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Report from Vieux Fort, October 2003

By doina — last modified Oct 14, 2003 06:32 PM

Published: 2003-10-14 18:32:12
Countries: St Lucia

by Lilly Vedana, Thomas Müller, Yacht MIZ MAE 5.10.03

Vieux Fort, at the very southern tip of St.Lucia is about 2 hours off the beaten track between St.Lucia and St.Vincent. Upwind that is. Coming from St.Vincent or from Rodney Bay, somehow the trip to Vieux Fort is always upwind and about 2 hours or 10 miles. But certainly worthwhile. There is ample protection under the hills off the south Cape at 13.43.0 N and 60.57.3, out of the swell right in behind the Cape in 3 - 12 meters of good holding. The water is often crystal clear.

Alternatively, smaller yachts can try to leave the large green, lit marker to port and anchor in the newly built "small craft port", some 2 cable lengths NW of the commercial dock, behind a massive wave breaker. While landing the dinghy has always been the biggest difficulty, this excellent little harbour has solved the problem.

Viuex Fort is an official port of entry. Customs are down by the container terminal, while immigration can often only be found at the airport.

The port is protected by security, offers fresh water, a superb fish market, and is only 1 minute walking distance from the centre of this very original Caribbean town. Supermarkets, hardware shop, pubs, it's all here. Including the beer factory of "Piton", the local brew. Gas bottles can be filled directly at the huge SHELL depot down by the commercial wharf.

Vieux Fort is the obvious choice for those receiving or leaving crew to the very close by Hewanorra Airport, St.Lucia´s gateway for international flights. Buses and Taxis are plentiful, friendly and inexpensive. Castries is a good hour away by bus, Soufriere even longer, even though the Pitons seem so close, but the road works between Soufriere and Vieux Fort would slow down even the toughest participant of the Paris-Dakar-Rally.

Snorkelling behind the reef is great! The off lying "Maria Isl" should only be visited with a certified guide and we do recommend hiring a sturdy local boat for the ride around St.Lucia´s south Cape, especially when the trades are in full swing. The islands are home to many birds, snakes, anoles and lizards. A few turtle nest can be found as well and the view from the top of the islands is spectacular.

Vieux Fort is not very touristy and only visited by few yachts. But we guess that will change soon when the word about the small-craft harbour spreads around.