Dominica to Martinique
First good sail for ages, although we took four attempts to get enough wind in the sails to sail the whole way. The channel between the islands was a bit lumpy, but its good to be sailing and not motoring. We are anchored off St Pierre, which could not be considered a lucky town. Once the capital of Martinique and the centre of trade with a thriving port, with the best of all things Victorian; a magnificent theatre, cathedral, stone steps between streets of elegant houses. Hit by a tidal wave that wiped out ships and killed many, then a mudslide killed even more people. The women and children were evacuated as Mont Pelee continued to show signs of erupting. Then the women and children returned for Ascension Day and were suffocated to death by burning gases and fumes from the volcano. Louis Cyparis was locked in a dungeon under the jail while this was happening and he was billed by Barnum's Circus as the only survivor. Louis displayed his burns in a sideshow, having been rescued from St Pierre by looters – and they say crime doesn't pay!
This is a sleepy town with a great charcuterie and French restaurants, with staff who speak English and are helpful! As for customs clearance, you wander along to a local restaurant, L'Alsace de Kay, any time up to about 22.00. You put your own data into the computer while imbibing the drink of your choice. The form prints off and is stamped – how very civilised. The concept of completing clearance while drinking a good glass of wine is, in our opinion, a custom that should be initiated across the Caribbean.