Friday, November 23, 2012

Martinique & Dominica Once Again

Martinique & Dominica Once Again
Saturday 17 November - Friday 23 November

We had miss communicated with Wild Thing on departure time, so when they were away from the marina and going past us in the anchorage yelling at 8:30, I had just gotten out of bed. Steve went up on deck and waved then called them on the VHF. They were having trouble getting their main sail out and we told them we would need at least an hour to get ready to leave. We wanted to check email, since in the French Islands it's sometimes not as easy to get, and change the water maker filters, and a few other things before departure. Wild Thing circled around in the anchorage for about 45 minutes before they got their main sail out and were underway. And we were about an hour behind them leaving St Lucia about 10:30. It is a short distance between St Lucia & Martinique, only about 25 miles. It was a great sail with wind just aft of the beam and gentle 2-3 foot swells. We got caught in a 10 minute shower that sucked all our wind away but other than that we sailed along at 7-8 knots. As we were passing Petit Anse D'Arlet I could see that they now had mooring balls, and a lot of them. As we rounded the headland into Grande Anse D'Arlet at 2:30 we could see that they too now had mooring balls. ALL NEW, we were here in June and there were only a few private ones. These are so new they do not even have pennants (line to grab from boat) on them yet. Wild Thing came over in their dinghy to help with our lines, they had trouble when they got in as these are big mooring balls with heavy chain so NOT easy to lift with a boat hook to get a line through the ring on top of the ball. Luckily some one got in their dinghy and came over to help them also. Steve & George go in to clear in, still at the little cafe and still NO charge. No one said anything about the moorings and no one came by the boats to collect a fee, so I guess for now they are free. Still a little room to anchor but in grass (sandy spots taken) that while snorkeling we saw could have debris to snag your anchor. Refreshing swim around the boat and combined dinner on Ocean Star. Sunday another slow start to the day, Steve & I are on island time where George is up and ready to go at daylight, Jan makes him slow down a little but he is always eager to go. We do get to shore by 10:30, we are showing Jan & George the hike up over Champagne Hill to Petit Anse D'Arlet. It has been a while since Jan has done this kind of hiking and it is a little challenging for her and her short legs. She is talking about taking a taxi back, but Steve checks his GPS that he has with him this time and sees that the road back is just a mile over flat streets !!! Where was this information the other times we did this hike always climbing back over the hill the way we came ?!?! We have a big lunch over in Petit Anse D'Arlet, Steve & I go for a swim as we wait for lunch. Find an ATM before heading back to Grande Anse D'Arlet via the road. Hard to believe we never went back this way before. A walk down the beachfront pedestrian walkway stopping in the gift store before going back to our boats for a cool refreshing swim. A cloudless sunset with a Green Flash. Monday we get to sleep in a little again and get under way by 11:30. We are just going “around the corner” to Anse Mitan, a very short trip and with the wind on our nose we just motored all the way. We are anchored by 1, have lunch on board. Steve has a boat project to work on so George drops Jan & I off to go check out the shops. A few hours later with just a few purchases we are ready to go back to the boats. Pick up a warm baguette at the newly redone and re opened little grocery store for dinner later on Ocean Star after another sunset with another Green Flash! A lovely evening with the lights of Fort de France sparkling across the bay. Tuesday we had decided on an early departure and are under way by 7 am with a COOL 77° out to head up to St. Pierre. We motor sail with just the main across the bay and pass Fort de France. By 8:30 it has warmed up to 87° we have the jib out and motor off and are enjoying a beautiful morning on the water. As we are approaching St. Pierre we pass friends Russ & Mary Kay on S/V Once Around who are heading in the opposite direction. A big wave & shout then a call on the VHF, sorry we have just missed them again. As we are coming into the anchorage we have some great views of Mt. Pelee NOT in the clouds and are anchored by 9:15. A nice swim and short rest before heading into town to walk up to the Depaz distillerie for lunch, they have a nice restaurant up there not just rum. A quick tour around the grounds as the distillerie is doing maintenance so it's not up and running. But the tasting room was, and the grounds and views as usual are beautiful. Back down to the boats by 4, another cooling off swim and an easy night as too soon we will be leaving Martinique early Wednesday morning. Another 7 am departure with a cool temp. 75° and an almost cloudless sky. We are in flat seas with light winds so motor sail the whole way across the channel and up the coast of Dominica and are anchored in Prince Rupert Bay off the town of Portsmouth by 2:30. Steve & George go to customs to clear us in while I go for a swim to check the anchor. We had planned dinner on Ocean Star BUT the anchorage is a little rolly. George put out a stern anchor on Wild Thing so she is not rolling. The rolling can get to Jan and make her sick so we bring dinner over to their boat for a steadier dinner. The early mornings and evenings are much cooler now in the mid 70's, jacket weather for me. Thursday / Thanksgiving Day, slept in late then went snorkeling for a couple of hours after lunch. NO turkey day celebration here in Dominica where Wild Thing and us were the only 2 American flagged vessels in the anchorage. If we had wanted to we could have found a small frozen turkey, but it would take a long time to cook in our little oven and use a lot of propane. So we went with steak & potatoes and since Jan & George don't eat meat they brought some fish over to grill and we had a nice UN traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great dinner with great friends in a great location, and we got to talk to family back home. Friday we went in for an early morning walk that Martin the guide we used last time here told us about when he stopped by to say HI. One last view of Dominica before the afternoon departure for the short trip over to the Saints in Guadeloupe for the weekend.

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