Fw: From Martinique
Robin and Sue carter
Tue 28 Feb 2012 13:33
We are now tracing our way back south to St Lucia and then onwards to meet Florence and Phil in Grenada at the end of March. On the way there we want to spend some time in the Grenadines, a group of small islands north of Grenada but part of St Vincent which we will not visit as security is poor there.
We planned to travel swiftly through Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Lucia but there were a couple of spots we didn’t see on the way north. Deshais in north Guadeloupe has a Botanical Garden which had been recommended and did not disappoint. The flowers, trees and birds were too much for our tiny camera so that may be on Santa’s wish list this year. Sue’s birthday was spent snorkelling in the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve which was colourful with lots of fish and coral although we are a little wary in the water these days after Penny spotted a Scallop Hammerhead shark attacking a ray very close to the boat when we were at anchor in Antigua! The evening meal at the local French restaurant was entertaining and we think we have been invited to the wedding of the couple on the adjoining table in Paris in May!! They were eating the largest lobster I have ever seen, initially brought live to the table for them to inspect. Another French guy was celebrating his birthday and was appalled at my great age as he was only 47!
As we sailed slowly down the coast of Dominca after a gentle sail from Isles des Saintes we spotted 2 enormous sperm whales off our starboard bow and watched them spouting with our hearts in our mouths in case they came any closer, they were easily larger than Halsway Grace. After a few minutes they dived again to search for their lunch of octopus.
In Rousseau we clung to a very suspect buoy for the night but left at 6am the following morning for a lively sail down to Martinique 30 miles away. The wind didn’t drop below 20 knots and the swell was 2 metres plus. We romped along at 6.5 – 7 knots with a reef or 2 in and were off St Pierre ( the town hit by a volcano in 1902) by 11am. The wind was most capricious on the way down Martinique’s west coast which has us motoring in no wind and then sailing fast in 25 knots alternately. These mountains and valleys create most unpredictable wind. On the way we saw some common bottlenose dolphins who swam in our bow wave and also some smaller, very dark dolphins with a very sharp dorsal fin who were not so sociable. Anyone any idea what they were, our book doesn’t seem to list them?
We are now at anchor in Anse d’ Arlett, a pretty, very French village which sells great baguettes, waiting for the swell to subside before we cross to St Lucia. The wind is predicted to be 35 knots plus on Tuesday so we could be here a few days. We are using our time industriously however. We have been snorkelling in the clear water ostensibly to observe how other boats anchor ie what anchor, how much chain, size of chain and what seems to dig in best. In fact it’s a good excuse to watch the turtles feeding, swimming, dozing and doing what turtles do while being ‘cleaned’ by symbiotic type fish who cadge a free ride. Lovely.
Among the many nationalities here in the anchorage we seem to be the only British flag. There are Americans, Canadians, German, Norwegian, Belgian, Portuguese and of course many French for whom it is holiday time. Quite a few are waiting for the weather ‘window’
I attach a couple of photos (all the system will allow). One is to show that the weather can be ‘North Sea’ like just 20 degrees warmer. Here is Sue drenched during a squall with wind at 25 knots and torrential rain and it got chilly. The second is the view from our anchorage the following morning. The boulangerie is just on the left on the beach.
Sue and Robin