Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ain't No Sunshine

Squally weather
Ain’t no sunshine….by Bill Withers keeps playing in my head, it pretty much sums up this last week. The wind has howled and rain has fallen in biblical proportions, torrents of water falling out of the sky.  Sadly unlike on Alianna we don’t have quite the same systems in place to catch all this water and we watch most of it wash away.  We will work it out eventually but we would like the rain that could flow into our tanks to be clean enough to drink. We are currently trying to devise a pre-filter to collect the bits of grit and dirt that might slip into the tank. It would then pass through another two filters already in place before it comes out of the tap.  We also collect the water that falls from the bimini by clothes pegging the sides up so water runs along a channel and use that for laundry.  To say that we look like a Chinese laundry at the moment wouldn’t be far from the truth!
Portsmouth, Dominica
So what a miserable week it has been.  Since Dominica it’s been gray and overcast.  Inside the boat it’s hot and stuffy from keeping the windows permanently closed.  We moved on from Dominica to Saint Pierre at the north end of Martinique.  A long daysail starting at the crack of dawn, but what a difference a more powerful engine makes when you can blast down the sheltered coast at, well any darn speed we like with an 85hp engine! At the end of Dominica we pulled the sails out and turned the engine off but what a ride, what a work out! The wind gusted between 15 and 30kts, rain squalls threatened us every half an hour.  Sails in, sails out, sails in sails out.  There is a fault with the staysail so we haven’t been using that until we can repair it.  Now when we furl the genoa it makes noises that it really shouldn’t be making – it needs an overhaul too….add it to the job list. 
Mont Pelee, St Pierre, Martinique
At Jon’s suggestion we decided to stay a couple of days in Saint Pierre, the coastal town at the foot of the majestic Mont Pelee volcano and visit the earth science museum just over 1km out of town.  The Museum was not particularly impressive despite the fact it is supposed to be able to survive if the volcano erupts….again.  But the lengthy subtitled documentary about the devastation Mont Pelee left behind over a century ago killing nearly 30,000 people in less than 3 minutes was very interesting. At that time St Pierre was a major port and all the ships in the bay sadly sunk. One of the rooms in the museum belonged to a French Jack Cousteau type character come sailor/artist/diver – his underwater art work depicts life on the now sunken wrecks. These days there is a much clearer understanding of the volcanic warning signs and Mont Pelee lays dormant unlike like Soufriere smoldering away in neighbouring Montserrat.
The French Ladies
On Saturday morning we visited the local market in the covered building on the waterfront.  Bright colourful displays of fruit and vegetables decorate the tables, with large surly French women in wide brimmed hats guarding their produce from plastic chairs. Get a little closer and these scary looking ladies greet you with big smiles and broken English (how do they know we are not French?) welcoming you to come and inspect their wares.  Prices were good and we all stocked up on lots of fresh items.  Next stop the boulangerie for the obligatory pain aux chocolate.
Fruit and Veg Market
We moved on together with “Imagine” to Fort De France with more windy rain and squalls. It wouldn’t be right to pass the ultimate cheap French supermarket Leader Price where French cheese, wine and saucisson are available at super cheap prices.  The fridge and freezer are over flowing once again and we are devouring a rather nice gourmet pate and baguette.  Vive La France…!
Sam, Sim and Jon
Saint Pierre Church

Fishermen pulling in their catch

Saint Pierre by night

The Church
Wandering Star in St Pierre anchorage

One of the many wet and windy sails

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