We have finally upped anchor and left St Lucia, after more than 7 weeks there! It needed a quick motor over it to get it out of the sand but that was no problem. Leaving at dawn, we also noticed one of the nav lights wasn’t working but it was a quick job fixing a loose connection and we were off.
The sail across to Marin was lovely, with very little swell and no more than a Force 4. In fact it was so easy, Rob spent most of the passage dozing, as it just wasn’t exciting enough for him. However, having not been offshore for nearly 2 months, I was glad not to feel queasy. The 25 miles took us about 5 hours and we had both sails fully unfurled. Makes a change not to have a reef in our huge main! Once again the fishing line went over without result. Can’t believe we’ve been out here for over a year and haven’t landed a single edible thing!
We anchored in the northern part of the bay, west of the marina but close to the supermarket dinghy dock for our provisioning run. As we motored up the channel, we dodged the dinghies racing around the markers and got some nice close photographs of the sailors leaning out on the wooden posts jutting from the sides of their craft. They had to be very quick to move when tacking but many didn’t make it and the rescue boat was busy helping all those who capsized!
The anchor held in the sticky mud and although the anchorage was crowded, we know we hold well here and after a year anchoring in the Caribbean, feel much happier at close quarters. We also feel very safe here as we don’t often hear of any crime but we still hoisted and locked the dinghy and locked our hatches as we think it is still better not to take any chances.
Although we arrived at lunchtime, the new marina office, where customs is now, shut at lunchtime on Sundays, so we were too late to check in. This morning, we dinghied over again and cleared in on the self-service PC terminals. The form is short and you just print it out for the customs officer to stamp but the UK is under Grande-Bretagne if you are searching! There is a 5 euro fee for clearance and the marina office is upstairs in the new centre, along with a lot of new shops, cafes and boat related businesses. It opens at 0800 and there were several terminals. The cafe next to it has a nice terrace with sofas and excellent WiFi. There is also a new launderette which takes 7 and 14 kg loads and has a dishwasher if you need one after a party!
Marin is as full of charter boats as ever but the chandleries and services are excellent because of this. Most people come here for any repairs and we are fortunate that spares of parts of our boat are just on the shelf in the chandlery. This includes big fitments such as the boom to mast bracket so we are tempted to buy it now for any future emergency.
Tempting fate, we answered a ‘yes, its great’ to Howard on Saturday when he asked if our watermaker was still running fine. So it packed up on Sunday!! It sounds like the pump has died but Caraibe Energie deal with our HRO system and we are taking the pump to them this afternoon. As we intend staying in Martinique for a month, there is plenty of time to get it fixed. New systems can cost 7000 GBP so we hope it can be repaired! We have 400 litres in the stern 2 tanks and can fill up on the fuel jetty here, so it isn’t a problem for now.
Martinique is very modern and French, where it really helps to at least start a conversation speaking French. Once the amusement (or perhaps distress) of listening to me wears off, which is quite quickly in most cases, then nearly everyone speaks English. The shops around the marina are too inviting, with lots of luxury food we don’t need; swimwear and chocolate which I definitely do!
It is good to be back here as it is a year since we last visited. We are glad we have some time on this trip to explore the island a bit more and brush up our French.