Travelling South to Grenada - Dominica to St Lucia

Mon 22 Apr 2013 19:16
14:04.435N 060:56.984W
Just before we left Portsmouth we had a couple of very pleasant chance encounters. One was with a couple of lovely classic yachts that were presumably on their way to the Classics Regatta in Antigua which came and graced our anchorage.  First in was Rainbow a new J Class and then Thendara a Fife built gaff ketch came and anchored alongside us.
Thendara entering the anchorage at Portsmouth
The second was with Andre and Elodie from the plucky little vessel Gros Calin (Big Hug) who we met in the middle of the Atlantic. We had talked on the radio and exchanged emails with pictures of our boats in mid ocean and seen them in the distance as we cruised up the islands but we had never met so it was great when they came into the anchorage and we were finally able to have a drink together. They are heading back to France in the next few months but we hope to catch up with them by road later in the summer as they will be based at La Roche Bernard, one of our favourite places on the west coast also close to several of our friends who live there.
Andre & Elodie from Gros Calin
 Gros Calin at anchor
On Monday 15 April we headed 20 miles on down the west coast of Dominica and picked up a mooring off Roseau the capital. The main reason for the visit was to find an internet cafe so we could sort some business out which required photocopying and scanning in of documents. Having done that we were very fortunate that on our way back to Petronella we decided to stop for a beer at the rather smart Fort Young Hotel right on the waters edge.  Apparently this is reckoned to be one of the most 'prestigious and interesting' establishments in the island being converted from an old 18th century fort. We never did get a beer because a really helpful waitress advised us that if we waited 10 minutes until six o'clock we could have free rum punches. This we took advantage of and decided after a couple of these that the five course hot Buffet looked excellent value at £25 each, the live music including steel drums was great, the service was friendly and that the obvious thing to do was to stay for dinner. Definitely one of our better decisions - aah the joys of cruising!
Next morning the other side of cruising reared it's head as the weather had changed, so in the pouring rain with grey skies we set off for Martinique. We had variable winds and heavy rain on and off all day and were pleased to pick up a mooring 62 miles further on at Le Marin at the south end of Martinique. Overnight we again had very heavy rain and the whole bay was stained brown the next morning with many branches and some quite large tree trunks etc. floating around.  The sun came through the following day and the skies cleared so out came the local boats to show us how to do it!  They seem very precarious to us as the young lads clamber up and down planks which are wedged into the boat, and their weight somehow manages to keep the boat upright!  They appear to have no keels and the rudder is also the paddle when needed - the sails are held up with bamboo poles.
Local boat sailing in Le Marin Harbour, Martinique
Trying to keep the boat upright!
We spent a couple of days pottering round and stocking up with French goodies (mainly wine and cheese!) at pretty reasonable prices (subsidised by the EEC no doubt) before heading off for St Lucia just 23 miles away. We had a lovely sail with a free, warm wind and by five o'clock were all moored up in Rodney Bay Marina. Where upon the sky clouded over and the rain started again. It carried on and off all night and of course everybody says it is most unusual for this time of year ie the dry season and short sharp showers followed by sunshine are the norm. The forecast looks better for next week so fingers crossed.