Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Wednesday 22 June – Saturday 25 June

After Sea Cat delivers a bag of ice we are underway by 8:30, heading south along the shore of Dominica. We are leaving the Leeward chain of Islands heading for the Windward chain of Islands, new set of charts and guide books. We have double reefs in both sails since the weather prediction calls for winds 20-25, with possible isolated showers and gusts up to 35 and 6-10 foot seas. Moving along the coast seas and wind are fine, but as we pass Scotts Head the southern tip of Dominica and go from a depth of 700 feet to 7000 we get broadsided with a 10 foot wave breaking on the port side of the boat. Soaking us and the cockpit with saltwater, even some down the companionway that was open. That would not have been so bad but it was then we realized one of the small hatches over the dinning table was not locked down ! So a huge amount of salt water soaked one of the seats and the floor down below. Lock the window down, nothing we can do until we are at anchor. The rest of the trip was another great sail, moving along between 7-8 knots. Once out in the deeper water the seas evened out between 4-5 feet with an occasional 6 footer. Once in the lee on Martinique the seas died down but the wind became irregular again as it swept down from the mountains. Rolled up the main first thinking we could run with just the genoa, but winds too variable so rolled up the genoa and motored into St. Pierre anchoring close by Promise who had come down the day before. First we clean the cockpit out washing down the salt, where is the rain when you want it. Steve goes to check in while I start to clean up down below. Steve finds customs but since it is Wednesday afternoon, they have decided not to reopen after lunch. He comes back to the boat & we finish cleaning up the mess. Dave & Colleen stop by on the way back to their boat saying to hit customs at 9 am. St. Pierre has a very interesting history, back in 1902 Mt. Pelee volcano “exploded” releasing a huge fire ball (with the energy of an atomic bomb) that rained down on the city killing all but 2 of the 30,000 residents and leaving the town in ruins. Thursday we get to customs at 9, it is also the tourist office so we pick up a few pamphlets on Martinique but most were just in French I guess they don't get a lot of English speaking visitors? Find a postcard and the post office, get stamps & mail cards. Stop by the local market to pick up some fruit & veggies. Back to the boat to check with Colleen & Dave to see if they want to walk up to the Depaz Rum Distillerie. Head back out around 11:30 stopping by the ruins of the old theater & prison on our way out of town. A nice 2 mile walk up the road and we reach the beautiful grounds of the distillerie at the base of Mt. Pelee. A self guided tour through the distillerie and a lovely lunch at the restaurant on the grounds before walking back to town, via another road which turns out to be shorter and not as steep. Back in town passing by the ruins of an old fort that also burned. It is a sight to see the huge pieces of charred remains. Back to the boats around 5 for a nice cool swim. Friday morning listening to Chris Parker's weather on the SSB we hear 2 other boats (Gypsy Wind & Bright Hope) we had met back in PR. After the report Steve is able to hail Bright Hope and talk to Art, they are off shore heading straight to Grenada from St. John USVI. We head out at 9 and arrive at 11 in Fort De France, the capital city of Martinique. As we are approaching you can see more and more homes along the coast as we get into a heavily populated area. So you would think getting an internet connection here would be easy, turns out not to be so. St. Pierre we could understand but this is the biggest town in the Windward Islands, the capital of Martinique! We do manage to find a couple of spots in town to lug the computer into to check email. Walking around town seeing the sights meeting up with Dave & Colleen at the end of the day to have a drink before heading back to the boats for the evening cooling off swim. Saturday morning we go in to check out the local market, and that place and the streets are all busy, that is until 1 o'clock when everything closes up. All the stores and even the restaurants, except the ones in the mall, so we wind up there and go to a restaurant for lunch running into Dave & Colleen just finishing their lunch. It was strange walking back to the boat on deserted streets, they even had the street cleaner going. Back on the boat making plans to move on to St. Lucia on Sunday. Fort De France is a HUGE bay with 5-6 other smaller bays and little towns and anchorages, we look forward to seeing next time up, but for now we will be heading south.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there

    We are all jealeous. Barbara spent many weeks sailing down around there and I stayed at Spice Island Inn 3 times in the 70-80's !!!! We made the Oregon coast thsi year ,wineries and every volcano in the Cascades last month ! - Ian is back in school in Vancouver from tomorrow .

    Keep having fun for us!

    Andrew , Barbara Ian