Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

Back in France - Martinique - Saint Pierre to Sainte Anne

25 March 2024 | Martinique
Donna Cariss
We motored out of Roseau and put the mainsail up but we didn't have enough wind to sail until we neared the southern tip of Dominica at 0700 hours. Once we were sailing though, it was great. This was the most consistent wind and sea state that we had experienced since arriving in the Caribbean. We were sailing alongside Papillon, the same yacht that had raced us to the water buoy 2 days ago and it felt like we were racing now. They had a reef in the main, so we gradually overtook them and left them behind for a while. Around 11am, just before we crossed into French waters, we saw a whale, about 100 metres ahead of the boat. Pete heard and then saw the plume, as it breached. He shouted in time for me to see it arching out of the water and diving back down. We watched for 10 to 15 minutes but didn't see it breach again and later, speaking to the couple on Papillon, they hadn't seen it. 10 minutes later, we had a reef in the main and we continued to sail well for just over half an hour, until we came into the wind shadow of Martinique and had to resort to the engine. At 1200 hours, the wind came back, from the north west this time and we sailed again without reefs. It was nice to be on a starboard tack for a change. 45 minutes later, we had to go back to engine, as we could not reach Saint Pierre with 8 knots of wind, which would have been behind us. At 2pm we were on a mooring buoy, very close to the beach but still with 3 metres of water under the keel. The yachts and cats were all very close and it was bouncy in the bay. Papillon ended up next to us. We went to clear in, an easy process in the French islands. You just go to the designated place, in this case the Capitanerie and use the computer to complete the online form. This is printed out for you, stamped, you pay €5 and you're done; the same on departure. We went for a quick beer, did some shopping and returned to the dinghy dock, where we bumped into Peter and Ingrid, from Ocean Deva. They had arrived just after us, having sailed directly from Portsmouth, avoiding Roseau and were also on a buoy only a small distance from us. The dinghy dock was awful, with the swell throwing dinghies against it and under it. We had tied on tight and high to combat this as best we could. Back on board, we had a swim, spent a nice evening on board, with the swell disappearing and slept really well.
Next morning, while it was still calm and the dinghy dock was safe, we went ashore to buy provisions at the Super U and Carrefour Express. We had the dinghy lifted and were ready to leave by 0945 hours. Ocean Deva had already left, heading straight to Le Marin. The wind was very frustrating, up and down between 4 and 20 knots and forever changing direction. Eventually, we dropped the sails and motored, as did everyone else. Then, as we rounded the headland towards Fort de France, the wind hit 26 knots on the nose, so we headed for shelter, from the wind and swell, dropping anchor at Fond La Haye, a little fishing port just north of Schoelcher. We were alone there, although the anchorage at Schoelcher soon became busy. We listened to the Rhinos lose to Saint Helens on the radio and go out of the Challenge Cup. The night started calm but by 2am, with the wind dropped, the rolling started. At 6am, the rolling stopped and I went back to sleep, to be awoken by the alarm at 7.45am.
The wind was forecast to be quite strong from the east, so we decided to head for Anse Mitan rather than Trois Ilets, as Mitan was on the west side of the small headland, Trois Ilets on the east side. We motored across the buoyed channel and found the moorings and anchorages to be very busy. We eventually anchored, backing up towards the CAM buoy, which marks a wreck which is clearly visible above the water, especially at low tide. Pete snorkelled to check the anchor and reported that it was in but only 10 feet from a large underwater fish cage. After lunch, when we were confident we were holding, we went ashore and walked up the beach and down the one street that was the town. We headed through the backstreets and found ourselves on the other side of the headland, looking at Trois Ilets, which was quiet, calm and not busy at all. Shelter was being provided by the larger of the three islands. We headed to a bar / restaurant, Le Kano, for a drink, sitting in the courtyard at the rear, where it was cool, with fans that sprayed water. Entre Deux Mers turned out to be a very good white wine. The waitress was lovely too, so we had a second round of drinks. Back on board, we were harassed by jet skis and small speed boats coming through the anchorage at full speed, with no regard for their impact on the anchored yachts. When everything calmed, we lifted the dinghy, filled up with diesel from the spare cans and spent a happy evening in the cockpit listening to music. After dark, a large yacht arrived and anchored quite close to us but not too close. They did well to anchor in such a busy place. We set the anchor drag alarm before going to bed.
At 6am the anchor alarm went off. We had swung round 75 feet but all was ok. We were ready to leave at 8.15am and needed to take care not to catch the anchor on the fish cage. We managed to sail, on the foresail, downwind for 25 minutes, during which we struggled to avoid a French yacht who seemed to want to pass port to port, under sail when we were give way yacht on port tack. After that we lost the wind and had to motor. Pete saw an eagle ray jumping, chasing fish. As soon as we rounded the headland we were hit with 21 knots of wind on the nose, against the tide, giving Pete a long face. There was no point trying to sail as we were close to our intended anchorage. We had passed Anse Noir, which we had been told had excellent snorkelling but it looked full. Due to the wind, we investigated Grande Anse but that was all mooring buoys, so we continued on to Petit Anse d'Arlet, as originally planned but headed for the south side for shelter. It was Sunday and we could hear the gospel singing from the church, high on the hill, above the anchorage. We both snorkelled to shore but there was nothing much to see. The anchor was well in though. Around lunchtime, 3 small motor boats arrived, sporting silver balloons and playing loud music and they anchored close to the shore, tying off to trees or rocks. As the afternoon went on, the number of boats and jet skis increased to well over 25, all tied together. Now they seemed to have a DJ and the music and commentary got louder. It was a real party. Shame about most of the music they played. By 8pm, they had all left us in peace.
The anchor alarm went off at 0023 but we were just turning with the current. We were up at 6.15am, thinking that we would try to beat the wind, to get round the next headland, on our way to Sainte Anne. There was no wind at all to begin with, then, as we approached the Passe des Fous, a narrow gap between the mainland and a large, sheer rock, we were hit by a squall. It was the worst possible place, with the wind and tide funnelling through the strait. We could manage only 1.2 to 2.3 knots under engine. From the north, the rock looked like a tiger, from the east, like a St Bernard (see gallery) and from the south, was the spit and image of the elephant man. By 0940, having made it through the strait and the squall, we were sailing, although tacking backwards and forwards, slowly making progress towards Sainte Anne. We arrived at 1155 hours, having taken 5 hours and 15 minutes to cover what would have been 13.5 miles in a straight line. We anchored in the most westerly place, Cay Caritan, where there were fewer boats. As we looked east, towards the town, the boats became more and more crowded together. The bottom is sand and rock and it took 2 attempts for the anchor to hold. Pete snorkelled and the anchor chain went round 2 large rocks. I swam and then had a deck shower, washing my hair too and then we went to Sainte Anne. It was about a mile to the excellent dinghy dock. We had heard reports of dinghy thefts from here, so locked the dinghy to the dock. Unusual for a French island, there was a large trash bin at the end of the dock. We found a lovely bar, on stilts over the water, with a good view of our dinghy. We spent a comfortable night on board.

Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
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Created 26 September 2020
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Photos of Muirgen preparations
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39 Photos
Created 11 August 2017
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Created 1 July 2017
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Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
10 Photos
Created 19 June 2017
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Created 15 June 2017
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Created 15 June 2017
The Beautiful Kvitsoy
5 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
8 Photos
Created 5 June 2017
13 Photos
Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
16 Photos
Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
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Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016