Christmas in Rodney Bay and Boxing Day Sail to Martinique, 14.44.72N 61.10.68W

David Batten
Sun 29 Dec 2013 12:59
blogDavid, our decorations and the Queen on Xmas Day
The Skipper on Christmas Morning, with some decorations and the Queen in the background.
We were very glad we elected to spend Christmas Day in Rodney Bay Marina.  The storm on Christmas Eve was so bad that some of the roads down to the south were closed, as was the International airport.  The main marina was full of debris that had washed in from the river and those at anchor in the bay had a disturbed night. 
blogWhat the rain brought in
The weather was still showery on Christmas morning but the Marina showers were shut because of a burst water main. After a VHF conference we elected to use one of the deserted restaurants as a lunch base rather than going out to the bay and anchoring off a beach.  First task in the morning after swopping the shopping and opening presents from Jane, was a call to the Old Vic to speak to Sheila and the Halls.  Luckily Alice happened to be walking past Sheila's room as the phone rang, so after many attempts on the Hall mobiles, Happy Christmases and weather stories were exchanged, as England was suffering from storms and power cuts as well.
After that, a call from Jane in boiling hot Buenos Aires so we could thank her for the lovely presents and enjoy the idea of endless sunshine.  Then an iPad Face Time call to Caswell Farm, where all the Batten side of the Family were enjoying pre-lunch champagne.  We then had a preliminary glass of champagne with Steve and Marie from Aspen and then adjourned to the restaurant. 
blogThe barbecue at the deserted restaurant, St Lucia
There was masses of food and booze with the rum  and freshly squeezed oranges punch proving very popular.  After lunch entertainment was provided by one of the crew with a rhyme about trials of their crossing, including the blocked heads.  There is no doubt, nothing down the loo that hasn't been through the mouth first is the best policy!
blogStory telling on Christmas Day
In the middle off the afternoon the last ARC yacht arrived from Las Palmas, they had not stopped at the Cape Verde so had been at sea for 31 days!  They arrived to a hero’s welcome with much noise and conveniently between showers.
blogBeagle gets a heros welcome
blogBeagle, the last ARC boat in arrives on Xmas Day
As dusk fell, we all staggered back to our various boats for a lie down and no doubt some fairly mindless entertainment to finish the day, except for Michael and friends on Great Escape, who managed to keep partying till well after the golden oldies on Alcedo had turned in for the night.
Boxing Day brought a definite improvement to the weather, so it was pay the bill, clear customs, fill up with fuel and depart Rodney Bay for Martinique.  With 2 reefs in the main and full genoa, we were spinning along at 8 to 9 knots in the company of boobies and terns, fishing around the boat and yachts going in both directions.
blogBoobie Fishing2
Once we were in the lee of Martinique, the rough waters became smooth, but the consistent wind became fitful and gusty, so we made less good progress.  We rejected Case Pilot as having insufficient shelter and went on to Saint Pierre, much better shelter, attractive and very pleasant once we had found a place to anchor that was not too deep and away from the wrecks.  Time for swim no. 3 and the first one off the boat, but not in time to clear customs and we will leave before they are open in the morning.  Oh well!  Then supper of delicious prawns in garlic, bought in the deli in Rodney Bay as a Christmas treat and early to bed ready for an early start in the morning.
from Alcedo