Turning North

Chiscos - Atlantic Cruise
John Simpson
Tue 28 Feb 2012 20:54
14:28.172n 060:52.161w

The lunatics have taken over the asylum on Chiscos with Ford being put in charge of the money and me the blog. Under strict instructions from Susan to up the blog rate significantly, I now have the unfortunate task of having to sit in wonderful cafes overlooking the bay with an early beer-o'clock contributing to the story of Chiscos, her skipper and assorted rag-bag of crew. Nothing can go wrong.

It was a big day today as — after weeks of faffing around in the Southern Caribbean enjoying themselves, the boat finally turned north with an itinerary and schedule to follow. I had only arrived the previous afternoon but the welcoming committee was on hand with a fridge full and even a crate of beer in the boys cabin! With Skip's warnings ringing in my ears about the exposed crossing to Martinique the next day, almost all of us trod a careful tightrope between celebrating the assembling of a new team for the next fortnight and not risking feeling even sicker than we needed to the following day.

As we set off, skip seemed particularly chuffed with his cleaned bottom which clearly gave us extra performance through the water!

But his predictions of strong winds and rolling seas were unfortunately spot on and we had a quick but very uncomfortable crossing to Martinique with Ford and I left wondering in awe how those who'd crossed the Atlantic had stomached conditions like that for 3 weeks. Skip tried various theories to keep morale up that the waves were definitely going to get smaller at any second but I'm afraid we lost faith in them after they kept getting proved wrong.

Getting into Le Marin provided the first challenge for me in trying to establish over the radio in French whether they had a berth. Suffice it to say it took several attempts and the harbour master remarked rather sarcastically once we were finally in safe and sound that he thought we had something wrong with our radio. I quickly diagnosed that it was nothing to do with the radio but the duffer operating it. What is the french for berth anyway?

As Skip settled down to his after lunch coffee, he remarked in a rather self-satisfied way that it was rather good having crew on board to do some of the donkey work. One of the chores which seems to have been particularly unpopular has been pumping up the dingy. Good man Ford!

Le Marin might as well be in the South of France. Totally and utterly French with French signs, cafes and an immediate assumption that you're a French speaker. Les Douanes had also closed for the day at 1230 as presumably they were in danger of breaching their 25 hour week.

Tomorrow we've decided to sail straight past the capital Fort De France and go straight up to the north of the island — San Pierre --  in order to create a spare day further up the line, possibly on Dominica.

Bon soirée!