After a quiet night at anchor in Rodney Bay, we set sail for Martinique, 23 nm northward, the last of the Windward Islands. We put a double reef in the mainsail before we entered into the swell directly coming across the open Atlantic ocean into St Lucia Passage. With 20-25 knot of wind and 9-11 foot seas, we did well averaging 7- 8 knots over ground.
We were greeted by Darren’s first seaward approach from dolphins halfway across the channel. Bucket list # 43 ☺
Sailing along merrily, Darren went below to check on the hatches ( with water coming over the bow, we wanted to ensure they were all closed properly. Salt water takes a long time to dry….. when just at that moment, ZIIIIINGGGGG on the PortSide fishing Rod!!! We quickly headed up into the wind to take off the speed and pressure, and Colin reeled in our FIRST catch! And what a catch it was, a 3 foot long Wahoo!!! And what do you say when you catch a Wahoo? Ask my kids, Kris and Kyle and they will tell you- WAHOO!!!!! They are a fast fish with a big mouth, firm white meat, perfect for ceviche and pan frying! At last our drought has broken!
We continued on to Le Marin where we took up anchorage in 3 meters of water outside the marina. There are soooooooooo many boats here. W enjoyed our dinner of fresh Wahoo, garlic bread and plantains
Martinique is name the Isle of Flower, and is centrally located in the heart of the arc formed by the Antilles, at 14 degrees North. The rugged landscape is a mix of volcanic mountains, verdant hills with white an black sand beaches. Club Med is right outside our doorstep in the anchorage. Martinique was populated over 2000 years ago with a rich history of war and culture extermination, including that of Christopher Columbus, Napoléon Bonaparte, and Victor Schoelcher, and including the Battle of Trafalgar. The history is rich and diverse on this island of 400,000 black, mullatos, white, creole, French and barely English speaking population.
We finished the business we needed to do in Le Marin and moved over to the anchorage at Ste Anne. It was more peaceful, being out of the hub of the city, and still soooooo many boats. The Water was clearer and warm. We went into town in the morning and picked up a warm croissant for breakfast. We could get used to this. We found some wifi, and did a bit of ‘internetting”
We departed Ste Anne and headed to Fort de France, the capital of Martinique. We had a beautiful sail with the parasailer up hitting 9.3 knots over ground. A Parasailer is a unique sail that we don’t use much of in the Pacific Northwest. It has a “gap” thru the middle of it, about 1/3 way down from the head of the sail, which gives the boat some lift and speed. On the way, Colin found that the Generator would not stay running, ass we tried to turn it on to make water in the clean ocean underway. So as Darren and I sailed the boat, Colin climbed in the generator compartment and found that the impeller was in bits. Good thing he had a new one on board this time!!! All is well again.
We anchored close in to the resort at Anse de Mitan. Darren and I went into town and checkout out the local sights in this little resort town. We found a Beer and wif, as this seems to be our main need in Martinique. The beer brought us to cheers our very good friends back home.
In the morning, we all went into the other side of Mitan, to find some wifi and have a croissant for breakfast, the ONLY place we found open was a hotel. It was an expensive croissant and café, and NO WIFI, even though the staff said there was… as we sat down. Its frustrating.
So we pulled up anchor and popped up the Parasail again, and sailed our way northward to the town of St Pierre. NOW this is a cool little town. It has since been rebuilt, and is very European.
St Pierre was the “Paris of the Caribbean” was the commercial social and cultural center of Martinique before Mt Pelle exploded in May 1902. The wealth of the island lay in the plantations, the richest of which surrounded this bustling commercial center. Ships would take on Rum, sugar, coffee and cocoa, There were enough bars, brothels and dancing girls to satisfy the sailors, of which were many in the harbor. The eruption was not a complete surprise, as the Volcano had given some early warning signs, but early roads, inefficient ferries made it difficult to evacuate the town. When the side of the volcano glowed red and burst open, it released a giant fireball of superheated gas, rock, rubble and ash with more force than an atomic bomb. Two people of the 29,000 survived. One a cobbler, and one, a prison inmate who was locked in a stone cell. The prisoner went on to work for Barnum and Bailey Circus as “the burned man” Many of the ruins still remain
The town has since been rebuilt, is a quaint European type feel, and very French speaking. My Spanish didn’t work here at all ☺ The baguettes were plentiful, croissants delightful and people were friendly.
Again the Port Captain was efficiently on time at ten minutes to 11 in the morning, instead of the scheduled 9:30. Colin checks us out of the country and we made our departure for Dominica.
Discussions on “the Pocket” of the mainsail.