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15 April 2011

Greetings from St. Lucia (or, 6 more miles to go!)

Hard to believe, but the WARC is nearly over. The Fleet's gathered in
Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, just down the coast from the "finish line" up by
Rodney Bay. We'll be heading out tomorrow (Saturday) morning to parade
up the coast, picking up a spectator fleet along the way, and finish
where it all began 15 months ago.

The finish crew are Casey and Heidi, Sean and Sofia, joined by Bill (who
did the first legs) and Anne (delivery & some Indian ocean) and her
husband Jon (WT newbie, taking the weekend off from his last few weeks
at law school!).

The gang took in some of the St. Lucia sights today, with a water taxi
down the western coast to see the Pitons (huge, steep volcanic peaks)
lunch at a nifty resort, and snorkeling on the way home. (Great fish,
excellent coral; the only problems were the small schools of jellyfish
we had to dodge.)

The town names as we went by were great - a favorite seems to translate
as "Beach of Pigs" (apparently there were lots of wild boar in the area
years ago.)

We also got to see the enormous pipeline where twice yearly the ship
comes with molasses for the rum factory. Our guides said that sometimes
small leaks form, and kids often go to look for and collect the molasses

The terrain itself was also quite amazing. The island is volcanic
(areas still have bubbling hot springs and sulfur gas) and the coastline
is a mix of different types of rock in multiple layers and colors, all
with a bright green coating of tropical plants on top. One big vertical
crack in one of the cliffs is locally (and logically) called the "Bat
Cave". We pulled in as close as we could get the boat and could hear
and just see the bats flitting about in the shadows.

And the water taxi boat itself was of interest to such a flock of boat
geeks - small, incredibly sea-worthy, and handled very well even in
waves. Our guides, Carlos Wilson and Yatta St. Croix, said that they
sometimes load the things up with extra tanks of gas and take the boats
over to Martinique, some 30 miles away. Wow!

There's a dinner gathering tonight for the whole fleet, then tomorrow
we're up and out late morning, should be wrapping it up (with, one
expects, still more festivities) by mid-afternoon.

More, we hope, tomorrow (or maybe Sunday depending on the festivity
level experienced...) No matter what, we'll take lots of photos!

- Anne, for WT

13 57.904 N
61 01.394 W
6:41 PM (local, same as EDT) 15 April 2011