More rain in Martinique, and on to St Lucia, 13:49.2N, 61:04.0W
From Grand Anse d’Arlet it is only a short hop to St Anne, on the South East corner of Martinique, but it is into the prevailing winds, so it was a good beat along the south coast in a bumpy sea and a brisk easterly wind. As we passed Diamond Rock, we were visited by a pod of half a dozen dolphins – the first we have seen since we arrived in the Caribbean, and a lovely sight. We anchored at St Anne’s at 1500, we thought in plenty of time to go ashore to clear customs and get to the supermarket, but when Sarah came to inflate the dinghy the valve on the forward chamber decided to give up the ghost and it would not stay inflated. Luckily ‘Saga’ was on hand, and a call on the VHF radio brought Inge across in their inflatable to take us ashore.
The town square and a view of the bay at St Anne
On Sunday, Phil managed a temporary fix to the valve while Sarah was ashore at the market with Inge, but we decided it would be best to go into the marina at Marin (just a couple of miles up the Cul de Sac de Marin from our anchorage) to try and buy a replacement. This decision was reinforced by the forecast which showed the wind going southerly which would make the bay at St Anne very uncomfortable. We were glad of the decision as it started raining as we motored up to the marina and hardly stopped for 3 days. The umbrella we bought in the rain in Madeira last October came into its own. On Sunday night the wind also came in very strong and we listened on the VHF to people still in the anchorage talking about how bad conditions were.
A wet night out in a café – umbrellas and puddles
Very French road signs in Marin
We stayed in the marina until Thursday and managed to get a new valve as well as doing a number of other jobs between the rain, then an improved forecast sent both ‘Serenity’ and ‘Saga’ south to St Lucia. The wind was just south of east and force 4-5, which gave a fantastic day’s sail the 21 miles to Rodney Bay. We made between 6 & 7 knots for most of the passage to anchor just behind ‘Saga’ and ‘Four Seasons’ at 1325, and got ready to go ashore to clear customs. As we drove away from ‘Serenity’ in the dinghy the outboard engine died, and Sarah had to row back to the boat before we were blown out to sea. Once again ‘Saga’ came to our rescue – this time they lent us their dinghy to go ashore!
Saga – sailed by Inge and Thomas from Stuttgart
One of the reasons for coming to Rodney Bay was to see ‘Four Seasons’, as Caroline had offered Sarah her manual sewing machine. A deal was done and Sarah is now the proud owner of a Singer sewing machine that is probably older than her, but still works well. We took the opportunity to visit the market in Castries, the main town, and to go to the supermarket. Rodney Bay was one of our first stops in the Caribbean, and at that point the supermarkets here seemed quite poorly stocked. With experience of the Caribbean they now seem amazing. This time the bay and marina were lively with boats arriving from their Atlantic crossing with one of the annual rallies, the ARC. The music from the marina combined with the normal weekend sounds from the nearby town of Gros Islet made it a noisy anchorage.
Sarah enjoying the sail to St Lucia
Yesterday we said goodbye to Inge and Thomas on ‘Saga’, as our tracks are diverging for a while, and today we had a slow but pleasant sail south along the coast of St Lucia to the Pitons. We saw these amazing rock pinnacles from the shore when we were here before and wanted to visit the anchorage between them. They are an amazing sight close too and it is a lovely night with a crescent moon and stars, but the anchorage is quite rolly and we are very close to the boat next to us, so it may not be a comfortable night .
The coast of St Lucia