Location: Plantation Beach, Saint Lucia (14″05’12N,60’55’40E)
SOTA summit: N/A
Activation Date: Dec 6, 2016
Portable operation: Yes
Radio: Elecraft KX3 operating at 12 watts
Antenna: Buddipole in vertical configuration
Bands used: 17m and 20m
Furthest QSO: ~5,900 miles with RU3GB in Russia on 17m
Hike in: Yes, ~1 miles roundtrip and zero ft of ascent to zero ft
Solo operation: Partially….while Chris Drummond kitesurfed
ATT Coverage: N/A
Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2016
Kitesurfing. I have no idea what it is but it appears to happen near a beach and when Chris asks if I’m interested in operating my radio while he has a lesson, its an easy yes.
Arriving at the beach its immediately apparent what the essence of kite surfing is. Basically you dangle at the end of a line while being propelled by an unpredictable wind across waves of all shapes and sizes. Hmmmm….have at it Chris, I’ll stick to the land and I leave him in the capable hands of Beth, a fellow Londoner, who owns Kitesurfing SL.
Wandering along the beach I’m reflecting on Beth’s comment that scorpions can be found hereabouts. With this in mind I elect to forgo the shade of the trees and setup pretty much on the sand where I can survey the immediate neighborhood for these desert southwest creatures that have undoubtedly hopped a ride on a cruise ship.
The clouds open up and I’m beginning to get drenched. Perfect timing I think having just deployed my less than waterproof radio and Buddipole. The horses drift by along the beach and the awkward looking tourists look at me with a degree of suspicion and bewilderment. Their guide asks what I’m doing and probably expected a different answer to “I’m waiting for the rain to clear”. I watch them proceed further along the beach and turn up a canyon and into the jungle. Brave I think as this appears to be the epicenter of my local squall. The rain is replaced by sunshine that is beating down on me encased in my rain slick and I’m slowly begin to roast.
17m is hopping and I hear European stations booming in. I have no way to self spot which makes it harder for a small peanut station like mine to be heard. Something falls into place and I’m bantering back and forth with French, Czech, Russian and German stations. Pretty cool but not my sun drenched location and seeing Chris walking along the beach is my cue to wrap up. The intrepid mounted tourists glide by on their return journey with the same look of bewilderment. The guide shouts out, “hey, I told you the rain would pass” and smiles a smile that is so Saint Lucian; happiness.
Beer, would you like a beer? That is somewhat like asking me if i’d like a hundred dollar bill. Yes, of course I would and we head off to a beach side bar. From a distance they look a little rough but once in its a great spot and hard to leave.
With eight mouths to feed we stop by the supermarket to pick up supplies. Its fun to see what is available in different countries and maybe no surprise this supermarket has a medley of British products. Memories flood in and I nab a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar along with McVities Digestive biscuits. Hope my co-conspirators like my choices!