After a rather boring Christmas Eve in Martinique, we decided to go to St. Lucia for the New Year’s, because a local girl from Martinique had told us that they threw better parties at the neighbour island.

When we had decided on that and arranged to meet up with some friends, Henrik started going through the potential risks. (Henrik is very risk-aware and is always prepared for worst-case scenario, which I'm not, though I'm easy enough to scare!)

Trouble in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Last year, Henrik had read about a cruiser in Rodney Bay, who first got shot and then got into a knife fight, when locals had boarded his boat. A fellow cruiser in Martinique had told us never to leave our boat in Rodney Bay, because it would be burgled if left alone. Another cruiser told us stories about the “boat boys”, who would drill a hole in your boat, if you didn’t give them money.

And this was where we were headed?
When Henrik had frightened me with all these stories, and I suggested that we would just stay on the boat for New Year’s on the lovely anchorage in Martinique where we were, Henrik insisted that we went. After all, 300 ARC boats go there every year!

The right decision
It turned out to be a perfect decision to go to St. Lucia. On our way into Rodney Bay Marina we didn't meet any boat boys, and when we entered the marina, we were only met by friendly faces, smiles, and “Happy New Year, man!” On New Year’s Eve we went with seven other cruisers in our dinghies to Rodney Bay Village, where we were lucky to find a restaurant that had a table for nine people.

Around the beach of Rodney Bay fireworks were arranged and at 23.30 we started walking towards the beach. There were a lot of people on the streets, and Henrik started to consider all the dangers – especially when returning from the beach. I don’t know if the worry was real, but when you’re aware of the possible threats, it’s no longer an enjoyment. So we turned around and made it back to the boat just before midnight for a glass of champagne and a New Year’s Eve toast.

What to believe?
It’s difficult to know when it’s important to be extra cautious, but I think we need to be careful not to be afraid of everything and listened to all the horror stories from the other cruisers. So far we have only had good experiences and friendly requests, and Henrik has even learned a certain handshake from a Rastafarian guy he gave a lift in the dinghy. So from now on we will try to relax a bit more – though without being thoughtless!

All photos and blog by Signe Dorothea Storr - Free lance Journalist