14:33N 61:03W. Anse Mitan, Martinique
LIBERTAD 17th March 2009 Paul Tim Sarah and Ewan. St Patricks Day .
We departed Soufriere on the west coast of St Lucia on Saturday morning bright and early with a fifty five mile sail to windward to Rodney Bay with a brief stopover at Marigot Bay just to see what it was like. We arrived at Rodney Bay before twelve and queued for more than an hour for fuel, bunkering 200 lts of gas oil and some petrol for the outboard.
We were sent to a pontoon berth on D 16 and connected up to shore power and fill the water tanks with fresh water. Tim helped me repair a hatch that had broken and checked a dorade vent that was leaking.
By now the temperature on board was over 30 degrees C and we retired to Scutttlebutts for a beer, Sarah and Ewan returned from the Rodney Bay Mall after a mammoth shop.
We met up with John and Jackie Richards from Ula and decided to have dinner at a restaurant on the west harbour and very good it was. John and I discussed plans and decided to sail for Martinique first thing opting to try Anse Mitan a small resort l on the south side of the bay Fort de France, opposite the capital of Martinique.
After a boisterous passage of twenty five miles across the open water between St Lucia and Martinique we were hit by strong squalls running through every hour and gusting thirty knots at times, reasuring us of the wisdom of reefing early on in the passage. The seas were a little choppy at times testing the resolve of some of the crew’s digestive systems. Tim has the perfect solution; he goes below and sleeps for the entire passage.
We picked up a mooring, hoping the owner would not return. After a fantastic lunch onboard (thanks to Sarah and Ewans shopping) we piled into the dinghy and headed for shore, from the mooring the bay gives the appearance of luxury hotels and restaurants but as we approached the shore we realise that much of the development was derelict. I thought a hurricane may have come through and devastated the area, in fact they were hit by a strong northerly wind in October last year devastating the waterfront. We scrambled ashore on a makeshift pontoon setting off to explore the marina, it reminded us of a tired run down marina where the infrastructure was there but the people had deserted it for more opulent surroundings.
Ula is in urgent search of fuel and plans to go to Fort De France in the morning to bunker and clear customs and immigration, we may well run up the coast to St Pierre and clear the boat in and out in preparation for the run up to Dominica, the next Island on our itinery, keeping us on schedule for the end of March and Antigua
With best wishes to you all from paradise, Paul