Amazing, beautiful St Lucia….

Saturday we were up early again and hit the shops…. We managed to get pretty much everything apart from the beer!  And we also managed to get some drinks vouchers from the ATM in preparation too…. Oh dear…. The local beer here is Piton and comes in tiny cans with the other readily-available brew being tiny Heinekens!  Really wanted full-sized cans of Carib but to no avail – nobody has them available. Really don’t want to carry too many bottles either. So we compromise and buy just a smallish supply of bottled beer until we run south where we know we can get beer in a reasonable sized can. At noon we said a fond farewell to our little hire car.

Little run around

Back on board with our huge haul and we struggle to get everything put away – the freezer is now rammed and the fridge is getting there….. Do some sorting out of clothes and moving things around to free up the aft cabin for Richard and Fiona and then head in to the boardwalk for sundowners with Glen and Pam from Blue Pearl. We both have the night free so the first chance we’ve had to properly catch up this season. We had a really nice happy hour followed by a good Thai dinner at Bosuns. Lovely evening and really enjoyed finally catching up.

Glen and Pam

Sunday morning and we are up early, have some proper coffee in Cafe Ole and then head out with Tracker, our taxi driver, at 9 am towards Castries to meet Carolyn and Ron – who are coming in to St Lucia on P&O Azura today. Really looking forward to seeing them again….   As we neared Castries we realised that we were wise to get a taxi organised – in a hire car we would never have been able to get through the checkpoints and get anywhere near the ship. We wander through the cruiseship terminal – admiring the huge duty-free shops that we didn’t have a clue existed here! – quickly spotting Carolyn and Ron walking around. We sneak up behind them and they are being pestered by taxi drivers wanting to take them on tours. They say they are looking for some people – and we tapped them on the shoulder at that point. The look on their faces was an absolute picture…. we couldn’t have planned that better if we had tried!!!    Huge hugs all round and we head back to the taxi rank to find Tracker. On the way I got them to pose on a nice bench…. Settled into the large 10-seater minibus taxi we head off towards Soufriere…. and get to see how huge their ship is!   Wow…. Carolyn and Ron

P&O Azura

Carolyn and Ron are stunned by the beauty of St Lucia and we cannot believe we are all together again, albeit only for a single day. Shortly after leaving Castries we stopped to meet one of the local inhabitants – a boa constrictor called Patrick. Richard took control and Ron visited…. but Carolyn wasn’t up for touching him for sure!!!

Island tour 1Meeting the wildlife

Driving towards Soufriere and we get our first glimpse of the pitons. Amazing sight, and although we have seen them before, you cannot really describe just how special they are….

Soufriere nestling in the valley

Admiring the Pitons

First view of the Pitons

Happy at being reunited

Having purchased some local tanzanite jewellery – one piece each – we moved on and arrived at the Botanical Gardens. We wandered along the meandering paths admiring the flora and fauna and eventually ended up at the little waterfall at the end of the path…. which delivers hot spring water. We chose not to indulge in the bathing pools and while wandering back we were absolutely amazed to spot a hummingbird just sitting there on a twig. Really unusual to see them static and wow – we got a photo!   We were very very happy. Almost at the exit we spot all the crowds coming in – Tracker had timed this perfectly as we had had the place to ourselves. Carolyn and Ron were completely blown away by this place and we were very happy to have shared it with them.

Botanical gardens 13 Botanical gardens 14 Botanical gardens 1 Botanical gardens 2 Botanical gardens 3 Botanical gardens 4 Botanical gardens 5 Botanical gardens 6 Botanical gardens 7 Botanical gardens 8 Botanical gardens 9 Botanical gardens 10 Botanical gardens 11 Botanical gardens 12

Moving on and we arrived at the drive-in volcano…. Was pretty smelly – think rotten eggs – and pretty busy too….. We didn’t do the tour bit as you have to wait around for 20+ people to get up and down the stairs – so we amused ourselves wandering around and were surprised by how active it was. The mud was bubbling up and the pools were clearly boiling….with lots of steam rising. This is a pretty amazing place.

Volcano 1 Volcano 2 Volcano 3 Volcano 4 Volcano 5 Volcano 6

Back in the taxi and we drive towards the pitons…. going past the Hotel Chocolat plantation…. and ended up, as planned, at Ladera.  Ladera is a very up-market resort that has a spectacular restaurant Dasheene and lounge right in between the pitons with views down to the anchorage and fancy plantation resort below. They have a buffet on a Sunday and we indulged in our first Piton of the day followed by some pretty good wine and lots to eat. This is an all-you-can eat buffet and you can make as many returns as you like. Needless to say my favourite was the dessert table….. the passion fruit mousse was amazing!

Carolyn and Ron are overwhelmed by the views and this place – and we had a very leisurely lunch catching up, posing for photographs, and listening to a little bit of ‘Plantation music’ being played in the bar. We all decided we’d like to stay here in one of the individual rooms overlooking the pitons which come with their own infinity pool. But I’m afraid that a lottery win is the only way that would be possible for us! Absolutely stunning time…. Words really cannot describe it and photos certainly do not do it justice.

Ladera 6 Ladera 7 Ladera 8 Ladera 9 Ladera 10 Ladera 1 Ladera 2 Ladera 3 Ladera 4 Ladera 5

Back in the taxi and we head back towards Castries and the ship. But we have time so decide to stop at a local rum shop and enjoy a couple of cold Pitons admiring the fantastic view of this lush and green island.

Panoramic view on the way back to Castries Rum shop stop 2 Rum shop stop

Sadly we have to return to the cruise ship terminal and we have about 30 minutes to spare, so we sit down near the security gate and have our last drink of the day, before finally bidding Carolyn and Ron farewell through to the ship. We were pretty emotional and choked to say goodbye. We had had the most wonderful day together. Back to the marina and we say goodbye to Tracker and head back to Morphie for a quiet night on board.

Time to say goodbye

Monday morning and up with the lark – time to clean the boat thoroughly inside and out for Richard and Fiona who arrive Tuesday night. Late Monday night, having worked our fingers to the bone, we went into the marina for a cold beer and a calzone each. Yum…. We were tucked up in bed, exhausted, before 9 pm.

Tuesday and we are up early again…. and into the shops for our fresh produce. Back on board and we have just taken the engine off of dink, dink has been lifted onto the davits, and beds are made, laundry is done, and we are finally ready. Morphie is sparkling!

Morphie all sparkling clean

We have more or less decided upon our routing with Richard and Fiona on board to various islands in St Vincent and the Grenadines – with much of it being an internet-free zone. So I thought I’d better warn you now that I’ll not be updating the blog during their visit and will cover it all at the end.

So bye for now for a couple of weeks!



Fun in the sun with Mum in St Lucia

Friday afternoon the rain cleared – thankfully as Mum’s bottom lip was definitely quivering there for a while!   So we headed out to the pool and enjoyed a few rays… Richard came along later and regaled us with stories of his dive with Dan at the Pitons. I’m really glad that they had a nice time and it looks like I missed a really good trip judging from the photos they took.

Dive 1 Dive 2 Dive 3 Dive 4 Dive 5 Dive 6 Dive 7 Dive 8

In the evening we headed out to find the Starfish restaurant. This used to be in the marina and relocated last year.   We had previously really enjoyed our meals there so was hoping it hadn’t changed much.  Well, it was a much smaller place with very few covers… But the food was beautifully presented and it tasted real good too…. For a small place the service was excellent and we felt very pampered. Richard is not really a dessert person but even he was tempted by the banana tart. We had a really nice chilled evening.

Banana tatin Starfish dinner Wine waiter at Starfish

beautiful local flowers

Saturday and Richard is waiting on someone so he takes me across quickly to the other side of the channel behind Morphie and I walk to Mum’s hotel. Only a ten minute wander and I really enjoyed it having a look at some of the large waterside properties and the abundance of flowers everywhere…. My walk to the hotel each dayFlowers abound

Today we are camped on the beach and it is another cruise ship day!    Rammed…. and some pretty good people watching activity – especially the Segway man that goes up and down trying to drum up business.  Richard gets more boat jobs completed and joins us for lunch at the local concession set up…  Great chicken as ever and we enjoy a cheap bucket of beers to boot. We noticed that there were a lot of local children around today and a couple of them were playing hide and seek behind my chair. They seemed to be fascinated by me so Richard told me to teach them ‘round and round the garden…’ Well – they loved it!   Before long I had a queue of them waiting for their turn. The bigger ones then learnt the rhyme and the actions and started to do it to the babies. One very little one… maybe a year old… was too scared so just watched and laughed. I was really surprised when her Rasta dad picked her up and started to do it to her too. A really nice time….

Segway man on the beach

Is it my turn Jan with the little ones Bucket of beer on the beach Cruise ship day

In the evening we headed along the strip to the Spice of India. Mum is choosing where we eat by the way…. This restaurant gets very good write-ups so we were looking forward to it.  Very up-market Indian with great decor but we thought the menu was a little limited.  But we all found something we liked so ordered away and sat back and watched the people around us. Great food – although my Madras curry could have had a bit more sauce for my taste – and pretty good service. Enjoyed ourselves and started the relatively long walk back to mum’s hotel…. stopping at Rehab (the bar) on the way back for a quick one. Richard had a Bob Marley cocktail and it turned up green – yuck!!! I stuck to the wine…

At the IndianSpectacular lights in the IndianDrink at Rehab

We escorted mum back safely to her room and headed back towards the marina. Walking along F dock towards Morphie we saw that Ruth and Dan were still up and about…. This is very unusual behaviour for Dan – he is usually asleep by 9.16 pm prompt!!!! Turns out they had stayed up specially to see us as on Sunday they have guests arriving and will be heading back out with them…. What a lovely surprise. So we went onboard and had a few nightcaps… Dan made it past midnight! Good job….

Sunday and I went round to see mum as usual while Richard tackled cleaning the hull….. He has been doing a great job while I’ve been having girlie time with mum – thanks!  Mum and I had another pool day and this time we tried out the hot tub – was so hot it was hotter than a bath!!  We didn’t manage to stay in for very long that was for sure. When Richard joined us we went off to the beach to buy some rotis for lunch… Unfortunately they were not very nice. Oh well, you can’t win them all. Early afternoon we loaded mum into the dinghy and took her to visit Morphie for a little while. Then we wandered to the boardwalk for happy hour. We had our bucket of beers and Ruth joined us, while we enjoyed the sunset and the little lizards that run up and down the rail.

Day at the poolHot tubSun going down in the marinaLittle friend

Ruth had been in Bogus World – home alone on Evensong – while Dan was waiting at the airport for their guests. Unfortunately the plane was delayed. Dan eventually turned up with Kent and Denny – and we all enjoyed some time chatting before they headed off to Evensong.  We then went to the Bosun restaurant and had a leisurely meal. Lovely….  Later on we put mum in a taxi back to her hotel and went back to Morphie. Walking along the dock and we were hailed by Evensong to join them for a drink.  What, another late night for Dan?  Yep… He managed to stay up past 10 pm again.  Had a good time together as always and we headed off to bed pretty tired.

Monday morning I was up early and over to the hotel again…. another pool day beckoned. Richard stayed busy and managed to get some electronic issues resolved. Great job!  Had a nice lazy morning and then Richard joined us – so we had some pool bobbing time.

Day at the pool 2Pool bar serviceDay at the pool 3

In the evening we headed out early for dinner, back to Starfish, and then walked along to Delirus for the St Patrick’s Day party that had been announced on banners along the strip. We were really looking forward to the Irish band and maybe some dancing. We got there and it was as quiet as a grave. Errr, excuse me, but what time does the band start?  The answer was unexpected “oh the St Patrick’s Day party was on Saturday”. What???   But it is today!!!!   Oh no they say, we don’t have parties on a Monday. But they did have an offer on the Guinness. Really really disappointed – so we just had a quick drink, wandered back via Rehab, and we all had an early night.

St Patricks Day

Tuesday we said our goodbyes to Patrick and Lucie on the radio as they are heading north to Martinique.   We also went to say farewell to Dan and Ruth on Evensong before I went off to see mum. We are back on the beach – soooo hot!   So we spent most of our time hiding in the shade reading or in the sea bobbing.  Richard joined us later and we did more of the same. It really feels like we are on holiday!  While we were on the beach we watched Evensong head off to the Pitons… Bye!   Waved like crazy but I don’t think they saw us…

Us on Evensong

Day on the beachEvensong heading outGetting some shade - and drinking water!

Later on we went to the St Lucia yacht club – enjoyed another spectacular sunset and then into Spinnakers for dinner.

Sunset from the yacht club

Spinnakers is really pretty at night with all its fairy lights lit up. I ordered a lamb shank – lamb is pretty rare down in the islands, so was pretty excited to see it on the menu. Well… it turned up…. and it was horrible. So bad that I thought I was actually going to throw up after a few mouthfuls – the sauce was gloopy and way too rich, a bit like something out of a Ragu jar – and I couldn’t eat it. Mum and Richard enjoyed their meal and I just drank water until I felt a bit better. Could have been too much sun as well I suppose but never mind….. These things happen.

Spinnakers at nightDinner at Spinnakers

Wednesday and I’m up and about early…. and bump into Glen and Pam from Blue Pearl and their guests.   Nice to (briefly) catch up.   When I go over to the hotel mum and I decide to have another blistering hot, blue sky, beach day. Mum and I are really enjoying people watching and all the comings and goings of boats.  Mum is tickled pink by the local fruit and veg man in his boat as he goes around selling coconut water.   We also spotted Cutter Loose leaving too – we had bumped into Eric in the marina a couple of times, but haven’t had a chance to catch up with him or Pat properly… Hopefully we’ll see them again before they haul for the season.

Local fruit and veg manCutter Loose leaving

We had another leisurely afternoon and made arrangements to meet mum at 7pm. Tonight was the manager’s weekly cocktail party but she didn’t fancy going this week – but by the time we met her she had actually popped in and had drunk a very strong rum punch!    We went out for our last meal of her trip – and back to the Chinese which is a favourite of all of us. We had a lovely meal and headed back to the hotel. The band was still playing so we settled in for a drink. Some people were dancing and mum had ants in her pants!   Pretty soon she is off dancing and is joined by a mega skinny Aunt Sally look alike who managed to dance just like a zombie extra from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.  Absolutely hysterical to watch. Then mum dragged me up and I did a quick boogie before sitting down again…  Then we were joined by this slightly inebriated woman and her husband who said that mum had done the best ‘Elvis tribute’ dance she had ever ever seen. LOL… And she was serious!!!  Of course mum was pretty smug at being told she was a great dancer… It was a fun end to a great day.

Mum strutting her stuff

Thursday and it is mum’s last day.  She is leaving at 4.30 pm and we have been trying to get her a late check out – but, unfortunately, her room is already booked for someone coming in on the early afternoon flight. But the lovely head receptionist said to pop back at 11 am to see what she can do. Great…. so Mum and I get her all packed up and ready to go and head off to reception. We are handed a key to a ground floor room with pool access – and so we move her out. What we didn’t realise is that this is a suite – and wow, it’s huge! And complimentary! And it has a bath tub….. Anyway – by now it is getting on for lunchtime and Richard has joined us – so we have a good lunch in her hotel beach-side restaurant. Was really nice… and so was the wine!

Lunch on Mum's last day

After a final bob in the pool together we head off to her room – mum gets cleaned up and dressed for London, while we just make the most of the fantastic shower and unlimited hot water! Time to go… bags to reception… hugs and goodbyes all round to the staff who have made mum’s trip pretty special… and we wait for the minibus. It arrives only 10 minutes late – which is amazing for island time! – and sadly it is time for mum to leave. Oh no…. getting emotional…. was determined not to cry! Well… I failed…. miserably…. So we head back to the marina and I’m feeling a bit washed out. But I was perked up by good conversation with some volunteer youth workers and a bucket of beers. And then we had an early night on board.

Last day in the pool

This morning we had a lie in… and then hired a car for one day – noon to noon. Tiny little Chevrolet but enough for us… We have Richard and Fiona coming in on Tuesday for two weeks holiday onboard so we have a huge provisioning run to do as we are hoping to head south to the Grenadines so many meals will be on board rather than ashore. Getting shopping is always so much easier with a car in the islands, where you have to visit numerous shops to get what you want. Got about 75% of the list – in two shops – and back on board, found storage places for everything, and have had a lazy afternoon. Richard has just cooked me dinner while I’m typing this and we’re planning another early night as we want to hit the shops again early tomorrow. The other important job for tomorrow is to finalise timings with a taxi driver we have hired for Sunday – Carolyn and Ron are coming to St Lucia on a cruise ship, so we are organising a day out together. Very excited about seeing them!

Bye for now



Fun in the sun in St Lucia

Saturday Richard continued doing boat chores while I had a massage in the spa – then worked with him until 3ish as we had arranged to meet Dan, Ruth, Lucie and Patrick for a bobbing session in the marina pool. The pool bar is closed – some of it being renovated for a new Moorings/Sunsail office – so we all bought our own coolers and supplies with us. Had a nice couple of hours and then headed back to Morphie for a quick wash and brush up before going over to Evensong for sundowners, dinner and a round of Mexican Train Dominoes. Had a great evening – with fantastic food – and fun company. Oh yes, and I won the dominoes! Yay… Richard was in a particularly silly mood and looked great in Lucie’s hat LOL….

Lucie and Ruth pool bobbingRichard modelling Lucie's hat!

Sunday we were up and about early having decided to take the day off. So around 11 we headed into the marina’s local bar to watch the rugby – England versus Wales. Quite a few ex-pats around and a diverse group so lots of cheering and banter from both countries. Great match and even better result!   Well done England…..

Back on board Morphie we gave her a quick spruce up as we were hosting the gang for tonight’s dinner. I prepared them a spicy treat with popadom starter – including home-made mint yoghurt and other dips – followed by a chicken curry with sticky rice. After dinner we stayed down below and had a ‘night at the races’ using our greyhound racing DVD – really funny with everyone cheering and shouting for their dogs…. Fake betting only – no real money exchanging hands – and Patrick won by being the boldest of us all! Not sure what the Moorings catamaran next to us would have made of all the noise coming from Morphie. Had a great evening and the food went down well…. so went to bed pretty happy.

Monday and Richard attacked boat jobs with gusto in the morning…… then headed into town to go to mum’s hotel, prior to her arrival on Tuesday, to get permission to use the pool etc while she is a guest. They welcomed us back with open arms and immediately said ‘yes’. Great news…. Went off to the hotel beach bar and enjoyed the peace and quiet before heading back to the marina pool for another bobbing session.

Mum's hotel beachChilling at the beach bar

This time we were joined by Lorna and Brian as well as they are in the marina now…. Good time was had by all. Later on we cleaned up and headed into town for a Chinese. Had a great meal – loads of food – and enjoyed a few cocktails…. or at least Dan and Richard did. I think they were a bit shocked by the ‘girlie’ drinks when they arrived…. and were pleading with me not to put the picture in the blog….. But hey, they look so good in their loud Caribbean shirts and pink drinks – can’t let the blog readers down! Sorry guys…. LOL.

Girlie drinks!Gang out for a Chinese

Tuesday we are up early and work hard all day on Morphie as mum flies into St Lucia from London this evening. Time is ticking so we get cleaned up and head to her hotel to be there on her arrival from the airport. Plane was slightly delayed and she finally turned up around 6.30 pm. Hugs all round, she’s checked in, admiring the reception flowers along the way, and I help her unpack in her room.

Hotel reception flowers

Very impressed by her shower which has jets everywhere – definitely plan to use that later in the week! We headed back down to the bar to reunite with Richard and had a really nice time over a few drinks. Mum was pretty tired and not hungry so we called it a day and headed back to the marina, once we’d checked she was settled in and safe in her room.

Mum's first sunset

Wednesday morning and Richard drops me off by dinghy at the hotel – so mum and I have a nice girly catch up by the pool. Then we headed to the beach for BBQ chicken and a local beer for lunch from one of the local vendors and enjoyed about half an hour chatting to some Rastas who treated mum like royalty! Back in the pool and Richard joined us about 2pm. We did some pool bobbing and mum enjoyed the local brandy…

Nice pool areaFlowers everywhere

Mum enjoying the brandy

Pool area 2

We then went to her room to clean up – yes the shower was great and met expectations! – heading back to the pool for the manager’s drinks reception which we had blagged an invite to… Had a nice evening fuelled by local rum punch with great food bites… loved the fish fingers! We did think we would stay in the hotel restaurant for dinner but didn’t fancy their buffet offering so walked down the beach to Spinnakers where we had a light supper before we said our farewells and headed back to the marina and so to bed.

Manager's cocktail party

Thursday morning and again mum and I are having girlie time – but this time on the beach. Bit busy on the beach because a cruise ship was in – and interesting to watch the locals working the crowd. None of them offered us anything to buy just saying ‘Hi’ to me and mum as we had had lunch with them the day before! Was very grateful as some of them were pretty full on – one particular individual was so bad I’m surprised he didn’t get punched! He suggested – to this 20 something female – that she should go with him to the bathroom for a good time!!!! Unbelievable… Richard came round at lunchtime – having achieved quite a lot on Morphie with reinforced davits for dink; new speakers for the saloon; and proper lifelines in the cockpit etc etc etc… After a baguette lunch we went bobbing with beer – very very hot and sunny today. Richard was horrified by the very very fat lady wearing a bikini…. check out the photo he took!

Beach panorama

Does my bum look big in this

All of the gang turned up – so dinks were pulled up the beach – and we had a great afternoon. Back to Morphie for a quick wash and brush up and we went back to collect mum for dinner. None of us were really hungry so decided to go to the Chinese – yes, I know, another one! – but great for sharing bits rather than having to have a full-sized meal. Lovely as usual….. so back to the marina suitably full.

Beach bobbingGetting refillsMum and the gang

Friday and it’s raining – hard – oh dear… This happened last year when mum was with us, so hopefully this is short lived! Richard is off with Dan to dive at the Pitons and I’m sitting in mum’s hotel room watching CNN and playing on the computer, while she makes me cups of tea and reads her book…..

Bye for now



Martinique to St Lucia

Sunday afternoon having eaten our bodyweight in Bockits – which is a local bread speciality – and exhausted our internet fix, it was quite late so we abandoned the beach idea and ended up onboard for a couple of hours before going back into town to watch the carnival procession. There were very few people about and it was pretty deserted. We found a good spot up at the end of the town near a local bar and took up our position. Martinique carnival 1

Martinique carnival 2

Lots of kids dressed up as well as loads of men wearing women’s clothes! Not sure what all that was about??? Couldn’t really catch pictures of them unawares due to the lack of crowds… unfortunately!  Same as the young guys wearing what appeared to be gang colours and had also covered their faces with scarves…. Later on the sound system came through…. and the procession started. It was pretty small, very carefully controlled by security people as well as armed police – and it was pretty uninspiring really. Interesting the difference between Dominica where people wander selling baskets of sweets – here in Martinique young women walk around with baskets of free condoms which are given out to other young women…. Overall we had a good time and left to go back to Morphie at around 7.

Martinique carnival 3Martinique carnival 4Martinique carnival 5Martinique carnival 6Martinique carnival 7Martinique carnival 8Martinique carnival 9Martinique carnival 10

We were up early Monday morning and headed out of Sainte Anne bound for St Lucia. Initially we went with reefed sails to test the conditions in the channel…. which can be tricky.   But we very quickly dropped them out and ended up with all three full sails up in the most perfect conditions. Relatively flat seas and 15 to 18 knots of breeze on a broad reach. It was fantastic to say the least. And the whole twenty three miles was done on a single tack….  Best sailing of the trip by far!   Whilst underway we had a little race going on with a 42 foot French Amel who had set off ahead of us and was flying four sails. About half way across the channel we started to overtake him – he clearly wasn’t happy so he tried to head us up into the wind…. Hee hee – we blew him out of the water. Yay!

Arriving in Rodney Bay we anchored off the beach and took dink into the marina to clear into customs, immigration and the port authority. All done quite quickly and friendly…. and we then went into Island Water World to see whether they had stuff that we needed. Bumped into Dan – from Evensong – and ended up going back to their boat to collect Ruth and we were reunited over quick sundowners at the Boardwalk Bar in the marina. We headed back out to the anchorage before dark as we had no lights with us or on Morphie. Had a quiet night in after enjoying our first spectacular St Lucia sunset.

Reunited with Dan and Ruth for sundownersSt Lucia sunset 1

Tuesday morning we radioed the marina and got told which spot had been reserved for us. Great – we came in straight away – and were tied up securely in our slip by around noon. We got ourselves and Morphie cleaned up and then went with Dan and Ruth to the marina pool for a bobbing session. We have all decided that mornings are for boat jobs and afternoons are for having fun whilst we both get ready to greet friends and family in the next week or so. After bobbing we headed back to clean up and went back out for sundowners. We really enjoyed the sights and sounds of being back in the marina and were entertained by a kitten playing up a palm tree – we think he was trying to catch lizards, a little concerned he might be stuck, but he got down as easily as he had climbed up! Realising that we were pretty hungry we headed into the marina’s Thai restaurant for dinner and enjoyed a very hot green curry….. Lovely day.

Rodney Bay Marina 1Rodney Bay Marina 2Rodney Bay Marina 3Chasing lizards

Wednesday and we are cracking on with the boat jobs….. Dan is fixing their generator, Ruth is cleaning and cooking, while I’m starting on the endless round of stainless steel polishing while Richard is off out trying to get new ropes. Both our headsail and staysail furling lines are showing signs of wear – they are more than five years old now. Richard came back quite a bit poorer but laden with new lines…. and promptly installed them… while I carried on with the polishing. We had planned a beach afternoon but we didn’t make it as we all got engrossed in our boat jobs…. so eventually met up for sundowners, enjoyed another sunset, and went back to our respective boats clutching take-out pizzas.  Yes – I know it’s not local food – but having had the choice of chicken or fish with “provisions” for months, we are ready for international stuff!    Tired out we had another early night.

St Lucia sunset 2

Thursday and we are determined to have a beach afternoon….. so the work cut-off time has been set for 1pm!  We were up early, got dink down off his davits, and dinghied into the lagoon to take the short walk through to the mall and the supermarket. It feels really weird to be back in malls and large supermarkets again, but I’m definitely not complaining!!!   We managed to get most things that I wanted to tide us over for now and headed to the bank for some drinking vouchers.

Shopping mall!

Back to the marina and we headed to the beach for a bobbing afternoon.   Richard dropped us all on the beach, went back out, anchored dink, and then swam ashore.  We wandered up to the first local concession on the beach and got a price for their buckets of beer – then tried the second one – and then went back to the first. Everything was being priced in US dollars…. when we said that we wanted to use Eastern Caribbean dollars the prices were significantly reduced as they realised we were cruisers and not cruise ship passengers. Yay….cheap beer!!!  We then cooled off in the water – playing with our new Waboba ball – and had a great bobbing time. Later on we walked up the beach back to our local ladies and tried out their freshly cooked Jerk chicken. Fantastic!

Day at the beach 3

Day at the beachDay at the beach 2

After a chilled afternoon it was time to go – so Dan went to return the bucket / bottles and Richard swam out for dink. He brought it back and we hang onto it…. in the surf / swells…. and we waited, and waited, and waited. So we sent Richard to get Dan back and he started chatting too…. Ruth and I are getting soaked through and our arms are weakening….. We were just debating about driving the dinghy back without them when they showed up. Nearly got left behind guys LOL!!    On the way back to the marina through the inlet we came across a local Rasta man who sells hats / bowls made out of palm leaves, which he does from his little very leaky boat. So we towed him back in much to his amazement.  He seemed pretty happy as he was making thumbs up signs at everybody he knew as we went through the cut alongside Gros Islet. Lovely day had by all. Back on board Morphie and we were in bed pretty early again….

Gros Ilet side of the channelGetting a lift back

Friday was fishing day!   Dan and Ruth had chartered a deep sea fishing boat with Captain Tom before and asked us whether we wanted to join them. We have never done this before so were up for it. Up very early to make a picnic lunch, 7.30 meet at the coffee shop and 8.00 we were heading out. It was pretty calm and we were going fast…. while Captain Tom got the rods / lures / bait ready. Into the channel between St Lucia and Martinique and it was really lumpy…. We were surprised that the local fishermen were out in their little motor boats – looked way too dangerous today.

Fishing trip 1Fishing trip 13

Fishing trip 2Fishing trip 4Fishing trip 6Fishing trip 3

Anyway, we were hopeful and we sorted out the order we would take the bites – Dan, Richard, Ruth then me. We had our instructions in using these reels, very different from any that we had used before, and settled down to wait. And we waited…. and waited….. and waited…. We moved position…. we rebaited the lures….. we changed the lures….. we changed the depths of the lures….. we dragged attractive things in the water behind us. We ate sandwiches and then drank beer. Nothing going on…. Oh hang on… Yay!!! Line streaming out… Dan is in the chair and, to his disappointment, brings in a barracuda. Back to the waiting…… Yes….goes again…. Richard is in the chair and, again, disappointment with another barracuda. Nothing else happened so Ruth and I didn’t get to have a go before we headed back into the marina….. Oh well, never mind, we had a great time.

Fishing trip 5Fishing trip 7Fishing trip 8Fishing trip 9Fishing trip 10Fishing trip 11Fishing trip 12

As we drove through the channel we saw Patrick and Lucie (Illusions) in their dinghy and shouted to them. They turned and we were all reunited in the Boardwalk where we had quite a few sundowners, a lot of laughs and I really am not sure what they were doing when I took this silly photo!

The gang being silly!

This morning, Saturday, Richard is busy getting on with boat jobs while I’ve been for a long overdue haircut….

Bye for now



Dominica to Martinique

Monday night we enjoyed our final Roseau sunset before having an early night. Oh yes, it was also our friend Jack’s birthday…. You may recall that Jack donated our new crew member, Gervaise. So as a surprise, we sent him a birthday card featuring Gervaise enjoying life and rum in the Caribbean. He much prefers sailing here than on the River Crouch!Last Dominican sunsetGervaise

Tuesday morning we were up pretty early and set off on our passage to Martinique. We really enjoyed our final views of Dominica as we sailed towards the end of the island and into the passage.

Goodbye to the natural beauty of DominicaLeaving Dominica behind

This passage is known for big seas so we were cautious in our sail plan with reefs in both the main and the genoa. The seas weren’t too bad, the wind was 18-20 knots, and we were flying along about seven knots really enjoying ourselves. On Channel 16 we heard this very English voice announcing that his vessel was about to start helicopter operations and would, therefore, be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre. He was north of us up the coast of Dominica so shouldn’t cause us any trouble….. we just carried on, speculating on what this was all about. Hoping that it wasn’t a medical emergency…. Well – Budgie the private little helicopter flew past us going north. So we figured this maybe belonged to the yacht – some of these massive vessels do actually have helicopter pads on them. Oh well… excitement over… still looking out for dolphins. Then we heard the rotors again and realised that Budgie was heading back towards Martinique…. And, guess what, yep – we got buzzed again!!! He came pretty low and close to get a look at us…. Not sure what the fascination is…. surely they have seen a yacht before?

Being buzzed by the helicopter

After a really good sail we reached Martinique and the wind died…. Oh well, we are only four miles from our destination of St Pierre so we put the engine on, dropped the sails, and realised that this meant hot water showers later!   Hurrah…  Arriving in St Pierre we noticed that since our visit last year, the French authorities have put in a yellow-buoyed no-anchorage zone and the shelf here is deep and very narrow…. so it is now even more restricted than before. We looked around and really could not find a spot that we would be comfortable in – especially if we wanted to sleep at night.

Sailing nicely

St PierreSt Pierre 2St Pierre 3

It was 3.30pm in the afternoon by now so we decided to carry on motoring down the coast to anchor in Anse Mitan which is opposite the capital of Fort de France. This area is huge and reminds us of the Solent in the UK – even to the extent that there was dinghy racing going on and these guys were out in their lasers in 23 knots and big seas! Some future French Olympiads???

Rough conditions!

We got a good set of our anchor and raised our yellow quarantine flag as we would not be going to clear customs / immigration tonight. It was almost 6pm by the time we were set – having travelled 52 miles – so we had a quiet night on board and enjoyed our first Martinique sunset.

First Martinique sunset

Wednesday and we were up early to get the outboard of the rail and reinstalled back on dink. Oh dear…. the key won’t go in the padlock. Completely seized…  After about 30 minutes of WD40, Salt Away and various other products, not to mention a little brute strength and bad language, Richard finally managed to get it open. Another dead padlock then????!!!   Going ashore into Trois Ilets we cleared customs / immigration: here you just fill in a form on a computer, you sign, they sign, and good to go. Love the French system… We then headed into the local patisserie for our breakfast of great coffee and pastries. Yum….. and then wandered around town. This is a pretty sleepy little place with loads of French tourists spilling over onto the narrow beaches that surround the peninsula – against the backdrop of the large apartment blocks and office buildings across the way in the city. Feels very European and not Caribbean at all……

Fort de FranceTrois Ilets 1Trois Ilets 2Trois Ilets 3Trois Ilets 4

We then settled into a bistro to get access to the internet and enjoyed a really good bottle of French wine, raising a glass to our friend Bob who was celebrating his birthday in Brighton at the same time…. We also decided that we would move on in the morning. So back on board in the middle of the afternoon with some real necessities like baguettes, cheese and pate purchased and had a quiet afternoon / early evening sitting on the back of Morphie with our feet dangling into the blue water. Then we spotted this big fish hanging around our swim ladder. Not sure what he was…. but we put the camera into the water to get a picture of him. I got a bit hot so decided to go in for a swim – thinking he would move away when I entered the water – but, oh no, he came right up to me and touched me. Not sure if he was trying to kiss me or bite me LOL so left him to it!

Enjoying French wineOur fish friend

Thursday and we were up early again and back out to sea…. This was a downwind sail to start with and was lovely. As we neared the bottom of the island, however, we had to turn into the east to run along the south coast. We had to decide to either stay offshore so that we could get an OKish sailing angle, or whether to douse the sails and run against wind and tide under motor. The seas had been building and the conditions were deteriorating… so we decided upon the latter option. Passing between the bottom of Martinique and Diamond Rock it was like being in a washing machine…. spray everywhere and we had a very wet and salty ride into Saint Anne. Diamond Rock continues to look majestic and I still can’t believe that the British climbed this steep, barren, snake-infested pinnacle and equipped it with cannons and enough supplies and water for a full crew of men. HMS Diamond Rock was an unpleasant surprise for unsuspecting ships sailing into Martinique which incensed Napolean, of course!Bit rough!

Diamond Rock

After anchoring and washing off the salt that Morphie had accumulated we went ashore to get some Euros and wandered around the sleepy little town. Back on board we sat on the stern platform again with feet in the beautiful blue sea and enjoyed a couple of cold ones. We had a chilled evening watching boats. This including saying “cheers” to the Customs guys every time they passed in their rib.

St Anne anchorage

St Anne 1

St Anne 2St Anne 3

St Anne sunset

Friday we went into Marin via dink. This is a huge marina complex and loads of anchored boats everywhere…. but not nice water. It was a bit of a wet run as the sea is still quiet lumpy and I don’t care about wet shorts until I bump into those elegantly dressed French tourists!!!


We managed to buy some new stainless steel padlocks, had a look around some tacky tourist shops, and then headed into Leader Price which is a large supermarket that has its own dinghy dock. Got some great stuff and headed back to Morphie. Put everything away and then went ashore for happy hour at a very French bar….  Been a bit stormy and rainy today and the sunset showed it. Back on board and we really enjoyed the steak that we had purchased earlier…. been a while since we have had decent steak!

Very French!Stormy nightSaturday we sat out the rain and then headed to the beach for the afternoon. Had a lovely langoustine lunch and just generally chilled in the water. Whilst we were there another helicopter came over and landed in the sports field behind the beach…. not sure what that was about, but looked like an emergency situation this time.

Day at the beachDay at the beach2Day at the beach 3Medical emergency

Our friends Lorna and Brian – from Peace and Plenty – came and joined us and we introduced them to the world of bobbing. After a nice afternoon we strolled back across the hill to the town and thought that the cemetery had the best outlook of any we had seen. Wasn’t sure about the purple Jesus though?!?   Nice view of the anchorage too….

Room with a view and a purple JesusMorphie is out there somewhere

Back into town and there was a wedding…. with everyone in their finery. We weren’t sure that the tourists in the photo were invited guests or were welcome. People really should be more respectful and keep their distance….. in my humble opinion!

Wedding finerySaturday night Lorna invited us for dinner so we went over to their boat and enjoyed a chicken stew-type dish…. as well as a really good evening we were also treated to some spectacular sky scenes.

Beautiful skyToday – Sunday – we have been into Marin to check out of Martinique at the Capitanarie for our trip south to St Lucia tomorrow.   Now we are in an internet café catching up…..   We may go to the beach later or into town for the carnival parade….    Not sure yet…. all will be revealed at a later date!

Bye for now