Monday, December 2, 2013

French Frolicks, Birthday Rainbows & Rolly Nights

Wandering Star searches for that pot of gold - photo Jon Constantine
Thinking fondly of those motionless landlubber days, the boat rolls from side to side.  Everything tumbles one way and then the next.  The full water tanks gurgle and slap.  The halyards spank the mast, the boom swings violently this way then that. Sim and I are tired.  Not just from the constant roll, where even being wedged between cushions still has you thrown about, not just from the constant racket from everything rolling about but also because Sim has been up half the night with food poisoning.  Such a shame as yesterday was his birthday.
Fort De France
But up until that point we have had a wonderful few days.  Friday we left St Lucia for French Martinique.  We didn’t intended to stay long but started a day ahead of our traveling companion Jon from SY Imagine of Falmouth so we could do a quick stock up in our favourite French supermarket – Leader Price.  The sail across was super, just enough off the wind to be comfortable.  We anchored off the old fort ruins in Fort De France; another noisy anchorage, this time we were serenaded with the sounds of tribal drums that kicked off some time after 9pm – don’t they know that this is cruisers midnight? I actually quite liked it and for a new anchorage where I normally don’t sleep too well until I become accustomed to where I am – I nodded off like I was one of the dead.  Bright and sprightly we awoke Saturday morning and walked around the shabby metropolis that is Martinique’s capital.  It’s a colourful place, much more modern than other Caribbean islands. It’s an eclectic mix of old and new from designer shops to Chinese bargain basements, modern buildings matched with tired and crumbling shops with wrought iron balconies, well maintained waterfronts to churches in colourful painted squares.
Fort De France waterfront
We shopped, watched some kite flyers and then got on our way to meet Jon at St Pierre at the north of the island to stage ourselves for the next leg of our journey north.  I love St Pierre.  It’s not always easy to find a place to anchor and it can roll.  But it is so beautiful.  I never tire of the majestic Mont Pelee – a volcano that caused all that havoc over a century ago destroying the whole town and killing its entire population.  The unpretentious village is scattered around old ruins and charred remains. There is not much not to like.  Though once again we were treated to some more nocturnal clamor – this time it sounds like an out of tune choir practice.
St Pierre, Martinique
Alarms were set for 5.30am on Sunday morning – no time for the birthday boy to open any presents or cards – we needed to get underway. Motoring out into a grey morning it looked as if we weren’t going to get much wind.  The squally weather treated us to the most spectacular rainbow – the first of many that morning.  When the wind eventually filled in it was a lot more than expected.  The seas got bigger with huge spumes of water rolling across the decks.  Wandering Star handled very well in what turned out to be a force 6/7, steaming along at 8.5kts. We practiced a little “heave to” exercise while we waited to see if Jon was doing ok with the sudden onslaught of wind. He was.  I can’t quite say that it was an invigorating sail as I was feeling fairly queasy.  For all those who have seen the recent info on plugging your non dominant ear for a sea sickness cure – I don’t think it works – but then maybe I had the wrong ear!  As we approached the lee of Dominica the seas started to calm. We motor-sailed up the coast to Portsmouth at the north end of the island.  
Sims birthday rainbow

Dominica is hugely mountainous – it’s the emerald jewel of the Caribbean.  Rolling hills and black sand beaches fringe the anchorage.  That night for Sim’s birthday we had a small BBQ on board Wandering Star before we fell into our rolling bed for a night of fitful sleep.
Colourful Streets in Fort de France
Church Fort de France
Lively street corners
Fort de France anchorage
St Pierre, Martinique
Imagine of Falmouth
Beautiful rainbow
Windy ride
The captain takes the chair!
Lovely sunset Dominica
The birthday boy

1 comment:

  1. We remember birthday boy at Ms Lucky's last year in Carriacou. Only 12EC a plate. Good cheap times. Happy birthday Sim.