Monday 2nd June 2008
Departed Dominica early, for us anyway, at 07.30 as it is
over 50 miles to Martinique. Once we left the
shelter of Dominica,
the wind picked up to 23/24 knots and we had 2 reefs in the mainsail. Did
not use the autopilot much as we are having battery problems again and the
voltage is dropping quickly to 11.5 volts at which point the autopilot cuts
out. However, with the easterly trade winds now on the beam it was fun to
sail the boat without using the autopilot.
Arrived at Anse Mitan at
18.00 hrs. A big wide open anchorage with a channel through the middle
used by the ferries who didn’t slow down causing a large wash as they
went by making us roll horribly for a few minutes. Too late to go and clear
in with customs but as Martinique is a French
territory, there is no problem.
Imagine up and to the
left of the yellow yacht
Tuesday 3rd June 2008
Took the dinghy in to
the small marina at Le Ponton. A very rude French woman appeared to be in
charge and simply pointed at the PC in the corner when we asked if we could
check in. Turns out that Martinique
operate a “self service” system but this lady was obviously not
going to give us any assistance and refused to speak English or attempt to
understand our “Franglaise”. Not a great welcome.
Walked into the town but were not impressed. It seemed quite
scruffy for a French island. Had a beer in a bar by the marina and then went to
a small supermarket which was poorly stocked and not at all like the other
French islands we had visited. Went back to the boat and made the
decision to leave next morning for Le Marin on the south east corner of Martinique.
4th June 2008
Departed at 10.35 for
the 30 odd miles to Le Marin. Not much wind as we run down the east coast
so we had just the headsail out as there was no hurry and the wind was on the
beam. Once we rounded the south west corner, the wind filled in
dramatically and we were soon beating to windward to clear Diamond Rock, a tall
off lying island where the British had hauled cannons to the very top to attack
the French fleet. Perhaps the lady at the marina in Anse Mitan was a descendant
of one of those unfortunate French seamen who felt the wrath of the British
As we approached Diamond
rock, so did a fairly nasty looking squall and within minutes it was pouring
with rain and the wind was blowing from all directions. Suddenly we were
going back the way we had come even though we were sailing on the same tack!
We tacked over and found we could now make the course for Marin –
hooray! There is a strong current running down this coast (against us)
and we made pretty slow progress until we added engine power to help us along.
sunshine – yeah,right !!!
Rock – Looks like Darth Vader’s head to me!!
Marin lies at the top of
a long inlet ringed with reefs and shallows and we had to be very careful
following the channel marker up to the anchorage. On both sides we could see
yachts that had gone aground and were now complete wrecks. The chart
plotter was once again a great help in “seeing” where we were going
and we were soon anchored among the many other yachts of all nationalities.
Mind the reef – oops, too
Marin – very busy anchorage
A very overcast day. Went ashore today to
explore. Found a fabulous market selling fresh fruit and veg. Had a
free beer in the Mango Bar! We had ordered our beers at the bar and
waited so long at our table before we were then brought only one! We had
to wait so long again for the other one when we pointed out that we wanted two,
that the barman said they were on the house. What a nice guy. Back
on the boat it was a very hot night with a lot of rain.
Another overcast day with more rain. We decide
to go to St Lucia
tomorrow as the anchorage here is too crowded and not very nice for
swimming. In between showers we went ashore to clear out and to take
advantage of the free wifi in the Mango Bar. Thankfully we ordered and
received both beers! We had to pay this time though….