logo Lady Stardust Faro-Portugal to Barcelona - 2010
Date: 31 Dec 2006 22:14:27
Title: Boxing day on the beach & Pigeon Island

After a leisurely morning spent on the boat and around the marina we thought it would be nice to go to Reduit beach again.  The weather was a bit changeable but the showers were light and it was still warm so we got the dinghy ready and set off.  A small squall forced us to seek shelter at a waterside bar just before we got there but then the sun came out for the rest of the afternoon.  The beach was more crowded than on our previous visit.  People were playing football, fishing, picnicking and swimming - such different pastimes from traditional English Boxing day winter walks or cosy afternoons in front of the fire watching holiday television. 
I was fascinated by the cute white sand crabs - they peeked out of tiny holes in the sand, looked around and dived back into their holes at any slight movement.  We went snorkelling and saw some great fish, had a swim in the lovely warm water and dried off on the hot soft sand - this time avoiding the grumpy sunbed attendant.  When it began to cloud up again we headed back, stopping off to visit Nick from yacht Flying Start who, along with his crew had won Spirit of the Arc and who had had their own unique adventure on the journey across.  It started to rain about 5 30 and we returned to the boat, enjoying the fresh, cool air after feeling hot and sticky.  It seemed an ideal evening to cook off some more of the local vegetables we'd bought so I prepared mashed yams and fried plantain to go with the veggie food I'd made the day before.  After dinner the bar across the water began playing the most awful loud, raucous and tuneless rap/reggae/jazz music - well I thought it was awful but Paul quite liked some of it.  I put my iPod to good use to blot it out, but it didn't stop until 2am and kept waking me up.
Partly to avoid another night like that and also because we thought it would be nice, we decided the following morning to take the boat out to Pigeon Island, a nearby National Park and to anchor there for the night.  We left at 12 30 for the two mile journey across the bay, putting the genoa up to make use of the favourable wind.  This would be Lady Stardust's first anchorage with us so I was a bit nervous about the procedures but it worked out fine.  There were only a few other boats near us and we went for a swim and snorkel to check the anchor was holding ok.  We had lunch and cold beers on board before getting in the dinghy to check out the Jambe de Bois cafe, named after the Island's infamous 16th century pirate who captured cargo ships and either killed the survivors or forced them to join his own crew.  The cafe is run by a local woman who rehomes unwanted animals, has a small art gallery and manages an impressive bookswap facility.  We had a rum punch there before setting off to visit a fort at the top of the hill, the island's main lookout post for many years.  It was a very steep hill and we literally staggered up it, puffing and panting and sweating profusely, ruefully acknowledging how out of condition we are.  The view from the top was worth the effort though, we could see for miles across Rodney Bay and even glimpsed the island of Martinique 20 miles north.
Back at the boat we spent a pleasant evening sipping rum punch, listening to music and watching the sun go down.  Paul made pasta and sauce for dinner and we talked about visiting Martinique as it's so close and wouldn't take too long to get there.
In the morning I got up early and sat drinking coffee, looking at the island as the sun came up and watching birds dive for fish.  We went for breakfast at the cafe where I swapped some books and then came back to get the boat ready for returning.  It was windier than the day before but a good sail back and we stopped to buy fuel and look round the boatyard before going back to the berth.  
All is still going well and the weather's glorious.
Reduit beach, Boxing day

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