Finland comes to the Caribbean! 20th to 31st January

Fri 10 Mar 2006 14:17
We had a fantastic sail from St Lucia to Martinique. Despite many wet and gusty squalls and big seas, with 2 reefs in the main, we made max speeds of 10kts, 50 degrees off the wind.
After 5hrs of sailing we were at anchor at the Le Ponton on the west coast of Martinique awaiting the arrival of Chris' old neighbour and drinking partner in Finland and his girlfriend Paivi.......we waited in the bar of course!
The first day was a great success with a short day sail in good conditions to an anchorage in Petit Anse d'Arlets. Some swimming and Turtle watching was followed by a trip ashore and a good meal onboard.
The anchorage in Petit Anse d'Arlets
Unfortunately the next day the weather was not in our favour and although a lot better than Finland we were disappointed to have rain,cloud and more rain! We sailed into a max of 30kts to Le Marin on the south coast. We had some fabulous French cuisine in the town and planned a trip around the Island in a hire car for the following day!
As the weather was not looking to improve we elected for downwind sailing to waters we knew would be great whatever the weather and set off for The Grenadines.......(again :-) !!)
First stop in St Lucia, The Pitons,where Vellu and Paivi do their first 'try dive' with Chester. Well done Paivi, who had only snorkelled for the first time 2 days earlier! It was great to dive with them.
Chester the Divemaster and Paivi
Vellu - a natural!
From St Lucia we sailed to Bequia.  What a great day sailing. Sunny, 20 to 30kts sailing on a reach or deeper off the wind, and Vellu helming most of it. We saw a whale first then we were followed by dolphins as we arrived in Bequia. We were also met by an official photographer. PhotoAction is run out of Bequia  as well as zipping around the Caribbean and the world doing race weeks they snap cruisers as they arrive into Bequia. What a set up - by the next morning we had the most amazing framed photo on the wall of Lazy Dawn powered up in glorious Caribbean weather.......with Vellu at the helm! (Cruising Lazy Dawn is towing her new dinghy but that has been cut off the photo!)
Paivi in the 'Paivi position' with Vellu helming as much as he could.....and doing an excellent job
The Picture on the wall ( Still can't believe I have a picture on the wall with Vellu Helming!!!! )
The following day we headed for Mustique. Yet again Britannia Bay looked picturesque as we arrived.
Vellu and Paivi on Macaroni Beach - the 'celebrity beach' on Mustique
 We toured the Island in a 'taxi', had a drink in 'Basils', had sundowners at 'Firefly' and barbequed Lobsters on the boat.
2 Fresh Lobsters stored in salt water in our 'heads'........!!
A Tasty Lobster BBQ!
Tobago Cays and the turtles......we thought we had visited it for the last time! Dinner in the cockpit followed by an amazing sky.  The night sky is fantastic everywhere in the Caribbean but so far Tobago Cays has been far superior with so little light pollution for miles.
Happy Boys - note the bottle! 
Wallilabou Bay St Vincent, the film set of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Not only was a little disappointing as the film sets were looking neglected but where was Keira Knightley? The boys felt let down!
'Pirates of the Caribbean' Film set 
We went for a cold dip in a local waterfall, ate in 'Wallilabou Anchorage' and had a rolly night from the swell.
The mooring was interesting.  A long stern line is taken to the pontoon and a buoy on the bow.  To get ashore you have to pull yourselves in the dinghy along your mooring line and as the swell was so rough, lift your dinghy onto the pontoon......its all experience!
As expected the sail from St Vincent to St Lucia, renowned for having quite an acceleration zone and quite exposed to the Atlantic swell, was tough, but fully reefed Lazy handled it well.  Our main challenge was not so much the sailing but the gallons of fresh water as we caught every squall in the area. We sang loudly to 'Its Raining Men' as one squall drenched us - memorable!
'Its Raining Men'!!
Rodney Bay again! We had promised Vellu and Paivi that they wouldn't be disappointed by 'The Edge' and Chef Bobo, and yet again he exceeded all our expectations. What a restaurant, we hope he is a big success as this is only his first year.
'The Edge' Rodney Bay St Lucia
The sail to Martinique was sunny! Vellu helmed almost all the way making the most of his last day and we saluted 'Diamond Rock' as we passed.  An old naval tradition apparently!
A final drink in 'The Ponton' and we bid emotional fairwells to our Fins.  What a fun packed 10 days and almost 300 sailing miles (Well done Paivi!).  Thanks for a great time.