back in May. In August they upped it to 19-25 (7-11 hurricanes 3-6 major hurricanes). The Eastern Caribbean already have had 3 named storms, no hurricanes, of the 19 named storms so far this season. The last time there were over 20 storms was in 2005 with 28 storms. If there is any consolation, only 2 tropical storms and one hurricane crossed the Lesser Antilles that year: in the St Vincent and Grenada area. So far this season only three of the 19 named storms have crossed the Eastern Caribbean. But as they say past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Fingers crossed for the rest of the season.
This is our first time in the “Hurricane Box” and so we are mindful of the possibilities. So far so good. In any case Rodney Bay Marina seems to be a good place to ride out any storms that come this way. In a larger sense, the fear of being here in the hurricane season may seem a little bit out of proportion. Yes, the danger exists but there are ways to deal with it, not the least of which is to sail away from the storm. The weather at this time of the year is notably different than in the “winter”. The Trade winds are down, no northerly swells, the water temperature is about 5 degrees higher, less crowded islands – it’s the off season – air temperature is also about 5 degrees higher (still with breezes but not as strong). Humidity is about the same year-round. Squalls don’t seem to be anymore prevalent than at other times, although they are usually heavier and the island looks greener. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, cruising among the islands might be more enjoyable than in the “winter”.
In a few weeks, we plan to haul the boat here for some bottom paint and prepare for our next voyage. Of course, it all depends on the pandemic restrictions but hopefully we can find an opportunity to fly north for some over-due visits. In the meantime, our in-between voyages became our Retired-in-Paradise time until Cruising-in-Paradise resumes.