Martinique for repairs

Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
John Simpson
Fri 23 Dec 2011 18:58
14:28.189n 060:51.962w
Early on Wednesday morning (21st Dec) John dashed over to the Customs office in the dinghy to check out of St Lucia.  Arriving and departing any of these islands involves a visit to Customs and Immigration to complete forms for the boat and for each person on board.  Unfortunately, the immigration officer overslept and arrived an hour late and!the person ahead of John was checking in 14 people so it all took longer than we anticipated.  However, we were under way by 9.45 am bound for Martinique for repairs.  Whilst in Soufriere we had discovered that the windlass was no longer working and as this piece of equipment lifts the anchor it makes life hard work not to have it.  We were also nursing a broken mainsheet traveller (which manages the mainsail) and hoped to get a spare part in Martinique to fix it.  The wind was incredibly strong and blew up a rough sea which we had to bash our way through in the direction of Martinique.  About an hour into the journey the mainsheet traveller finally gave up and we were unable to use the mainsail, which meant using engine and headsail for the rest of the way - not a strong combination in the conditions!  We finally made it to Martinique just as night fell at 5.45 pm.   Fortunately the Marina du Marin took pity on us not being able to anchor and fitted us into the already full marina on the superyacht pontoon!  The motor yacht we were next to had a tender that was nearly as big as Chiscos, and the tender had a smaller one of its own!
The Marina du Marin is large, with 600 berths, and fortunately has an excellent Chandlery where we were able to buy a new windlass engine and mainsheet traveller.  We have been moved to another part of the Marina to fit them and John is in the midst of repairs as I write this.  We think this mooring is probably the closest to a restaurant we have ever been.  We were contemplating placing our order and asking the restaurant staff to pass the food out to us through the window!
Although we haven't yet seen much of Martinique, we are struck by how French it is compared to St Lucia only a matter of 25 miles away.  We could easily be in Cherbourg or Fecamp except that the temperature is twice as hot.  The island feels much more affluent and prices are much more European than Caribbean; even the currency is the Euro. The weather has been quite stormy with very high winds for the couple of days that we've been here.  The rainstorms are incredible; they only last a few minutes at a time but have been coming through about every 20 minutes interspersed with spells of hot, humid sunshine.  The forecast is for more settled weather to arrive in the next few days.  Hopefully our breakages will be fixed and we'll be ready to move on by then.