Martinique, Part Deux – A day in the Life

A Day in the Life

Still in St. Annes, we head into shore to do laundry. A day-in-the-life of live-aboards is quite lovely, yet laundry, my least favourite chore, has not got me humming. Truth – I do not like public laundromats. Our next boat will have a washer so I don’t have to deal with them! Thankfully the laundromat in St. Annes is close, clean and new. An added bonus is excellent wifi. I get to call my Mom, and we have a long chat catching up on news. I’ve discovered that calling via Facebook Messenger is the cheapest and best way to call people.

Sadly, we have read all our paper books on board and are feeling a bit desperate for something to read. I did not get a Kindle as I had planned before leaving and have been picking up books along the way or exchanging with other cruisers. It’s proven interesting and we’ve read literature that we probably would not have otherwise. We’re consuming a book every 2-3 days and fully enjoy the luxury of being able to read any time. Desperate for something to read, I find two books on my iPad; Treasure Island and Heart of Darkness. Both turn out to be fabulous reads! Thankfully, Baxter and Molly were considerate enough to share their Kindle library with me before leaving St Anne, so reading material is no longer a problem.

The Streets of St Anne
Beautiful light in church
St Annes on the Anchor
Trying Martinique Rum
Crepes in the streets of St Annes
French Provisions
Gecko

St. Pierre and Flying Fish

Having lounged sufficiently, we decide to head back towards St. Pierre in order to make the jump back to Dominica. As we sail past Diamond Rock, we’re struck by the sheer beauty and austerity of it. It juts vertically from the water, abrupt and stoic. It is home to many seabirds and apparently hosts great diving. Unfortunately the swells are too high to get close but hopefully on the return trip we’ll be able to cruise a little closer. I read somewhere that Napoleon had a contingent in his navy scale it with cannons in tow, to defend his wife’s homeland of Martinique. Crazy to imagine anyone climbing that rock, much less towing a cannon behind them.

We sail the entire day without the engine, 18-22 knots of wind from the east. This is a perfect day in cruiser world, and we put anchor down in St Pierre around 1:00 pm, after 5 hours of pure sailing bliss. I dive in to check the anchor but it’s not set. We try several times and finally get settled away. I stay in the water to do my laps around the boat. Filbert, follows me around on deck as I do my laps (its too cute to describe).

Later that night I am awakened to a ruckus coming from our cockpit. The quickest way to set dread in the heart of any cruiser is to wake to a mysterious noise in your cockpit at night. I go up to find Filbert, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed chasing a flying fish around the cockpit. The fish managed to land inside our boat and was making quite a racket. It took me forever to catch and release him. Filbert was a little pissed but he doesn’t eat raw fish and there was no point in the little guy not going back in the water. As I turn to go back downstairs I am alarmed to see a mast directly in front of our boat that was not there when we went to bed. Clearly the sailboat that was a good 800 feet in front of us when we retired was dragging, and quickly. I call Al and he comes up immediately. The man is aware of their predicament and he’s up on deck trying to stop his boat. For any cruiser to wake to a dragging anchor has to be one of the worst yachtie problems, well, aside from strange noises in your cockpit at night. As our new neighbour attempts to pull his anchor, Al has to yell to him that if he continues he’s going to pull ours up as well, and recommends as calmly as possible, in english, to a french speaking sailor, that he might want to motor ahead before he pulls his anchor, in order not to foul our anchor. At this point their boat is about 20 feet from our boat. He finally figures out what to do and as he is pulling away shouts out “Sorry” to us. “Not a problem”, we reply as it happens at some point to all of us. Still if the flying fish had not landed in our cockpit we may have had a bigger tangle than we’d bargained for. I’m happy I let the little guy go!

St Annes Bay
St Annes Cemetery
Is it Too Far to sail?
Filly finds a new space to hang out!
Go Go, zoom zoom.
I watch bread
Sailing Around Le Diamond
Sailing to Martinique

The next day is rolly and we wake early after a not-so-good nights sleep. We’d become a little nervous and continually checked throughout the night to ensure that no other boats were drifting. We head into the city early, check out of customs, do a little shopping for provisions, and enjoy a delicious creole lunch. My first try of breadfruit and it is very tasty! We head back to the boat and sadly there is no swimming today because my shoulder is a little achy. The sunset is spectacular and we wait for the green flash but it doesn’t occur. The green flash is a phenomenon that occurs as the sun is setting in the Caribbean. On a clear horizon with no obstructions, you should be able to see a green flash immediately after the sun sets. Rum may be involved but no luck today.

Dominica

The sun comes up and so do we, setting out for Dominica early. There are 12 boats sailing in our direction, it’s a fabulous sail with a steady 15-20 knots, gusting to 25 from the east. We reach a top speed of 8.1 knots but are consistent for most of the day around 7 knots. It has been a fun 10 days sailing around Martinique doing nothing special but just being cruisers. Our friend Agnes jokes that people ask her ‘what you do all day’ and the reality is some days it is as much as getting laundry done or provisioning the boat. Simple chores like laundry can take a full day. And it is always island time here so nothing happens fast. Yet I wouldn’t trade it for any other life. A day in the life of your average cruiser may not be overly exciting but it is usually fun and relaxing. We leave Martinique with warm memories and look forward to returning after our sojourn in Dominica for Yachtie Appreciation Week.

Say What?
Freeboard
Smilin’
Captain on the foredeck
Sail to St. Pierre
Mt Pelee in the shadow
Bikini Captain
Filly B snoozer

Author: tess

A full-time adventurer, I am sailing our 37-foot Tartan with my husband and kitty, to the Caribbean from Newfoundland while documenting it on our blog, greatbigsail.com

8 thoughts on “Martinique, Part Deux – A day in the Life”

  1. Tess I posted on Saturday but it never posted, anyway I said much the same thing as Ger. My favourite post yet, I laughed out loud when I read about Filbert and the flying fish. Good thing it decided to fly into your boat as a crisis was averted.
    I also, always think of Dad while reading your posts, he was especially in my thoughts during this one, he would have loved the Filbert and the flying fish story.
    Stay safe, happy travels.

    1. Oh dear! Well I’m glad you tried again! Glad to hear you made it back to your home.

      Dad would have been so thrilled with this adventure. He’d have retold the flying fish story a lot! Love ya!

  2. AFT,

    Another great post, filled with tales of flying fish, green flashes and a crisis averted.

    I commented to Dad years ago,” imagine if cats could talk”
    Well, what a tale Filbert would tell, he’d probably say that it was the best part of his adventure. Dad would get such a kick out of that.

    Speaking of Filbert, how adorable that he follows you around watching you do your laps. If he was any more relaxed, he’d be a dog.

    It’s so good to see you all healthy and happy. Al’s hair is growing back, I noticed. You look like you should be on the cover of Boats Illustrated!😄

    Stay safe. Love you.

    1. You’re such a flatterer! But thanks all the same 🙂 I always think of Dad on this trip. He would have gotten such a kick out of the stories. The boats, Filbert, everything. Imagine if he could have done something like this? He loved the water so much and was in his element when he was in a boat. I know thats where i got my love for it from! Thanks of the lovely comment. Love you!

  3. “Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you, smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, “Come and find out”.”
    ― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

    I was made to read Heart of Darkness in English 1001 1st year MUN…not impressed! Years later I revisited it on my own accord and saw it for the treasure it was.

    On to laundromats ….dreadful spaces, frowning, mean, insipid and savage. Even now when I have the luxury of washer and dryer inhouse it is my least favourite chore. I developed my aversion when I tree planted in British Columbia and resented having to give a precious day off to such a mundane necessity. Hate washing clothes to this day. Life lesson. Less is more especially when it comes to clothes.

    Fillybear lying on the rope with that sleepy eye is the best photo ever ! You can tell he was up all night thanks to a freaking flying fish.

    Lucky thing you and Al are from Newfoundland and are accustomed to bad drivers, it is probably not as shocking as it should be—just because. Glad you averted a dragging none the less.

    Kisses sissie from me and my familiar ❤️

    1. Exactly! Conrad’s descriptions, particularly of the coast and river were poetic. It was a pleasure to read for the first time.

      Yeah, I might try doing more laundry on-board. I tried to get a Toronto start-up that designed a manual washing machine to give me one to try for the trip but they weren’t ready. Im going to see if they’re available because laundromats suck! and to send out is expensive down here and sometimes you get more than you bargained for! A very sweet couple we met in Le Marin said they got a giant cockroach back with their laundry one time! I’d be scarred for life.

      Filly is loving the sailing and this was a typical shot of his lounging while underway. the one eye cracks me up!

      Love to you and Murph! from us. XO

  4. Wow what a trip. Hard to believe a year has almost passed. Keep enjoying & have a safe & awesome journey back .

    God Bless.

    1. Thanks! you’re name came up anonymous so not sure who you are 🙂 Its been 7 months since we left, 4 more to go and its been an awesome journey so far!

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