22 June 2016
After a couple of days in Deshaise, Guadeloupe, we sailed down to Les Saints. They've always had buoys there, €9 a night for my size boat, but Panne e Sucre has been an anchorage. Not so much any more. Paying mooring balls everywhere! They can have it. I won't stop there again. It's sad for the local businesses as I don't think that they were consulted in the decision.
I found a small place to anchor near the town of Terre de Haut, near Tete Rouge. It was a bit roly with all the ferries coming and going. A night or two there was enough. Up anchor again and 4 of us went around to Anse Fideling on the island of Terre Bas. It was still a bit roly here but if the swell had been out of the north, I think it would have been very comfortable. One night there and sailed for the island of Dominica. We had cleared out of Guadeloupe the previous day. We decided to anchor half way down Dominica, in a bay called Mero. It's known as a day anchorage but we found it very comfortable overnight.
The following morning we set sail for St. Pierre, Martinique. We had a little wind in the lee of Dominica, but as we cleared the bottom of the island, we had winds of up to 40kts. I had a single reef in the main and was flying the staysail. A little over canvassed I'd say. When we were well clear of the wind shear from the island, the winds steadied to about 20-25 kts and I put some of the genoa out. I was humming along at about 7 kts and a squall was approaching. As I'm furling the genoa it hits and flogs the sail a bit. This then broke the stitching of the sacrificial leech and foot. The part that protects the sail from the UV rays while it's furled. So I left it furled.
St. Pierre, Martinique, was very nice. Some of us walked up to the Depaz rum distillery where we did the tour and tasting. The rum was not to my liking at all. It was a great walk though.
After a couple of days we were off to Fort de France where we anchor nearly in the city. It's a very pretty city with a lot of old buildings, markets etc. Cool place to walk around. And the grocery stores are some of the best in the Caribbean. From there we motored across the bay to Trios Islets. It's a little village next to a golf course and a nice calm anchorage although the water isn't that clear. We have friends there who are starting a new boulangerie, bakery, there. They sail too but now have a house there and a crowd of us spent a great Sunday afternoon braaing and enjoying their swimming pool. Thanks Samuel and Corenne! I haven't been in that much fresh water for quite a while. On Monday I motored around to Grand Anse for a quiet couple of days. And then moved around the corner to Anse d'Arlets. Very pretty indeed. Then came the slog. We motored out and went between Point Diamond and Diamond Rock. I was in the company of Out Of Africa. As we cleared the rock a squall hit us with so much rain that I couldn't see my own bow. To top this off, there was another sailboat, with the mast down and lashed to the deck motoring around. Their engine kept dying and the guy was hand steering but had to go below to start it again. This boat would come out of the rain at 90 deg to me and shoot across my stern. It was like he was charging me with a jousting pole out the front. Needless to say, I gave him a wide berth after that.
We arrived in Le Marin after 9 miles of motoring into an easterly wind, with no damage. The following day, I took the head sail into be restitched and also went to see a highly recommended fridge guy. He came out to the boat and tried to regas the fridge but found out that the capillaries in the evaporator plate had become blocked and it needed to be replaced. That was done in an afternoon and lightened my wallet considerably. But it freezes down now, as it should. And it's only drawing half the power that it was using. John, on Out of Africa, helped me put the headsail back up and now I'm anchored in the calm bay of St Anne's, having caught up with friends on Naughtidog, Pipe, Skabenga, Mandalay, Ocean Maiden and, at last, Partners. I've done a lot of provisioning here and plan to sail to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. I'll stop for the night and the next morning sail down the lee side of the island, across to St. Vincent and on to Bequia. A long day sail ahead.