Into the Cul de Sac 14:28.15N, 60:52.0W
Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Thu 28 Jan 2016 21:35
We spent two nights in the anchorage at Sainte Anne, and had a lazy day in the sun in between. However the wind was forecast to increase, and we still needed to get the mainsheet traveller fixed (the machine shop in St Lucia that said they could do it hadn’t got round to it by the time we wanted to leave) so we decide to move up the Cul de Sac du Marin to the marina. All our guides said it is the place on Martinique for buying boat bits and getting jobs done.
We were quite pleased to get the anchor up really easily, as when Sarah had gone swimming she had seen that the anchor chain went round a rock - maybe it had cleared itself overnight. Navigating up the Cul de Sac was interesting. It was our first real experience of how the reefs and shallows show up in these waters, but in an area with good buoyage so we knew we were safe. As we got closer to the marina it got really crowded with moored and anchored boats so we couldn’t follow the channel as it appeared on our chart and ended up following some other boats. We then had to go in circles at the marina entrance waiting our turn to be shown to a berth.
The marina is the base for a number of charter companies and so is full of their catamarans. We are in the older part of the marina, with more basic facilities and less of the posh restaurants and shops, but the best chandleries are over this side - and they are as well stocked as we had been told. There is also a great little bar/restaurant called ‘Mango Bay’ which has free WiFi and does good breakfasts and red wine. Last night as we returned from the bar we managed to see the tiny frog that we heard on St Lucia and have been hearing at night here. It is only a few centimetres long, but makes an incredible noise.
We are also closer to the town, rather than the area that services the marina, and have walked out past the lovely 18th century church and the interesting cemetery with its little houses. There are street vendors selling all sorts of street food, a covered market with some fresh veg. and a number of beach bars. The water is fringed with mangroves and the local sailing boats are pulled up on the beach. These have huge square sails and four poles that sailors climb out along to balance the boat. Sadly we haven't been close enough to them sailing to get a photo.
We were directed to the shipyard area for someone who could repair the mainsheet traveller - one of the four rollers had broken before we crossed the Atlantic and Phil had done a repair but that broke as well during the crossing. The workshop here promised to complete the job by Friday, but we had an email first thing this morning to say it was done, and it is now fitted. We have also had our empty camping gas cylinder replaced and are ready to move on in the morning. We expect our next stop to be Fort de France, the capital of Martinique, about 30 miles away on the west coast of the island.
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