Blue Lagoon, St Vincents – Anse Cochan, St Lucia 11th February
We set off from Blue lagoon about 4pm, we only planned to travel about 10 miles round to Cumberland Bay on the North Western side of the Island to make the sail to St Lucia smaller the next day. We crept through the extremely shallow reef exit to the bay, and sailed round with the wind behind us. It was as we approached Cumberland bay that we both decided we were going well and should carry on to St Lucia today without stopping, this would also mean we might have a chance of bumping in to Michalel Sweet on Henrietta, who was sailing south and potentially moored at the Pitons (St Lucia’s famous peaks). Holly made tea of chicken noodles, which didn’t settle well with her and she was shortly feeding it to the fishes so sent her self to bed for the remainder of the journey. She hasn’t had any morning sickness so we figured it was probably a combination of the pregnancy and being at sea. I on the other hand endured the 60 mile sail, in horrendous rain, rough seas and howling wind. Strangely it was my favourite sail in forever….probably because it was back to just Holly, myself and Scrump Dog Millionaire, and we could go where we want, when we wanted, without thinking of another soul. We arrived at Soufreire on the South of St Lucia at about 2am and somehow st this ungodly hour we were met by a local in a dingy asking me if we wanted a buoy. I declined and after finding no space on the government buoys, I decided to carry on another 6 miles to Anse Cochan where I knew I could anchor safely in the dark. It had been a great sail, from start to finish, and at about 4 am I crawled in to bed to join Holly. It was a shame we missed Henrietta but there is always next time.
Rodney Bay, St lucia – 12th February
Although we had sailed through the night it was up early to move up to Rodney Bay in time for customs. For once we had not got a permit for Scrumpy dog as we would only be in St Lucia for a day and a half, so we sneaked him ashore in an empty Anse Cochan, with no watchful eyes that could get us in trouble. On arriving at Rodney bay we moored up in our regular spot, as close to the beach as possible and low and behold, 100m away, unmoved, with their dingy in the same spot, was Jack and Marsha on Rights of Man. After checking in with customs and looking in the dingy shop, we headed back out to the anchorage to see Jack and Marsha. It was great to see them, already merry from their midday rums….we spent a few hours with them, telling stories of our adventures south of St Lucia, and breaking the news of our little salty boat baby, Marsha honestly looked devastated that Holly could not drink for the next 8 months. We said our goodbyes and made our way home. That evening we slipped ashore to the Chinese we had had on Christmas Eve, it was unfortunately not all we had hoped but a bad chinese is better than no chinese.
St Annes, Martinique – 13th February
Now we were back to the perfect sized boat crew, 2 humans, a furry baby, and a real baby, we were eager to see somewhere new and continue the adventure. So we signed out of St Lucia and headed up for our first uncharted territory for months, Martinique. So all the caribbean islands were at one time owned by the europeans, the English, French, Dutch and a few others. Being the good people we are we gave them all back their islands and independence in the last 50 years, all except the French, who held on to their 4 islands. This meant that their islands were literally a part of France, like the Isle of wight is to England. They use the euro, have French laws, our phones work as if we are in europe, the dog can come and go as he pleases, and best of all they were built up like french towns and cities, we were excited to not live like robinson Crusoe for a while. The sail was great, a good wind strength 90 degrees to us, as we flew along the whole way, for once we felt we were not wishing the miles away hoping to get there sooner, perfectly on course for St Annes on the south of Martinique….we had really missed this, and had not experienced it since arriving in the Carribbean, its was just us, in the glorious sun, and truly did feel like the good old days of sailing through Europe. 5 hours in we were nearing our anchorage for the night, as we got closer all we could see was a sea of hundreds of masts, all at anchor, and for once these were not the masts of large Cats with charter crew holiday makers spoiling our tranquil lifestyle, but likeminded live aboard families with decks covered in surfboards, dogs, children and the never ending clutter that comes with a caravan sized permanent home. After cruising through the sea of boats and homemade fishermans buoys, we dropped anchor in the clear shallow water and immediately wanted to get ashore to see the European delights Martinique had to offer. By delights I mean the food, and we were not disappointed, it was like walking through a European seaside village, patisseries, crepe stands, supermarkets, restaurants…so obviously we sat down to a banana and chocolate crepe before retiring to the boat for the night.
We spent the following day taking Scrumpy on a nice long well deserved walk up the long winding graveyard path which had interesting shines all telling the story of Jesus and when at the top it overlooked the coast and anchorage. This was followed by a visit to a secluded beach a mile away, where we caught two butterflies thoroughly making the most of Valentines day. By the time we were back at the boat we started to plan the following weeks activities and decided to rest up for the evening and a prefect valentines day to ourselves…..it was going to be a long week.
Marin, Martinique – 15th February
So we were up early and made our way 2 miles up the river inland to the large town of Marin. We had decided that we would put a thousand pound from our savings into the boat and try to complete some serious changes that would make our lives onboard much easier, with the thought of our new addition joining us in about 7 and a half months, we though it wise to prepare as best we could, as early as possible. We dropped the anchor, and immediately dingy’d ashore to the first of 5 chandleries, this town was like heaven compared to the endless desert islands we had been on, well at least it was if you needed to do anything to the boat. I won’t go into the pains of each job, but we achieved much more than we had hoped. After living the last 7 months without a fridge, we had finally bought a compressor and built a fully functioning fridge and freezer….I know what your thinking….not that amazing, but after living without so much as a cold drink, and no way to preserve meat, veg, diary for more than a day, we could now live a life where we would not need to shop everyday, it was nothing less that life changing for us. Second was a plumbed in fresh water shower on the back deck of the boat, this meant plumbing in a new tank (Luckily that we already had onboard), and fitting a new pump and all the piping, meaning we had doubled our water capacity and didn’t have to wash in salt water, followed by pouring tap water on our heads to rinse everyday, now we just had naked showers off the swim platform and give our neighbours in anchorages a shock. Thirdly, we had spent the time on the boat living in the forward v berth cabin as the rear cabin bed was slightly to small, but the room itself was double the size. So we extended the bed by 1 and half feet, making it about the size of a queen size bed, meaning we could finally sleep without our feet crushed against the wall, and without Holly on top of me. Fourthly, the delight of all the chandleries meant somehow Holly stumbled upon the identical bathroom sink that she had stuck her foot through 5 months earlier. The final new addition was certainly not planned, and definitely not expected….one afternoon leaving the dinghy dock in the tiny red dingy fit for a gnome, with a fridge compressor, the wood for the bed, a sink, a water pump and 10 meters of hosing, with a small dog standing proudly atop it, we were being chuckled at in the usually way by a dutch family, I called back ‘I know, we need a bigger dinghy” and went on our way. A minute later, Holly said we were being beckoned back to shore by them. On arrival they said that they had a spare dinghy being unused on board their boat, twice as big as ours, that we could buy. We went over to their boat and low and behold there she was, glorious looking with an inflatable rigid floor, twice as high out the water, long and wide, it was perfect. Holly and I had already discussed the negotiation tackticks, and were very prepared for at least a 1000 US dollar opening bid……second hand dinghys we had searched for on the way through the caribbean had been so expensive, the cheapest so far being 1300 US dollars. When he opened his mouth with €200, we beamed with excitement and bit his hand off, and left that very moment with our new addition.
Although it had taken 4 days of 10 hour working days, all was finally finished, and we were sat in, what to us was a brand new luxury boat, and it was finally time to set sail to somewhere new on the island……but not before our third MacDonalds since being in Marin…Its strange the things you miss when you can’t get them.