Posted by: bearcruzer | November 15, 2010

A story worth retelling!

November 2 – 4

With the seas calming down, we opted to move DD off the docks at Rodney Bay Marina.  Although power was available to some yachts we were never able to get it working at our dock.   The entire Island is without running water except for what is caught or stored in individual cisterns.   The local radio station broadcasts a continuous series of how to gather and sanitize water to drink as well as requests for assistance and where to drop off food, clothes, bottled water, etc. for those less fortunate.  We took a walk with Ken and Katy of s/v Diana around the town.   Rodney Bay is better off than much of the Island, as power has been restored to many of the homes and business.   It is interesting seeing how many have had to adjust their business practices to continue to function without running water.    We did find one working restroom in the new mall but most public restrooms are closed.     We walked up around the point on what appeared to be a well maintained trail.  It turned out it is maintained for use by people who want to rent Segue’s for a low impact Island Adventure.   We got same experience for a lot less money and got some exercise to boot!   As we made our way along the path I was saddened to see a small dead hummingbird on the trail, the smallest victim of Tomas.    We continued on and came across a couple of men working to clear a small mudslide that had blocked part of the trail.   We talked to them for a few minutes, inquiring after their families and they were happy to tell us they were all well and making do without fresh water.    When we asked where the trail led?  They said up to the rock face fishpond.   When we asked what was beyond that.   We were told we shouldn’t go further as “there be Jumbies up their Mon and it not be Safe”.     After our hike, we stopped at a beach bar on our way back to our boats where we ran into a group of Americans who we learned had been constructing a series of zip lines for a tour company in the forest outside the town of Soufriere.     With massive mudslides and loss of life, Soufriere was the hardest hit town in St. Lucia.   This bunch were an interesting group of rugged mountain men,  many of which were heavily tattooed with menacing artwork.  They regaled us with their story of their time here on St. Lucia.    They told us of awakening one morning to find they had been robbed.  They reported the robbery to the local authorities and then decided that they would use their tracking skills to see if they might locate the thief themselves and retrieve some of their belongings.     The trail led from their bungalow into the forest, where the men discovered an intricate well hidden system of trails, water catchment systems and hideouts.   They knew they were on the right trail when they came across some of their own paperwork from a stolen briefcase.    When the thief saw this mud covered undaunted group of strangers coming toward him he took off running and the chase began.    They tracked and chased this elusive Island bushman through the forest for 5 days and nights, at times having to double back to pick up his trail.    This accomplished thief, who previously had always been able to slip into the forest to elude the authorities must have been astounded and outraged to find himself having to play cat and mouse in what had been his safe haven for so long.   Finally this crew of maverick foreigners succeeded in flushing the thief from the bush and into the hands of the local authorities.   However, the thief and his family’s subculture of witchcraft and jumbies, was well know within the dark undercurrent of this local town.    His gang, were none too happy when they heard of the details of his arrest and the part played by this group of outsiders.   The Americans comfort level with remaining in Soufriere deteriorated further with the subsequent suicide, by hanging, of this same thief while incarcerated.   They suddenly had the unwanted attention of this seedy group.   They even resorted to keeping 2 men on night watch during the remainder of their stay.   Then, to add insult to injury, Tomas hit.   Soufriere was completely cut off by road from the rest of the Island.   Because of the work they had been doing, they had at their disposal chainsaws and began clearing the roads of debris after the storm.  They were met with smiles and thumbs up from many of the residents of the town and scowls and death threats from the gang of hoodlums.   Needless to say, with everything they had been through, they were very relieved to finally catch a boat away from Soufriere and were celebrating with a few beers.   With the main airport closed, they did not know how soon they would be able to book tickets back to the States and spoke of stowing away aboard ship.   What a story!    As we stood together enjoying the sunset and with a gleam in their now glassy eyes, they asked “So which boat is yours?”

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