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Date: 01 Feb 2012 14:54:48
Title: Marin and hopefully closer to new engine. . . . updated


 
We have sailed back to St Lucia for (hopefully) our shiny new engine. . . . .. .
 
Enjoyed seeing the racing Yoles (not Voles as I called them last time - a 'racing vole' does not sound the most sleek and fast craft) in Martinique.
 
We got a car for a day as well and went driving about the southern side of the island.  Martinique (with the exception of St Martin) seems the most built up of all the islands.  Last year we stopped at quite a few places in Martinique along the coast, and the coastal towns are often small and quaint, but once you head inland on the roads toward Fort De France (the capital) the sheer number of cars and the number of huge stores and drive-in McDonalds is like another place entirely.   The roads are all good for driving (as they are part of France) - but are surprising, Traffic Jams in the Caribbean - not expected.
 
We drove out to the east side as this is somewhere we never see when we're sailing - usually you go up the west of the islands for the sheltered anchorages.  We drove out to a nature reserve for a wander.  they like their Barbeques in Martinique - in the smaller towns you pass a road side BBQ every few miles selling whole chickens mainly.  The countryside in the south is quite low rolling hills, some forest but as you look across it a lot of the land is devoted to Sugar Plantations (Rum is important to Martinique) and Banana plantations.  We even saw fields (something you don't see on the higher, steeper islands) and one valley looked pretty much like Dorset with pastures and woodland(although warmer!).  The north is more wild and rugged and is dominated by Mt Pelee which you can see from the south towering up above the island.
 
We went out to a peninsular on the east and had a walk around the woodlands of the nature reserve there and down to the mangroves swamps which at this time of year were almost dry with the odd crab trundling about on the mud.  The mangrove trees are interesting though - tempting to try and walk out across the tangled roots but it could all end in tears and exceptionally muddy clothes.
 
We enjoyed Marin this year - we didn't anchor there last year and only went up once in the dingy, but this year braved the lagoon with its reefs.  There was no problem for the yacht - followed the channel into the lagoon then found a spot between the reefs (and there is a lot of room) and anchored in the silt.  However, embarrassingly after negotiating fine from boat to shore in the tender for several days, I was in charge of driving one evening after dark.  Bearings got confused. . . I didn't go my 'usual route' through the boats and I managed to ground the tender! not on a hard coral reef - but on a raised perhaps once reef that is now covered with deep silt and turtle grass. . .. the tender juddered as the prop hit the mud and we ploughed through it.  We could have got out and stood up, the water wouldn't have even come to our knees. We had to raise the engine and row out with careful weight distribution.  No damage appears to have been done though, apart from to pride.
 
Sailed back to St Lucia,  it's a nicer sail the other way as the wind is a bit further back and we went quick, we've arrived back and are moored in the boatyard.  Our first place on the boatyard quay was in front of a small-ish tall ship with an enormous bow sprit - not a lot of fun to get in, less fun to get out as there is a bar on the quay and someone decided to come and help us.  We were trying to spring the boat out of the berth so we could get the stern out and clear of the bowsprit before reversing (there was no room forward as it was the end of the Quay).  To do that you motor forward against a line tied to the bow of our boat then brought right back to a bollard near the back of our boat on the quay so the boat pivots and the stern moves out (sometimes).  Anyway - we started doing this - then the chap who had been wanting to 'help' decided to help by removing this rope as we were mid manouvering, add to this the fact that we were a little stuck in the mud.   We ordered him to put our rope back and with some pushing managed to get clear, so now we're in a new space where the crane can get to us so hope that thing go smoothly (touch wood).
 
Being back has also meant I can go back to the ENT doctor here for the latest ears update. . . one ear fine, the other  ear not so good and rather badly infected, so more pills and sample of the gunk sent off to the lab to work out if it is resistant to the latest pills I have.  A bit depressing as I hoped to be back in the water soon, but he seems like a good doctor and so fingers crossed that it all responds and is a lot better in a few days. 
 
Some Pictures of Mangroves and Trees. . .
 
Adam on the walkway amongst the Mangroves in Martinique (Tartane Peninsular)
 
 
 
Picture I forgot about from Mustique . . . but since we were on trees and things - this tree is by a little church in Mustique.  Very odd looking tree.
 
More Mangroves - this time Mustique Salt Pond
 
 
Lizard living in the mangroves
 

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