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Sailing Centime
Heidi Love & Dennis Jud
Sunset 1
Heidi,Perfect Weather
04/22/2012, St Anne, Martinique

Century Tree

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Sunset 2
Heidi,Perfect Weather
04/22/2012, St Anne, Martinique

View from our cockpit.

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04/23/2012 | Laurie & Craig
What a beautiful sight! Thanks for sharing the photo. Sounds like life has a great rhythm and you two are finding joy in it. The century tree looks like the first X-mas tree we had on St. T. many years ago...Hope all continues to go well for you!! Luvyoumadly! L.
Sunset 3
Heidi, perfect weather
04/22/2012, St Anne, Martinique

View from our cockpit.

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Daily Routines
Heidi / Magnifique!
04/07/2012, Martinique

We're continuing to enjoy Martinique. We've sailed around from the northwest corner at St. Pierre past the capital, Fort de France, which is in the center of the west coast, to St. Anne and Marin on the southeast. We're planning to spend several weeks here to get a bit of work done and await Hannah's visit in the middle of the month - YAY! Then at the end of the month we plan to go to a birthday party for our friend Michel before moving on to St. Lucia.

Our daily living typically starts with French coffee on deck and when we're lucky a fresh baguette or croissant. Next we do a bit of boat work and cleaning which often takes the full morning. We then will often go grocery shopping; since we don't have a car and our refrigerator and freezer are quite small this is a bit bigger task then at home, lugging food in backpacks and using our dingy. Later we try to access Internet which is often on shore, and lately we've been trying to work on our taxes. Sometimes instead we sail, snorkel or hike. Often we practice speaking broken French. And, sometimes we we have lunch, dinner or an outing with friends from other boats. By late afternoon we're typically quite hot and sweaty so we'll dive right off of the boat for a wonderful swim. We shower right out on deck before popping open a bottle of wine in time for a gorgeous sunset.

A few days ago we had a several hour sail and we saw a huge disturbance in the sea. Turned out to be a very large whale, spouting and broaching. We didn't see the whale as we needed to keep our distance in the boat but we did see the large spray and friends who were closer did get surprised by her.

We do often see turtles which are quite common here.

Dinner typically consists of something on the grill (tuna, mahi mahi, shrimp, chicken and an occasional steak) or sometimes just a lovely salad, cheese and baguette.

All in all it's a total adventure wherever we turn. And, the sunsets are truly magnifique!

The Google Earth plot is at St. Anne, where we were the other day and where we will be going back tomorrow (Sunday). We are currently a little northeast at a marina in Le Marin - pleasant place, but it is on a dock, and we really prefer to be on anchor! The sunset picture is from our anchorage in Grand Anse D'Arlet a few days ago.

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04/08/2012 | Lauren
What a beautiful sunset! Not too bad for a daily routine either.... except for the t_x word!
04/18/2012 | Jon Perruzzi
It's been a couple weeks since I checked out the blog. Still sounds like you're having too much fun. I've got a question (maybe someone has already asked it) - With all the different places you've been, how has it been going in and out of customs? When I've visited the Carribean I've only arrived by way of an airplane. Never a sailing vessel. Maybe it's a question I shouldn't ask......
04/18/2012 | Dennis J
Hey Jon, customs is a pain in the butt. Almost every island we go to we have to "check in" and "check out". Sometimes we can do it at the same time (check in and check out), especially in the French islands. Usually it's a trek to the customs office to fill out a bunch of papers and pay some nominal fee. Then do it all again upon departure. It's tempting to blow it off, but we can't quite seem to go that way!
04/20/2012 | Bonita
oooh la la!! You are living the good life in paradise for sure! The sunset photos are amazing...keep them coming! Heidi, you'll be happy to hear that I am being adventurous and buying Provence rose (hee hee!)
One Love! Irie I!!
04/20/2012 | Heidi
Ah Bren, ROSE! Over to the dark side. How was it? Did you smell the air from Provence when you opened it? Next one we open I will toast to you. (We had Muscadet tonight with the best French cheese ever.
Whitman's Sampler
Heidi / Pleasant weather
04/04/2012, Martinique

Once a year, when I was young, we were given a very large box of assorted chocolates called the "Whitman's Sampler." The box was filled with a multitude of chocolate surprises: a peanut cluster, chocolate covered toffee, mints, almonds, caramels and other delicacies. You often didn't know what you were getting until you took a risk, chose your piece and tasted it. I still remember my first discovery of the large piece with the rounded top which when I bit into it revealed a delicious syrupy cherry. I never met Whitman yet I thought he must be very special to have so many delightful confections made for him.

In a very small way, discovering the Caribbean Islands by sailboat is a bit like the travel-seeker's Whitman's Sampler - the best assortment for adventure. There are so many different countries, people, histories, stories, landscapes, coves and harbors to discover. Each is different and perhaps better than the last in many ways. And, the only way to really get to know them is to take a risk and taste what each island and its people have to offer you.

The other day, for example, we took a risk and left the peaceful anchorage of St. Pierre on the Northwestern side of Martinique to venture south of her capital, Fort du France. There we found a pretty little cove named Anse Noire, meaning small black bay. The head of the cove revealed a large cluster of palm tress creating a strikingly beautiful background to the colorful red brown rocks. The cliff edges that formed the cove rose sharply from the sea and were covered with lush green vegetation. Small brown birds, kingfishers, flew along the cliffs and disappeared into black holes along the sides. And if that wasn't idyllic enough, bright yellow butterflies flitted lazily across the topsides of our boat making the whole experience seem like a wonderful dream.

Shortly after we arrived a small wooden fishing skiff came into the cove and made its way to the northwestern edge, about 100 feet in front of us. In Martinique the most common fishing vessel is a type of pirogue, a handmade wooden craft about 12 feet long, some are dug out of one large tree. In many of the islands in the southeastern Caribbean the boats are painted in bright colors. This pirogue had varying shades of blue on the outside and bright orange and white inside. The fishermen had carefully painted her name on the side, "Balard Creteil."

The two fishermen maneuvered their craft expertly back and forth along the cliff edge, as if searching for a spot where they might find the largest catch. Stopping not far from our boat they began preparing their net and rolling the large unruly object into a neat, small package. Then "splash" they threw the small package into the air off of the boat and it instantly unrolled to form a circular net spread out in front of them. We then heard a second splash as one of the fisherman dove into the water and began to swim around the outside of the net. The second man who had remained in the boat began to hit the water with a five-foot-long stick as if he were calling to the fish, enticing them to swim into his net.

The swimmer made his way around the net while his partner continued to hit the water for perhaps 15 minutes longer. Then the swimmer clambered back into the boat and the two men began to pull in the net. As they pulled, fish jumped into the center of the net. Soon they had gathered what appeared to be about a 100 small fish. They were clearly pleased with their efforts. What a treat to watch! It was just a few moments in time but it captured the spirit of the day.

Over the last seven months we've had the opportunity to sail down the coast of America from Maine to North Carolina, and through the Eastern Caribbean, to sample a multitude of communities and islands and meet people of many different nationalities and walks of life. It has been a most amazing adventure for which I am grateful. Being on the sea, being somewhat self-sufficient and very much out in the elements, makes me feel fully alive. Capturing thousands of moments like these, around every bend, makes me truly joyful.

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of this journey, other than dropping my son off for his first year of college which was intensely sad, was leaving our jobs, our homes and our friends, and taking the first step. In the United States we seem quite programmed to have jobs and raise families in conventional ways. And while we might appear quite content financially and materially on a world scale, we never seem to have quite enough compared ot our neighbors and peers, so we work harder just to keep up. While a more conventional life may work quite well for some, I wonder how many of us get caught up in what we "should" do, who we "should" be, or importantly how much we "should" make and "should" save for the future, as I did. I also wonder how many of us truly grab the opportunity to realize our true passions.

That evening as we sat in the cockpit, sipping inexpensive but wonderful French wine and savoring the local cheese on a baguette, we watched the glorious colors of the setting sun over the clear blue waters. I feel very grateful both for the experiences of our journey and also for simply taking the risk to begin. Looking out at the endless sky on that starry night, I make a wish that those I love, and anyone who might stumble upon this writing and read it, are listening to their hearts and taking risks to sample life at it's fullest. Relaxing on deck I smile knowing of a few who recently have.

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04/04/2012 | Tim N Tina
A wonderful post. Thank you.

We are a couple of years away from leaving right now but we do live a boat already and are loving life.

Tim and Tina
S/V Alethiea
04/04/2012 | timley
love your story, and thank you, I so despiratley want this lifestyle, to just sail around to different ports, enjoying all the people and culture have to offer. Sill waiting on a sophmore to finish high school and head off to college before we can begin this dream. There are times I think I am being crazy and should stay here with the grown kids and grandchildren, then I read a post like yours and I say "HELL NO" I am going. lol gotta try it atleast for a year, then we will see what happens!
05/04/2012 | Mry Meuse
Eloquent, and worth every word. I have enjoyed following your journey. For those of unable to experience just beauty, I thank you for allowing us to share yours'!
Heidi/ Hot & Sunny
03/26/2012, St. Pierre

Nous sommes arrivee Martinique!

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03/29/2012 | Judy
Cool ... êtes-vous là-bas pour chercher un nouveau hors-bord? Vous n'aimez technologie ... il s'est il me semble que je sait comment parler français !
03/30/2012 | Bonita
oui! oui!
04/04/2012 | Jon Perruzzi
I've long since forgotten most of the french I learned in school...... Merci beaucoup (that's all I got) for the latest update with pictures.

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