St Lucia family holiday…

Tuesday was another beautiful sunny and hot day….so we spent most of the day by the pool…and got Mum bobbing in both the pool and the sea – with beer in hand – and she really enjoyed it!   Mum’s hotel room is great and has smashing views across both the pool and into the anchorage beyond….     As it’s Mum’s holiday we are giving her the choice where to eat each night along the tourist strip behind Reduit Beach.    Tonight it was the turn of Firegrill steak house – fantastic fantastic steak… bit pricey as it comes with nothing other than garnish so all veggies are extra…. But absolutely lovely meal and we all went home pretty happy and full.

Wednesday it was time for Mum to have another adventure! So in the middle of the afternoon – of another hot sunny day – we got Mum to travel in the dink to take her to visit Morphie. All went smoothly although she did look a bit nervous as she is frightened of being on water which out of her depth!  But she did well….bless…. So we gave her the grand tour of Morphie who was beautifully turned out and sparkling with her freshly polished hull and stainless steel… Then we went into the marina for sundowners at the Boardwalk bar – amazed by the beautiful sky this evening – and then back on board for dinner. Only a pasta dish but we had a really nice evening in the cockpit before putting her in a cab back to her hotel. Really pleased that she has met Morphie as we have gone on and on and on about her for so long now!!!!

Thursday and the weather turned again….  Richard stayed on Morphie this morning to get on with some boat jobs and give me and Mum some girlie time…    So we were in and out of the pool in the sun and then, finally, up to her room to sit on the balcony and watch the torrential rain. But we made the most of it and, in the evening (along with a huge golfing umbrella!), went to the Chinese. Wow….it was fantastic. A great meal and we went back to the beach bar at Mum’s hotel for final drinks of the night. Lovely end to a nice day, despite the weather.

Friday night was another unsettled day with rain on and off. But hey who cares….we are on a family holiday. So again dodged the rain showers and in the evening took off to the local jump up in Gros Islet where we ate local food and drank too much rum!!!! Enjoyed the dancing; the singing; the drummers; the loud loud music; the company of a great couple from NY that we met; and these old party goers made the most of it. Got home very very late and all a bit wrecked.

Saturday morning we had organised a boat trip to take Mum down the east coast to give her a flavour of our cruising life…. So we had planned for her to come by taxi to the marina for 9.00 am….for a 10.00 am departure on Maliki’s boat. Well – she turned up – but she looked like death warmed up and we weren’t much better. However, we just had a well-deserved hangover, Mum was really ill (and not through the drink) and was near tears.    Clearly she wasn’t going to be able to make it today – and not an option to reschedule as she was leaving tomorrow…  A real disappointment and we felt that we couldn’t let Maliki down as, at this stage, he couldn’t get anybody else to book the trip.  So we put Mum back in a taxi to her hotel with strict instructions to go back to bed – and went on the trip without her.  It was really interesting to see hotels nestling into the lush scenery, to pass through rock formations and to go into the bat cave which is only accessible by boat. And we certainly wouldn’t have gone that close to rocks in Morphie – that takes serious local knowledge!!!!  So despite our hangovers we had a great trip down to Marigot and back and returned to Mum’s hotel for the afternoon.

Mum had managed to sleep it off, and although still fragile, we enjoyed the rest of the day together. None of us was in the mood to eat a huge meal on Saturday night but wanted to go out as it was our last night together. So we ended up eating waterfront at the Tapas Bar – which overlooks the lagoon – but then had to run inside to escape the torrential rain again….. A nice small meal picking at a nice selection –  we then headed off back to Rehab – the bar not the facility – and had our last cocktails together before bed.

Sunday morning – Mum’s last day – and the rain was still coming down and hadn’t stopped all night…. So we headed over to the hotel by taxi rather than by dink and ended up spending the time in her room on the balcony – playing cards and having a bit of a laugh. But then the time came to go – and we helped her down with her case to wait for her transfer. Oh yes, forgot island time.

Eventually (after the hotel reception chased down the rep) the minibus turned up at 2.50pm. Only 45 minutes late… And now it was time to say goodbye… Oh dear – this was difficult – and I ended up in tears again. Have really enjoyed seeing Mum and ended up waving goodbye shouting out see you at the end of August…which is when we get home this season.   Felt a bit low – and still in the rain – we returned quietly to the marina.  Richard treated me to a proper roast beef and Yorkshire pudding lunch – a little bit of home comfort was gratefully received – and we ended up just going back to Morphie and having a real quiet non-alcohol day.

Monday morning again it’s raining – this is really getting me down now – as the boat feels damp and it is so difficult to get stuff cleaned. But time to get back into gear – so we headed out to the supermarket for some major provisioning as we need to start eating on board again!!! – and did other boat jobs like the laundry and marking the anchor chain. Went ashore for an hour or so for sundowners – still with rain all around – and then back on board for a quiet dinner and evening.

This morning – guess what, it’s still raining!!!!  Grrrrrrr….    More boat jobs today and time to get ready to go back to sea.   Planning to leave for an anchorage near the Pitons tomorrow and then on to Bequia.   But all depends on weather of course.  Will keep you posted.

Bye for now


Rain, rain, go away….

Tuesday night and Morphie is looking sparkling and clean – at least on the outside!!!  We go out for sundowners expecting to come back on board for dinner, but the heavens opened and we had no jackets or brollies. So we ran to the nearest restaurant – a Thai – and had dinner out instead. By bed time it was still raining so we got soaked making our way back on board.

Wednesday….heavens opened again…..and we carry on doing boat jobs down below like the internal stainless steel and scrubbing the heads…..    So now Morphie is sparkling clean inside as well….  During the afternoon the weather cleared up – hurrah – and we went ashore for happy hour.  We’ve found a waterside bar doing a promotion of a bucket of five beers for £5, happy days….    But again, we end up being stranded in the rain but this time we just legged it, got back soaked, and had a quiet night aboard.  But whilst sitting it out we were entertained by the lady carrying her little dog in a bag looking like Dougall from Magic Roundabout!

Thursday and it was raining again.  Oh dear, mum flies in today for 10 days holiday, so hope the sun comes out before she lands…. After a morning of boat jobs, getting some laundry done, we head off round to her hotel and await her arrival. Feel quite choked up and emotional. Stupid girl!   Anyway, she finally arrives around 4pm, I get her checked in and quickly unpacked and settled – lovely huge room with a great view over the pool and the sea beyond. Quite jealous of the air conditioning and a king-size bed that doesn’t move! Down to the beach bar to meet up with Richard and we have a really nice happy hour reunion sipping champagne before we leave her to catch up on her sleep….

Friday morning we head over to her hotel and it’s still a bit miserable – so have coffee in the lounge debating what to do. Then, luckily, the sun came out so we had a lazy pool day. Mum and I particularly enjoyed the very hot Jacuzzi…. We left her to it around 4pm and went back to Morphie to get washed and brushed up for a night out. We all decided that we didn’t want dinner as we had had a very late lunch in her hotel earlier around the pool – so went on a bit of a pub crawl down the Rodney Bay strip behind the Reduit Beach hotels. We ended the evening in a bar called Rehab which was local and rustic. Mum thought the sight of people using Segways as their transport pretty funny! After a really chilled evening, we made sure Mum was tucked up safely back at her hotel and returned back to the marina and Morphie.

During the night the heavens opened again….and our idea of a beach day on Saturday really wasn’t going to work. We know that we will just end up sitting around playing cards or something so we decided to hire a car for a couple of days rather than the original plan of taking tours with guides. So went and picked mum up from her hotel in our little car.  As well as rain it is very humid and not quite what we had in mind when we planned for mum to visit in the DRY season!  Oh well, what can you do, apart from have a good time?  We were surprised at the industrial side of Castries, amazed at the lush rainforest interior, and many many banana plantations.  During the day we went to Marigot Bay for lunch – a pretty anchorage with a swanky resort and a mangrove swamp making it a good hurricane hole.

Driving down the west Caribbean coast we navigated through Soufriere and had our first views of the Pitons. In the poor weather conditions hanging over the mountains they looked real sinister!  And the wind and rain was coming down virtually horizontal so we could see the palm trees bending and hanging onto the side of mountains for dear life! 

Driving around these crazy roads – not all of them in good condition – up and down and around and through small villages with loads of dogs barking at us, cows tethered and the occasional goat. Loads of Seventh Day Adventist churches too with very loud sermons being heard along the way…. Along with the strange sight of a naked man just standing there with his arms open to the heavens and enjoying the rain… Not quite what I expected to see but hey, everyone to their own!

Going round the bottom of the island we reached the Atlantic sea on the east coast and it was rough, with loads of reefs and rollers coming in….. This was a very different landscape and almost scrubland – but faster roads, so made it back to the marina at a reasonable hour. Introduced Morphie to mum for the very first time…with mum really amused by the visiting fruit and veg man!   Anyway, we had sundowners on board before heading off into the marina for dinner and some live jazz music. Nice evening had by all….

Sunday morning we have the car for another day and this time are planning to hit some of the tourist hot spots. The day started encouragingly with even a bit of blue in the sky – hurrah! However, it was short lived, and by the time we got to our first stop at the botanical gardens we were getting wet again – although this time we were prepared with an umbrella and jackets! Had a great walk through the gardens marvelling at some of the beautiful flowers and enjoyed the trail. At the end of the trail was the Diamond waterfall which does not allow bathing as it has large mineral / metal deposits within the water. Not hugely impressive but worth seeing. After this we went to the public baths which are fed by the naturally hot spring water – and are supposed to have youthful properties. Well we bathed for a while in this beautiful hot natural water and we are all 10 years younger now!

Leaving the botanical gardens behind we drove through Soufriere towards the drive-in volcano and went up to the information centre and watched a short film about how the sulphur springs and hot geysers were formed. Really interesting…then we walked around the crater and took in the amazing sight. Hard to believe you are in the middle of a volcanic crater. Then it was onto the high light of the trip – playing around in the hot mud pools. As you can see we had a bit of a laugh here and, yes, Richard did eventually wash his face! Oh yes, and you might want to know, that the temperature in this pool was really really hot….like a bath. We haven’t felt this clean since we left home in November!!!

We then went to the swanky Ladeera resort and had lunch with an amazing backdrop of the most spectacular view of the Pitons and the anchorage below. Amazing buffet and even better deserts and we all left here completely full… Back to mum’s hotel and we had sundowners – in the rain – at the beach bar before leaving her to an early night and back on board ourselves for an early night pretty shattered.

Monday morning we woke up and – hurrah, at last!!!! – the sun is out…  So we quickly dinked round to mum’s beach having a quick look at the fishing boats in Gros Islet in the channel and then spent the day by the pool and bobbing on the beach.   Last night we went out for a curry.  Perfect end to a perfect day.   Fingers crossed that this weather continues for the rest of her trip.

Bye for now.

On the move again – we’ve made it to St Lucia

Thursday morning we were up and about pretty early and headed out in our little car – this time into the interior around the bottom half of the island. First stop was a lookout place called Morne Gommier which had amazing 360 degree panoramic views… This was a pretty enterprising local lady who had built concrete steps and a viewing platform high above her house along with a little bar and a pretty selection of plants – and charged €2 for the privilege of climbing up to see the views. You know what – good luck to her – it was worth every penny !!!

Coming down we decided to cut across inland following a little road on the map….well, guess what, we found the vertical climbs again reminiscent of Dominica and we even ran out of tarmac. Our little hire car was really not built for this and there were a few hairy moments when the occasional car came the other way and Richard had to resort to first gear just to stop us sliding backwards. But despite all that it was great fun – and we did see some goats and those really pretty (but skinny) cows.  As a bonus, we even ended up where we thought we would….

Back on the Atlantic coast we followed a road towards a range of beaches – driving for about 20 minutes down a dirt track – and suddenly, out of nowhere, was a selection of villas some of which were occupied, others padlocked firmly shut whilst many were only building shells…..and all just plonked there in the middle of nowhere…with no facilities of any description.  Wondered whether these are holiday places rather than residential homes, but even so???  It was all a bit strange to be honest.   Eventually we ended up finding the beaches but we didn’t hang around for long…. instead we headed back towards our end of the island.

Driving around we really enjoyed the sights and sounds of Martinique with luscious greenery, colourful planted verges on the main roads and the complete contrast between three-lane motorways and concrete / dirt tracks. One of the things that really stood out though was the huge amount of unfinished housing construction around…. difficult to tell whether this was a housing boom and bust or just a boom…. but with the lack of building activity and/or materials I suspect the former. And you had to feel for the people who were living in their new apartments next to shells of others that hadn’t been completed. Oh well I guess the economic downturn has hit everywhere….. Another long tiring day so back on board for a quiet night.

Friday morning we returned the car – although we frustratingly had to wait 25 minutes for them to open the office – clearly on island time!!! Then off to get some last minute fresh provisions and into the marina office to check out of Martinique with customs for our next destination…. Decided that we would rather jump off from Sainte Anne than Marin so picked up our hook and went around the corner…. Got a good set first time and enjoyed a swim off the back in nice water. Did a few boat jobs and then went ashore for sundowners…and bumped into Cutter Loose and Dragon’s Toy, fellow island packeteers… We haven’t seen Eric and Pat since Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands which seems like a lifetime ago now. Anyway, we enjoyed visiting with them for an hour or so and then went back on board to watch our final Martinique sunset – which didn’t let us down with gorgeous colours again…

Saturday morning we slipped out of Sainte Anne for our run down to St Lucia. Aurevoir Martinique….

We had an amazing reach – at last!!! – and the wind stayed in the low 20s all the way. Absolutely fantastic stuff…although a few large rogue waves hit us on the side…but we had a great time and made the 24 miles in four hours even though we were being swept away from our destination by the tide… Still no whales or dolphins though. Oh well, a girl can’t have everything!

Arrived at Rodney Bay marina, St Lucia – where we have booked a slip – and we can’t raise them on the VHF.So we ended up going through the narrow entrance, completely through the marina and eventually into the lagoon where we picked up a mooring ball. Dinked into the marina to find customs shut for lunch – but by the time we had sorted out our slip in the marina office they had reopened…. Bit laborious to say the least. Back to Morphie, slipped the mooring, and then proceeded to our slip. As we did this we realised that huge numbers of World Arc Rally boats had come in all parading loads of flags…. This is the destination for the end of the Arc – a 16 month circumnavigation – and we turned up just at the time they came in.. No wonder there was no-one answering the radio! Never mind – we are set now and Morphie enjoyed being tied up to a nice full-length pontoon for a change.   And, as an aside, none of those horrible pilings either…..

Went ashore for a bite to eat – wow, the difference in price was staggering! So enjoyed a cheap meal and even cheaper beer – £1.50 a bottle here in St Lucia versus £4 in Martinique…. Think we are going to like it here – just as well as we are committed to staying quite a while as Mum is flying out on Thursday to join us here.. Really looking forward to seeing her….

Sunday we explored a little just to get a feel for the place – including having a look at Mum’s hotel and securing permission for us to use their facilities when she’s here – and went supermarket shopping again which had a great range of provisions, including baked beans….  I’m a happy camper now as my supply had been exhausted about a month ago….   Anyway, nice pool and jacuzzi – can see us spending some relaxing time here on our ‘family holiday’!

On the road between the shopping centre (which is near where dink gets tied up) and the hotel on Reduit beach there are loads and loads of different restaurants including Indian, Chinese, Steakhouses and numerous local hostelries…. Don’t think finding somewhere to dine is going to be a problem. Back in the marina we are getting some of the local guys to quote for giving Morphie a bit of a spruce up….  First quotes are hugely inflated and we resign ourselves to doing the work – but the second one is much more realistic (and affordable!) so that all starts on Tuesday.  

Monday we do normal boat stuff including duty free shopping at the chandlery….    We caught up with internet stuff (although the marina signal is really weak and flaky)…. and I spoilt myself by having a massage in the spa.   Really really good…   During the course of the day we ended up being invited to an ‘end of dock’ party so I prepared some appetisers (this time it was breaded prawns and a sweet chilli dip) and we went along.  Met loads of cruisers, had a really chilled evening even in the drizzly rain, and eventually returned to Morphie for a restful night’s sleep.

It’s now Tuesday and Vision has started work on Morphie…  Richard is doing an oil change and I’m still indulging myself with internet catch ups and a much needed haircut.    When I’ve posted this I’m heading back on board to do a spruce up of the internal stainless steel….  

Bye for now

Exploring Martinique (finally!)

Saturday morning – in between rain showers – we went ashore to explore a bit more of Sainte Anne. We trekked up the long winding path to the shrine. At each turn on this steep path there was a small shrine which depicted various stages of the final journey Jesus made bearing his burden of the cross. Clearly this is a place of significant worship for the people of Sainte Anne as each of these little shrines were maxed out with candles… At the top the big shrine was closed up behind padlocked gates so we were didn’t get to see what was in there….but the view from the top of the hill across the anchorage was worth it alone.

Saturday afternoon we headed back to our favourite beach and Richard tried out the rum punch whilst I was far more attracted to the taster deserts served with expresso… Yumm… We also went for a few walks people watching and came across aqua basketball, which looked like a lot of fun. We had a quiet night on board watching the sun go down….

Sunday we were woken by serious downpours of rain which continued for most of the day on and off so we spent a few hours underneath Morphie cleaning her bottom of growth which had accumulated at a frightening rate of knots…something to do with the very eco-friendly US anti-foul paint that doesn’t do its job properly…. If we had left it much longer we could have opened our own dive site!!!!  Definitely something to change when she has been hauled out this season – which we have now finally organised for Grenada. After more boat jobs we went ashore just for sundowners for a couple of hours and then retired back on board just in time to watch another sunset as the rain clouds continue to move around us.

Monday morning we picked up our anchor and moved to Marin – which is one of the Caribbean’s largest yacht centres. The Marin Yacht Harbour is huge with over 600 berths and a range of charter boat companies are also based here. The anchorage around the marina is also huge – but loads of shoals to watch out for – not to mention the sheer volume of boats. We did try to get anchored relatively close to the channel but there really wasn’t room so we opted for a longer dinghy ride in and snuck away to the back of the mooring field behind a shoal where we set happily.

In the afternoon we explored and managed to spend some money in the chandlery buying up some more bits and pieces…. Whilst out and about we came across some old ruins in front of the church and the cemetery where most of the graves have little houses built on top of them with windows, wall tiles, locked doors etc making them look like multi-storey shrines…. Interesting.  Monday evening we were not impressed by the boat who came in late and dropped his anchor a bit too close to us – then he let out just enough chain so that he was level with our cockpit and now we have no privacy. Grrrrr….. We always try to be considerate of other cruisers when we drop our anchor and it annoys us when others don’t return the favour….

Again Tuesday was a bit cloudy and rainy at times. Having breakfast we were entertained by the massive yacht transporter who sits high in the water – then gradually sinks as they pump water into the stern so that the yachts can be motored inside – and then it rises up getting ready to go to sea. Amazing that huge motor superyachts were being loaded as these are clearly ocean going vessels, we were left wondering why they transported them like this rather than just driving them wherever they wanted to go? Apparently it is £10k for a 40 foot monohull to be shipped across the Atlantic so I can’t envisage how much it would cost them for this service!

Time to get on so we went ashore with loads of washing and spent a few hours in the laverie marvelling at the machine on the wall that takes money and starts the machines according to the number you punch in. Was a great system – would have helped if the instructions had been in English as well as French though! But I managed to work it out although it took a little while…… After returning to Morphie with lovely clean and dry stuff we headed back out to visit Leader Price for provisions – a huge supermarket with its own dinghy dock. This had come highly recommended by a few people, but I was disappointed with the selection, although what they had was good value. On the dink trips today we were amazed by how many dead or abandoned boats that were around – some still tied to docks and others to the mangroves. Seemed a bit odd that the harbour / township would just let them rot in the water… Oh well… Back on board for another quiet night…and a lovely homemade Chicken Jalfrezi!

Wednesday we hired a car in the morning for a couple of days – a baby Renault Twingo. We were amazed as we drove away from Marin on the main road. Are you sure we are in the Caribbean? Three lanes of motorway through industrial and shopping centre areas and traffic jams too. Not what we were expecting at all!

We headed north bypassing Fort de France – the capital city – and ended up driving through St Pierre to visit the sciences museum which has been built in a modern style and, apparently, it is hurricane and earthquake proofed. This museum is at the foot of Mount Pelee and pays homage to the devastation caused by the 1902 eruption. At the ticket office we were asked by the guy whether we were over 60 years old because then we could have concession tickets. I said no, we wanted to pay full price… He clearly wasn’t convinced that I understood the question because then he sent out his English-speaking colleague to ask us again. Not impressed – really?!?!?  Anyway she then gave us listening devices that would be our electronic tour guides as all documentation here is in French only. They were useful and we learnt a lot – including the scientists’ views on global warming and the impact across the world….

Leaving this building the heavens have opened up again and we dash for the car and drive up the mountain. As we move away from the main roads we are amazed to find that even the roads into the interior of the island – albeit narrow, windy and almost vertical in places – are still tarmac. We drove as far as you can get by car to the top of the mountain and we were in the clouds which masked any chance of getting a view! But at least we did it…and the mist did clear a bit later on so we did manage to get some mountain shots…. The funniest thing we saw on the way up was a really sweet looking little grey and white cow sleeping in the bus stop – but didn’t get a photo and when we came back down she had moved. Shame!

Heading away from the mountain we crossed the interior and continued to be amazed by this island. It is relatively rich in that houses are all of decent construction and appear to have power and water – not like the corrugated shanty towns that we have seen on other islands. Also the land has been extremely well cultivated with banana plantations everywhere and rolling fields and the photos could easily have been taken in Wales!!  But all around are lush tropical plants, beautiful gardens and the odd glimpse of rainforest here and there. Amazing diversity and really enjoyed the ride. Over on the Atlantic side heading back down the coast it is quite dramatic with indented bays, little islands and huge Atlantic rollers running up the beaches. A really good day and hope you enjoy some of the photos:

We have another day touring the island planned again for tomorrow.   But for now, we are absolutely shattered, so back on board for a quiet night.  Night night…


Still being lazy in Martinique…..

Tuesday we were up pretty early feeling completely shattered as this anchorage is so rolly….   We stayed in the tiny sleepy village of Anse D’Arlet and did a few boat jobs in the morning and went ashore in the afternoon. This town is a strange mix of local lads hanging around looking really bored and loads of French tourists who either turn up for an hour on the bus and run around manically taking photos or are here for the day – presumably staying close by…..

Tried some more local food on the beach – but we found it pretty disappointing. The food here is more Caribbean than French in flavour and is largely chicken and fish. Poor service appears to be the norm here too… Oh yes, and the beers are tiny!!!  Had a short alcohol-free bobbing session and went back on board to watch the sun go down and then had a movie night. Richard isn’t enamoured with this sleepy place so although the forecast is rough again for Wednesday we are going to move down the coast.

Wednesday morning up bright and early and off we go. When we left Anse D’Arlet the wind was only about 10 knots in the bay. We were reefed down in preparation for stronger winds and, of course, the minute we shook the reefs out the wind picked up to 26 knots and stayed pretty much at that level for the rest of the day! As we headed out to sea to get the required distance from the very rocky and shoal-strewn coastline the sea builds and we are regularly hitting 10 foot waves with many of them larger and breaking before they get to us.

So pretty challenging conditions especially as the wind is coming from where we want to go – this was supposed to be a really nice reach instead we are reefed down, close-hauled, and having to tack way out to sea to get to our destination. We spent a couple of hours bashing to windward and then when we thought it was the right time to go about to miss the huge rock and the shoals you can see from our track that the building seas and strong winds swept us back to shore pretty quickly. So off we went out again and then back…. All looks very weird!!!

We were in no hurry…. were not being beaten up even though sailing hard…. and actually we were really enjoying ourselves. We were accompanied again by flying fish and a brown boobie flying alongside us for a while.  Alas still no elusive whales…  We eventually arrived into the anchorage at Sainte Anne having covered almost 30 miles. Our hook set straight away in a lovely shallow and wide bay so we got ourselves cleaned up and went ashore to explore.

Sainte Anne has a large dock which had loads of dinghies on but not sure where all the people go!!! Anyway wandered up into town and straight away came across the beautiful church which had people spilling out all dressed in black and white finery… Stood and watched for a little while and then realised that it was actually a funeral. Oh no… we quickly moved on…

Wandered around the little main street – which is just a sleepy lane really – came across the town hall before sneaking back into the church for a quick look at the amazing chandeliers…. We had another quiet night on board enjoying the sunset

During the night it poured with rain and carried on all morning on Thursday so we stayed put, did a few jobs down below, and Morphie enjoyed getting rid of her salt overcoat…. Thursday afternoon we went out in dink to explore and went along the shoreline. Sainte Anne is blessed with a lovely white sand beach which goes on for a long way right up to a Club Med resort – so we are looking to see where we can land dink and have ourselves a few beach days…

Whilst we were out there pottering around we came across some lads sailing one of the local boats – wow, this takes some skill and strength. Wouldn’t fancy being ballast on one of these!!!

We then went ashore to the local restaurant which has its own dinghy dock and sunbathing platform to catch a few rays.

Ended up trying out the food – and the service was lousy, the food was cold and we didn’t get our bread. And did I tell you Martinique is really expensive????  Anyway, we won’t be eating there again that’s for sure – but we’ll definitely drink there again as they have free wifi… No internet available for us to pick up in this anchorage which is pretty common with most of the French places we’ve been to so far. Back on board for a quiet night and another sunset… The colours are so beautiful here.

Friday we run ashore to do a few internet things in the morning and explore the town a bit more. Nothing much to it really and the tourist office is shut so we can’t even find out whether we can hire a car here. Never mind, we’ll try again another day. But we did go into the church and light some candles for some loved family members who are no longer with us.  Anyway we are heading off to the beach. We have found a place that we can land and chain dink to a tree…. and it is only a few steps away from a beach bar / restaurant with sun loungers. So that’s our destination. It was lovely!!!!   Not quite the Soggy Dollar bar but it will do. Good food, albeit only BBQ offering unless you fancy a fresh lobster out of the tank, combined with great service. And we finally got bread with our meal……

We had a really nice afternoon chilling and plan to return there tomorrow. Back on board for another quiet night….

Bye for now

Lazy days in Martinique

Good Friday we woke up to a sunny day – hurrah – so beach time is on. Did some boat jobs in the morning, primarily making water, and then went ashore at lunchtime. We were joined by Dan and Ruth from Evensong – and we didn’t get much further than the rather nice beach bar hanging over the sea in the hotel resort just across from the anchorage.  Richard and Dan stayed dry but Ruth and I couldn’t resist the temptation to go bobbing in the sea.  Lovely….. We had a really great time catching up…..

Friday night Sundowners were on board the other Island Packet in the Anse Martin anchorage – Windswept Dreams. Ann and Ed were nice hosts and we met some more of their friends who are also out cruising….  Enjoyable evening…but not too late….. we were back on board Morphie by 9.30 pm although we had slightly over-indulged by then!

Saturday morning was the last chance to get groceries as all shops were closing for the long Easter break – so up at a reasonable time and into town. Managed to get some fresh ham and cheese – but forgot the bread and by the time I realised the boulangerie was closed. Damn…… We are stocking up little and often at the minute as we have a refrigeration problem and don’t want to risk losing huge amounts of food….   Chores done so in the afternoon we went on board Evensong and did some “bobbing with style” in our blow up chairs….  Richard and Dan were particularly impressive when it came to starfish shapes whilst Ruth and I played on the trampolines at the front of their catamaran….. What a great way to spend the afternoon. Lazy and fun all at the same time….

Saturday night we went ashore with Dan, Ruth, Ann and Ed for a Chinese… Yes I know we are in Martinique – a French island – but all of us have overdosed on rich French food recently so Chinese was the popular decision!!!!   The meal was fine – although ordering Chinese in French had some challenges – and we have now all had our fix for a while.  And over dinner we found out all about the Easter Bunny in the US…rather like Father Christmas they leave treats and he leaves presents of eggs….   Hmmmm….all a bit much for me!!!    Anyway….back on board completely stuffed….. and off to bed.  

Sunday we had planned a day of rest and although we were awake early we were just lazing in bed reading when we heard a knocking on the hull. Getting up to investigate we found Dan and Ruth in their dinghy who had come to say goodbye…. Ruth’s father is really ill and they need to get home as soon as possible. Oh dear…not the way we wanted this to end as we had plans to explore Martinique together and cruise in company down to St Lucia.  Well they took off to try and find an official who was working to check out of Martinique and we waited to hear the result… they managed to find someone over in Fort de France and headed off into pretty rough weather. Not a great day for a crossing especially in the circumstances.   After this shocking news we just hang around the boat feeling really deflated and I was hit with a huge range of emotions.  Selfish ones like “damn….I was looking forward to….” alongside huge amounts of concern for Ruth trying to get home in a hurry….. Our thoughts and prayers go with them.  

We decided to stay on board all day Sunday – nothing in town is open anyway – and just lazed around. I have been a bit in the wars with a swollen eye and a deep spider bite on my shoulder which has been giving me grief…. but the lazing around and loads of applications of a variety of antibiotic drugs seemed to have worked as I was feeling better by late afternoon.  We ended up having a quiet movie night on board…

Monday morning we woke up bright and early and although the weather forecast is for some tough weather conditions – wind, rain and large seas – we decided to move down the coast by 10 miles….  We had a great downwind sail under reefed genoa alone….with a few gusts of 35 knots of wind, so for once the forecast was right!  Whilst underway we really enjoyed the formations created by the flying fish but still haven’t managed to catch a photo of them.  Sorry….  We also – worryingly – saw a very large Portuguese Man of War jelly fish.  But this was more than offset by some small turtles popping up their heads to say “hi” when we arrived at Anse D’Arlet and picked up a brand new – and free of charge – mooring ball. Nice……

Got dink down from the davits and went ashore to this picturesque little town and had a local lunch and wandered the beach…. pretty busy with everyone enjoying the holiday…. Now on board listening to some tunes having a sundowner while we watch the rain squalls move around us….

The forecast is rough tomorrow too…so will probably stay here for a couple of days before we move on again.  

Bye for now…..