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Date: 08 Jan 2008 11:35:56
Title: Happy New Year

Hello Friends and a Happy New Year to all our Blog Readers       "14:26.1N 60:53.2W"
 
We spent Christmas and the New Year here in Martinique and as I write on Sunday evening, we're looking forward to some fridge works over the next couple of days to improve the efficiency of our fridge systems. More technical details will follow soon Barny!
 
Whilst we've been waiting for our slot with the fridge man, we decided to take a tour of Martinique and made a clockwise circumnavigation. This is unusual as the windward side of Martinique has a fringing reef which is pretty dangerous to navigation and is marked by numerous wrecks.
 
Anyway, we did our homework very carefully with the local pilot book and since the weather was ideal for beating upwind around the northern end of the island, we decided to have a try. Google Earth on the front of the blog pages probably gives you a better view of the windward side - so I'll leave you to experiment with that and zoom in to see the reefs.
 
Having found our way through the dangers we anchored in a superb bay (Baie du Galion, to the S of the peninsular that sticks out E) over a mile wide with no other boats at all. The bay was totally sheltered and so quiet that you could feel the silence. It's amazing to think that in the Caribbean - and French Caribbean at that - there are still places which are totally unspoilt and undiscovered.
 
So especially for our Australian Friends who don't believe that the weather is nice here....
 
 
We spent a couple of days here just chilling out and enjoying the solitude. By then the weather had got up a bit so we had a rather lumpy exit through one of the passes through the reef (passe sud de caye mitan). All went well and we took the opportunity of doing a conventional nav. plan and pilotage for James' benefit, as well as using the instruments.
 
The windward side has murky water as the Atlantic swell churns up the reef and stirs up sediment - but the west side is clear and we had some good snorkelling: the goblet coral is extraordinary and not uncommon.
 
               
 

 
STOP PRESS - George & Michael will be in London from about 9th to 21st January and we hope to be able to catch up with our friends.
 

 
Best Wishes
 
George, Michael and James
 

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