7th – 28th January – Martinique

After anchoring at Le Marin, I think it took a while for it to really sink in that we were here in the Caribbean. Firsts things first, after a cup of tea, of course, sail covers on , take off the staysail, tidy up all the ropes, dig out and rig the sun awning. Then it was inflate the dinghy and time to go ashore. We found the dinghy dock and the customs office, but that was closed then wandered along the beach road to the beach where we found a welcoming bar, fresh fruit drinks went down well than to celebrate a t-punch. It was wonderful just to sit there and let it all wash over you, the people the sights the sounds the smells after so long at sea and let it gradually sink in.
Later on we found the supermarket that was open, wine and baggettes and cheese were bought for a picnic on the beach and I found the shower block in the new marina, spirited my way in when someone came out and despite not having a towel or soap had a delightful shower to wash off all the salty spray.
Later that eve there was some bands playing on a stage set up near the beach, good music too.

I ended up staying at La Marin a few days, it was nice just to rest up to be on the boat that was secure at anchor and not moving around all the time. I took the staysail to the sail loft as the topmost eyelet for the piston hank had corroded away and there was a little bit of chafe on the leech despite looking out for potential chafe points ever day, but on a black night they can be hard to spot.
The crew departed, Bertrand wanted to remain in Martinique and I felt the need to reclaim some personal space, it had been a long time coped up together in a small boat.

Olly on “Solage” arrived via Barbados, his first comment to me was its a long way isn’t it.

After getting back the staysail from the loft and reprovisioning, the nearest supermarket had a dinghy dock – very civilised, I was ready to leave.
I had a very pleasant gentle sail past Diamond rock and round to the west coast where I anchored in the bay of Grand Anse. Oh what a lovely place this was, a beautiful bay with water so clear you could see the bottom at anchor in 5 meters. Starfish on the sand, fish swimming by, I even saw turtles, amazing.The tidal range here is only about 2 feet so no worries on that score. There was a golden sand beach, some palm trees all backed by lovely wooded hills and some of beach restaraunts and shacks. Oh the water was such a lovely temperature for swimming. Perhaps this was as close to paradise as I will get.
Next day I walked up and over to headland to the next bay, Petite Anse, saw a hummingbird, swam, walked back and at a lunch of grilled fish creole style. I would have stayed longer here but I have this date to get to Antigua for so I left the next afternoon for a short hop to Fort De France. Coming into the anchorage I found myself in the midst of Yole race so had my work cut out to keep out of all their way. They sure know how to party do Martiniques, a stage set up in the park by the beach and bands playing that eve, for free of course
I had intended to stay just the one night but the following day it was blowing pretty hard, plenty of white horses out in the bay so I stayed, took the opportunity to wander the streets a bit, swim from the beach. Next day I sailed to St Pierre, the town that was wiped out in 1902 by the Volcanoe Mt Pele. This is a suitable jumping off point for continuing North, next stop Dominica.

St Pierre
St Pierre
Retite Anse
Retite Anse
Diamond Roack
Diamond Roack
Grande Anse
Grande Anse
Beach at Grande Anse
Beach at Grande Anse