We had a fast but comfortable sail into Marin on Thursday, making it on one tack due to the easterly wind. The new lure was being towed the entire 3 hours but without success! Rob wasn’t really ‘racing’ but glad to tell me we had overtaken the 5 boats he could see and only been passed by 1 huge catamaran doing 9 knots. Neither of us could take much credit for the helming anyway, as the autopilot, ‘Cyril’ did it all. Now we have solar panels to charge up the batteries, we are far happier to let him drive.
We anchored under the Yellow Flag in St Anne’s for the first evening and spent a peaceful night without the noise of the anchor chain rumbling over stone and coral. No jet skis, no boat boys and no loud music until 0400 either! I do wonder why we go to St Lucia sometimes.
After hoisting the Welsh Dragon for St David’s Day, the following morning we motored around the corner to anchor in Marin before going ashore to clear customs. It is such an easy process, without the need to present anything but the printed out form you have just completed. No clearance papers out of St Lucia inspected and just as well this time, seeing as customs were on strike last week!
On the way in we spied an interesting dinghy with young sailors being taught the ropes. We also passed by a cruise liner and a private yacht, not much smaller. Very sleek and stunning at night with all the lights on. We do wonder what they must be like inside but still prefer sailing!
Our French courtesy flag is very small; there is no doubt about that. The Martinique courtesy flag dwarfs it but I hold onto our tiny flag because it is the one my dad bought and we flew it when we crossed from Lymington to Cherbourg in June 1976, in our 26 foot bilge keeled yacht ‘Dark Sapphire’. It looked the right size on her ☺
We topped up the 3 water tanks at the fuel dock for which we paid about 5 GBP for 461 litres. Apparently the quality is good and it is quite cheap. There are lines on the fuel berth already and staff to help you. Next to the dock were our friends on ‘Spirit’ and it was good to see them again. We met after they completed the ARC in December and stay in touch via email. We have also just sent in the application form to join the OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) as many of our friends have recommended their network and services. The SSB radio net for the OCC keeps us in touch with the whereabouts of people we know on a daily basis. The ‘Coconut Telegraph’ does likewise but both are early in the day, so we often miss them completely!
Anchoring in Marin, near the Leader Price supermarket is a dream. The mud is so ‘gloopy’ you are stuck into it in seconds. Cleaning it off the anchor afterwards isn’t so much fun but you sleep soundly and boats anchor much closer together as nobody can budge an inch. Our anchor has had a paint spray lately, as the former yellow paint was coming off due to the abrasive sand we often anchor in. We can see the embedded anchor more easily from the bow when it is vivid orange and if we can’t see any colour, we know it is completely buried.
A small food shop came next, with Rob desperate for a decent baguette for lunch. Afterwards we made another trip ashore in the trusty dinghy to get our water-maker pump. Rob’s shock at the price was priceless in itself but I had actually guessed more, so I was happy! It pays to think the worst sometimes. The little pump section cost us about 850 GBP and the whole job was around 1400 GBP – Rob’s cries of ‘I could have bought a sail for that’ didn’t really help! We have managed without it for a couple of months, so if it completely failed we would probably not invest in a new one, as that would cost thousands.
One morning there was no wind and the anchorage was like a mill pond so we were on deck at 0630 to hoist the mainsail to re-thread a reefing line, as it was round the back of another one and would have prevented the sail coming down properly once 2 reefs were required. Nearly everyone out here sails with 1 reef in permanently and it doesn’t take much to be in need of the second one, especially around headlands. As you approach Bequia you are warned of the ‘Bequia Blast’ for good reason and that was when we got the amazing photos. of Beyzano taken last May, looking like she was sinking in the huge swell!
Saturday was another major food stock up for our 9 weeks with friends aboard and we had the dubious fun of witnessing a fight at the checkout when a man tried to queue jump in front of a woman who then proceeded to throw his food off the belt. A couple of other men decided it was a good excuse for a punch up and all before 10 in the morning! Living in paradise obviously doesn’t make everyone chill out.
On Sunday a couple who know friends of ours from Brighton Marina and recognised the boat name, came over for drinks. They have just arrived in the Caribbean with their lovely dog Quinn – we just need Steve and Helen to get over here now for a party!
We both chilled out the rest of the weekend before getting up early today to do the laundry and WiFi in the friendly Internet café on the road behind the marina. The weather looks favourable so we intend to leave later on to do an overnight passage straight to Bequia to meet our friends on ‘Blue Moon’, then on through the Tobago Cays to Carriacou to check into Grenada. Smoked tuna and marlin can be bought in Patty’s Deli in Hillsborough – it is strange how our sailing plans so often coincide with special food suppliers ☺