Fri, Sat & Sunday, 7th, 8th & 9th Jan.
On Friday, following a quick visit to the internet café, we set off again in the car (Renault Twingo) and after buying a load of courtesy flags for some of the countries we are due to visit later in the year at a specialist flag makers shop, we drove back to Fort de France and found our way to La Galleria which is a vast shopping mall. (Well it seemed big to me!)
Near the top of the shopping list was the need to see if we could buy a Nespresso coffee machine on the island. I won’t go into all the reasoning behind this, but we have been considering this for a while and it occurred to Sarah that as Martinique is very much part of France, it just might be possible to buy one here.
So it was with great delight that almost the very first shop we entered had the very machine we were looking for (well actually it was not the colour Sarah wanted, but under the circumstances she magnanimously backed down). We also bought a new hoover and now just have to decide who gets which of these items as their next birthday present…..
Sarah then requested a few hours of independent shopping time and I set about seeing where I could buy coffee capsules for the machine. It transpired that there is a Nespresso franchise in Fort de France, but the address I was given was not very helpful. However, given that I had a car and few hours it seemed reasonable to try! It took well over an hour and a lot of U turns and stops for directions (Oh how I wish I had paid more attention during all those years of learning French at school) before I finally found the place and pretty much made the assistant’s day by buying 1000 capsules.
I returned after an absence of two hours to find that Sarah had failed to find much of interest in the boutiques and so after a quick bite of lunch we did our food shopping in the ‘Hyper U’ supermarket and headed back to Marin.
Saturday saw us up early yet again for another internet visit and to return the car, after which we raised the anchor and set sail for Trois Islets where we were to rendezvous with Ko Ko and Song of the Ocean.
We had a wonderful sail round (about 30 miles) and although we were overtaken at one point by a French racing yacht, we were delighted to end up having e a fantastic beat into the huge bay with Fort de France on the northern side and we tacked our way up to Trois Islets in 20 knots of breeze making a respectable 7 knots.
Just as we approached the small islands, we met Halsway Grace coming out and it seems that they had gone there hoping to meet us, but their anchor had dragged at some stage and they were heading off to a more sheltered spot.
We dropped anchor just astern of SotO and Ko Ko and were soon invited for tea! In the evening all three crews headed off in the dinghies to the small village nearby to have an outstanding meal in the ‘Fleur de Sol’ restaurant. This was a quite remarkable establishment since it was a very fine French restaurant, but the staff were able (and willing) to speak English. The waitress was from Montreal with a boating background and it was very handy as she was able to not only translate the menu, but added her own detailed descriptions of every dish. Quite a bonus as the 2 Swedes, two Norwegians and one Finn in our party evidently had even less French than us.
Sunday dawned pretty windy and it soon became apparent that our slight concern at mooring in such an exposed position was well founded! There was a long fetch and soon the swell became rather more dramatic and when Ko Ko’s anchor broke free and they started to drag, we all conferred over the radio and agreed to move to Anse Matin. This is a sheltered anchorage only about a mile away and we were very lucky that despite it being quite popular, we managed to all anchor next to each other just out of the main channel. It was a very restful day although the new coffee machine was pressed into service when Iain, Jan and Birgitta arrived for morning coffee. Suddenly 1000 capsules did not seen too many once everyone had had two cups each.
We all met up on Ko Ko for drinks and farewells in the evening. Bert and Birgitta were flying home to Sweden at 10pm, Ko Ko and SotO were both heading south to St Lucia in the morning. Hopefully Ko Ko will catch up with us later in the season, but sadly for us, SotO will be heading back across the Atlantic in the spring and then on into the Med for a while.