Martinique

26 November 2018  Rodney Bay to St Anne, Martinique
Overnight, a big, rolling 2 foot swell started coming into the anchorage and (err) started us rolling.  The weather forecast looked okay, so I cleared out and we upped anchor at 09:30.  After the battering that we took on the way up from St Vincent, we were little apprehensive, but it was okay.  

We were hard on the wind and not able to lay the Rhumb line but we only had ½ hour of upwind motor sailing at the end of the passage.  We arrived in St Anne at 13:30 and anchored at 14°26.02N 060°53.23W in 6 metres on good holding sand and weed.  It’s a huge, well protected anchorage and there must be 150 boats at anchor here.

View from the Shrine Path

After tidying up after the bouncy passage, we dinghied ashore, tying up to the excellent dinghy dock opposite the church.  We walked to the Snack Boubou café where they have a computer linked to the customs system.  The clearing in process was a doddle - fill in the online form, print out a copy, give it to the café owner who stamps the form and then pay 3 euros.

We had a walk around the tiny town centre, which consists of about ten streets.  There’s a little supermarket and a boulangerie, where we bought a bottle of wine, a baguette, some brie and some olives - essential French food.

It didn’t take long to explore the town, so we wandered further afield and walked Went for a walk along the beach towards the large Club Med holiday resort.  It’s a nice beach, with plenty of bars and small restaurants, but not much to interest us. (I was more interested in the cemetery that we passed on the way with its stunning white washed crypts.)

To complete our tour of the area, we walked up the path behind the church which winds its way up the steep hill.  At every turn in the path, there is a small shrine depicting a scene from the crucifixion of Christ.  It’s an interesting little walk with some nice views of the town and anchorage.

27 November 2018  St Anne, Martinique
We took a long dinghy ride to Marin which is 2.5 miles from where we are anchored.  The route we took was to pass close to the end of the pier at the Club Med resort and then head for a red buoy on the other side of the reef.   We followed a sand patch over the shallows, but I think that there’s enough depth as long as you don’t stray too far from the beach.  Once around the headland there was a tough up wind mile, bashing into 2 foot wind waves.

Crowded Marin

Our plan is to stay in Martinique for a couple of weeks and to spend a few days inland, hiking and having a look at the island.  We went to the marina to book five nights, but they were unwilling to commit themselves and told us to ring them tomorrow to confirm a place from Thursday 29th - very strange.  We wanted to confirm the booking, so that we can book some accommodation on shore, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

We visited a couple of car hire places, who told us that there was no problem with the availability of small cars, so we’ll book one tomorrow when we’ve confirmed the marina space.  With our holiday arrangements done as much as possible, we wandered around the chandlers and fishing tackle shops, buying a few things.  I found out that the only people who can service dive gear are a company called Nautica, but they are near the Airport about 20 kilometres away.

I called in at North Sails and had a chat with Gavin, the owner of the loft.  He says that he’s happy to come to have a look at our main sail when we come into the marina.  Unfortunately, he can’t make Thursday, but Friday should be okay.

After lunch in a small boulangerie, we went to the Leader Price supermarket and stocked up on a dinghy load of provisions.  The supermarket has a dinghy dock, where you unload your trolley directly into the dinghy.  It’s very convenient, but we’re not impressed by the range of goods on the shelves.

28 November 2018  St Anne, Martinique
After breakfast, we rang the marina, but they will still not guarantee us a mooring or a berth for tomorrow.  They are telling us that we should ring at 10:00 tomorrow morning and they will allocate something to us.  When asked if they will guarantee a place they just say it’s very likely that they’ll have a space.  It’s weird - we can’t book a hire car or accommodation until we know we have a marina space.

Checking Dive Gear

After some debate, we’ve decided to forget about the marina and we’ll just do day trips in a car.  It’s only a couple of hours drive to get the north of the island, so we’ll be able to see most of the island and do some hiking.  There’s a car hire place in St Anne, so we walked over and booked a car for three days from Friday 30th.

In the afternoon, I did some work on our dive gear.  I took the octopus regulators apart, cleaned the needle valves with some fresh water and adjusted the valve seats to make them harder to purge.  I then put the regulators on a tank and went for a little dive under the boat.  All three now seem to work fine, so I don’t have to have them serviced now.  

29 November 2018  St Anne, Martinique
Glenys pulled out her sewing machine and did a few repairs - mostly reinforcing stitching on the sprayhood and bimini side panels. I spent most of the day investigating what anchorages to visit in the Bahamas and doing a rough itinerary for the next few months.  

Kevin & Bev from “Kailani” came for a few beers -it was nice to talk to a couple of Brits again.