left the marina at Ponte du Bout yesterday afternoon, we spent the night at
anchor in Anse Matin close by. There was not a lot of wind, which may have
encouraged the steady but modest swell that trotted into to the bay from the
north. Sleep was thus interrupted, and we felt it better to move round to Grande
Anse again whilst we considered our plans. In doing so, we had a beautiful
downwind (mostly!) sail in winds mostly in the low teens, perfect!
weather is said by the locals to be unseasonal, often with the strong winds from
the NE sector bringing in quite a lot of rain, sometimes quite torrential.
People have said that they have never seen so much rain at this time of year. We
have seen a lot of drookit and disconsolate tourists with their beach gear on
but using their towels to keep the heavens from drowning them! If you have spent
a fortune coming for some Caribbean sun, you would be a bit upset
makes night time ventilation strategy a bit of a gamble! Particularly after a
downpour, it gets really humid and hot, so opening up all the hatches and
fitting the wind scoops makes a lot of sense to try and cool the boat down.
Pound to a penny, though, if you leave the hatches open without a rain awning,
then you will get a middle of the night drenching, and a tense but unspoken
negotiation as to whose turn it is to get up and make the boat watertight again.
sailing is also a bit challenging, with gusts from 5 to 30 knots in seconds, and
direction changes of 180 degrees as the mountains shape the wind. Most boats sail with one or two reefs in
their mainsail, and a few rolls out of their fore sail, which looks odd when you
have nothing but a zephyr, and then looks really smart when any yacht with full
rig up heels over and dips its scuppers in a Force 7/8 gust.
prevailing direction being from the NE also means that heading northwards is
more problematic, especially between the islands where the squeeze accelerates
the wind speed, and a contrary current can turn the seas into a churning mess.
We did not think that we would have to put in the washboards in this climate to
keep the water out of the cabin, but we have had to do so more than
we had access to the hire car, we took the opportunity to visit some of the
supermarkets and chandleries to buy the things you cannot get in the coastal
villages. Carrefour and Geant/Champion, and other recognisable French chains
have stores here, whilst there are local supermarkets too catering for a
slightly different customer. We have stocked up the freezer, since we think that
the next island northwards – Dominica - will be even less well supplied than the
coastal communities here. What we have not been able to find is fresh milk –
just like it used to be in France a decade or so ago! UHT milk is just not the