28 Jan 2018

28 January 2018 - Martinique

There was some heavy weather forecast for the weekend in the form notifications high winds and rain showers, so we decided to stay ahead of it and move south to Martinique.

We by-passed Dominica once again and did the trip to St Pierre in one hop. On the way, we saw a pod of whales spouting in between us and the island which was nice to see, and we were rewarded with two deep dive exhibitions of tail flukes which was a real bonus.

Arriving at St Pierre we managed to get an anchoring spot and settled down for the night under the shadow of the volcano. Apart from the noisy charter boat next to us that turned into a disco at 1am, we had a reasonable night, if a little bit rolly (Debra decamped once again to an aft cabin which is more stable) and by morning the wind had dropped opped to nothing. It didn't  appear that we would be sailing much.

We set off and as we rounded the coast heading south, the winds picked up and we switched off the engine and sailed sedately down the island. On the way there were a couple of rain showers and a double rainbow which stayed visible for a good half hour.

After that, things got a bit livelier. We crossed the bay by Fort we France and were hit by a 50 knot squall that came out of nowhere and almost put us on our beam. We managed to round up and face into the wind and hold the boat there until the worst of the storm passed, then continue on. We were both drenched in the storm, not having had any time to think about wet weather gear, but we soon dried out again. Fortunately, we were well reefed down with small sails, otherwise we would have been in a much worse situation. Once again, the forecasters got the weather at by, both in terms of the strength and direction of the wind. Why we bother looking at these websites is beyond me.

We continued on to St Anne to the anchorage here. Hundreds of boats all around us, but the anchorage is huge so we have plenty of space around us. We will be re-provisioning here with French wines, cheeses and meats to cater for our next guests, although we might enjoy some of these delicacies ourselves. Other than that, we will ride out the high winds here, knowing we are secured to the seabed.

25 Jan 2018

25/1/17 : Relaxing in Les Saintes

We had an interesting sail down to Guadeloupe at the end of last week when the depth guage suddenly started registering values despite us being in over 800m of water (it goes blank once the sea bed is over 200m below us). For between 5 & 10 minutes it started displaying depths ranging from 5.5 to 10.5m rather suggesting something was swimming along below us at the same speed, gently rising and falling as it swam along. It was a strange feeling: we looked over the side but couldn't see anything. Could it be a shoal of fish? Pod of dolphins? Whale? We'll never know as the depth guage suddenly went blank again and remained that way until we were approaching Guadeloupe and entering shallower water. All very strange .....

After an overnight stopover in Deshaies to have dinner with friends we sailed on to Les Saintes and here we've remained for approaching a week. Paul's canny approach for securing a mooring ball in pole position paid dividends once again (he comes over in the dinghy first thing and hovers awaiting boats leaving and then grabs the best one available until I bring Tumi over) so we're tucked away in a sheltered spot whilst the majority of the bay rocks and rolls in the swell. We've spent our time here snorkeling, relaxing and socialising with a number of friends and eating fabulous baguettes and creamy brie, all washed down with a nice chilled rose ... what's not to like?!  We've even resurrected writing a novel we started 3 years ago ... over 45,000 words written to date!

There's some very windy weather forecast for the weekend so we'll head south to Martinique early tomorrow morning and ride it out in St Anne.  As with Antigua we'll be saying farewell to Les Saintes but at least have been lucky enough to spend nearly three weeks here this season.

19 Jan 2018

17/1/2017 : Farewell Antigua

We dropped off Phil and Judi yesterday after a fun two weeks spent between Antigua and Guadeloupe.  Sadly the weather was pretty unsettled with quite a few rain showers but they returned home relaxed and with a tan.  Our last full day was spent enjoying the luxury of Sheer Rocks restaurant at the Cocobay resort ... relaxing on daybeds with a personal plunge pool to cool off in, drinking cocktails and dining on creative tapas ... a wonderful day with the turquoise Caribbean Sea as a backdrop.  What's not to enjoy!

So today is about laundry, reprovisioning, cleaning, communication, haircuts etc in readiness for sailing away from Antigua tomorrow morning for the very last time.  It will be a sad moment as we've loved our time on this island over the years ... we estimate we've spent approaching 6 months here in total ... but we're very excited about the adventures to come.

Running out of battery .... more later!

12 Jan 2018

11 January 2018 Les Saintes

I caught a Barracuda the other day on our way south from Antigua. Everyone on board was so shocked, no-one managed to get a photo of my success. It was a good size, very healthy and full of teeth. Nevertheless, I managed to land it successfully, got the hook out of it's mouth and put it back to bite another day.

Since then we have been lounging around the islands in Les Saintes, snorkeling, dining well, drinking far too much, but then that's what cruising is all about. The islands here are simply beautiful, a great mix of culture, history, beauty and amazing snorkelling ... our favourite place in the Eastern Caribbean.

We've got to head north again soon but will be stopping off in Des Haies to visit the botanical gardens and hopefully hire a car to explore a bit of Guadeloupe.