More fun in Martinique
We left Grande Anse d’Arlet early on Friday morning headed for St. Anne
on the SE edge of Martinique. It is only a 16 nm sail, but for most of
the trip you have to head directly into the wind. The winds were
strong, but luckily, the seas were not terribly rough, and we had a
beautiful “motor” into St. Anne’s anchorage. This is apparently a very
popular spot in Martinique, and we can see why. The anchorage is huge,
and reasonably protected from any swell. It has mountains around it,
but they are not terribly high, so they allow for a nice breeze to blow
through the anchorage. The town is an adorable little tourist town with
a good patisserie, several restaurants, well stocked grocery stores, a
couple of fruit stores, plus a daily market where they vend all sorts of
fruits and vegetables, plus a huge variety of spices and flavored rums.
Very friendly and clean and French ( garbage cans everywhere and
public toilets – both important things in the scheme of things). We had
to check in to Martinique as we had already been in the country for a
couple of days without checking in at either St. Pierre or Grand Anse,
so as soon as we anchored we jumped in the dinghy and headed across the
bay to the town of Le Marin where the customs office is. It was a 3
mile dinghy ride, and much to our chagrin, the wind was so strong and
the seas so choppy that it was a pretty uncomfortable ride. Marin is a
huge yachting center as well as the major yacht chartering marina around
here and there were literally hundreds of boats in the harbor and at the
docks. We managed to find the customs office at 12:20, just 10 minutes
before they closed for the day. They checked us in incredibly quickly
and efficiently – and we were done before 12:30. Starving, hot and
thirsty, we stopped at the big local seaside restaurant there – and had
a bad, slow, but otherwise enjoyable lunch. Sometimes the French style
of serving can be frustrating – talk about taking it easy – they are so
leisurely – I don’t think you can have a lunch in less than 2 hours
anywhere. Interesting. We spent 90 minutes in an internet cafe trying
to catch up on communications, and then headed back to the boat in
calmer winds and seas than when we arrived.
Mark’s sister Naomi arrived at the square in front of the church in St.
Anne at the appointed time yesterday, along with some incredibly heavy
bags filled mostly with gifts for Bernita’s family in St. Lucia.
Bernita has provided loving care to Mark’s mother in New York City for
the past four years. We had to use a halyard and winch to bring the
bags onto the boat. That evening we returned to St. Anne to walk
around, tried to make some phone calls, and had a lengthy dinner. This
morning we checked out the open air market in St. Anne before hiking
along a trail that paralleled the coast with the goal of visiting the
beach at Anse Salines. It was a bit more of a walk then we bargained for
so we headed back after crossing Pointe Dunkerque with a view to St.
Lucia. It started to rain hard just as we approached the Restaurant
Ouai Ouai adjacent to the Hotel Caritan. Rain squalls this time of year
usually last all of ten minutes (except in the mountains), but this one
lasted all afternoon. We had a 2 1/2 lunch overlooking the beach as the
rain beat down on the roof. When we left it was still raining although
not as hard. We picked up two of these great rotisserie chickens and a
couple cases of Didier, our favorite sparkling water, and returned to
the dinghy which had a 6 inches of water in the bottom. We left the
dinghy pump on “Sabbatical III” and could not bail it out. It did not
matter since we were wet from the rain and it was raining still. Upon
arrival at the boat, Laura and Naomi skinny-dipped while Mark kept his
nose strategically in a book. Tomorrow morning we have to go to Marin
to perform the required check-out before sailing off to Rodney Bay, St.
Lucia, weather permitting.
L. & M.