St. Lucia is a beautiful island. The iconic Pitons, both Gross and Petit, are deservedly world famous and never fail to be included in tropical photographs of the Caribbean. The geography of the island has these pinnacle like mountains throughout, covered by lush vegetation. Driving on the roads, there are no “highways”, is challenging as the steep topography and hairpin turns are not for the faint of heart. We did the car tour the last time we were on the island. This year we decided to do little of that but remained, for most part, in Rodney Bay and/or the marina. Blame the pandemic for our reluctance to travel around.
We did however, after hauling the boat for a few days to get the bottom painted, sail down the coast to Marigot Bay. It’s just a little past Castries. As mentioned above the geography of St. Lucia with its old volcanoes and cones is very steep. This applies to the coastline also. Just off the coastline, the depth drops to hundreds of feet deep and you can do little to safely anchor. It’s just too deep. Rodney Bay is an exception. The other exception to the general rule is the small indents along the shoreline, almost like small fjords or bays with steep sides. Such is the case of Marigot Bay.
Half of the inner bay is home to the Marigot Bay Resort and Marina. A relatively high end resort, although St. Lucia is home to many. It is one that you can dock at. There are also moorings to be had but we were advised not to use them. The management of the resort recently changed hands and the moorings have not been “serviced” and could break loose. The resort itself is impressive, blending in well with the surrounding hills. You could do little to improve the location. The other half of the bay is lined with mangroves. All very lush, especially during the summer “rainy” season.
We took a berth at the “fuel dock”. Troy, the marina manager took our lines as we came alongside. It was one of only few slips that was available for “alongside” dockage. For the 5 days we were there, it was fine.
Since this is still the off season, the resort was not very busy. In fact, the marina complex of boutiques were mostly closed and the restaurants (pricey) were opened on a rotation basis. The pools were open and the general atmosphere was very laid back. It was a place to do little other than relax. Cruiser friends, Jim and Meryl on Kokomo and Lisa and Pierre on BioTrek were there so we did have company.
Besides the marina resort, there are other local restaurants, bars, shops and trails for those who like to climb hills.
Across the bay, Doolittles, offered a free water shuttle to their beach front restaurant. The name comes from the 1967 film Dr. Dolittle where it was partly filmed. Nothing other than the name of the film is noted.
Reading the history of the film (thanks Wikipedia) confirmed that the Island scenes were filmed here. Working on the way over budget film (considering the restaurant prices, I don’t doubt it) it apparently was not like working in paradise. The following is from Wikipedia:
In October 1966, scenes were later shot in Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia; this location was equally problematic, and problems with insects and frequent tropical storms delayed filming and left eight crew members bedridden due to vomiting, diarrhea, and high fever. The final scene with a giant snail was complicated not only by the poor design of the large prop, but because the island’s children had recently been struck by a gastrointestinal epidemic caused by freshwater snails, and mobs of angry locals threw rocks at it. Around this time, Jacobs was hospitalized after having a heart attack. Within a month, filming had fallen 39 days behind schedule in which the production crew had to decamp back to California for reshoots.
Well paradise always looks better on film. Our stay did not involve any tropical storm but we were glad we had enough netting to keep away the “no-seeums”. Did I mention half the bay (and along the marina docks) is lined with mangroves? The snails seem to be under control and the locals were nothing but very friendly. The film lost almost 11 million dollars. It did however win 5 awards including 2 Oscars and a Golden Globe award. Who knew?
We will soon leave St. Lucia and head to Antigua as the hurricane season is just about over. Our stay in Marigot was a pleasant diversion to do little and we could see visiting again, especially if their moorings are up to snuff. In Antigua we may do more than the little we did here. Hey, that sounds like a movie title – Domore!