July 2014 ~ Southward!
Day 1416 ~ St. LuciaJuly 31st, 2014
Left Martinique at 7:30am. Nice, calm sail all the way to St. Lucia.
Day 1415 ~ July 30th, 2014
Day 1414 ~ July 29th, 2014
Day 1413 ~ Diver DownJuly 28th, 2014
We returned to the same spot for a little diving. We managed to find some of the best scenery below. Visibility was good and there was plenty of colorful corals, sponges and fish.
Day 1412 ~ Snorkeling FunJuly 27th, 2014
Took the troops and the inner tube over to the point between Petit and Grand Anse. The kids mostly played and the adults snorkeled around. It looks promising for diving. A dive boat showed up shortly after so we noted his position and planned to return tomorrow.
Day 1410 ~ Peaks & WaterfallsJuly 25th, 2014
Once again, we rented cars with Discovery and went exploring. We got stuck in traffic going through Fort de France, the capital, but once out of the big city, the roads became windy with little traffic once again. On the way to the waterfall, we stopped at a picturesque catholic church, Eglise Sacre Coeur de Balata, for lunch. Continuing on, we spent a little time at the waterfall Saut Gendarme as it was quite crowded. Mount Pélée was enshrouded in fog, but the kids were delighted to have their heads, at last, 'in the clouds'.
Day 1408 ~ Ferried AwayJuly 23rd, 2014
We passed a flat calm night with no anchoring incidences, but the ferry is still due to arrive at 11am. The tropical depression headed our way predicts to twist the winds to the NE. Our original destination of Anse Mitan across the bay from Fort de France is quite exposed to that direction so we opted to go south around the corner more to Grand Anse d'Arlet.
We ate breakfast, the kids began school and then we headed out again about 10. We motor-sailed in the lee of the mountains until we crossed Fort de France harbor, a large bay that goes deep into the bulk of the island. As we neared the mouth, the winds picked up significantly as did the fetch (waves). Soon we were bouncing along throwing spray everywhere. It took us about an hour and soon were in the relative calm of the Arlet bays. The bay is full of mooring balls and the French don't charge for short-termers so we took an open on on the north side of the bay. Discovery showed up soon after and the kids were playing in the water before too long.
The winds pipe up for the next few days so we'll stick around until Monday or Tuesday. After constantly moving over the past three days, it will be nice to stay put for a few.
Day 1407 ~ MartiniqueJuly 22nd, 2014
After a peaceful and flat calm night, we rose with the dawn, checked a few emails and were off to sea again, this time to Martinique. We had to motor sail most of the way down the leeward side of Dominica, but now and again the wind shot through the valleys to help speed us along with wind power. Things got a little more bumpy once we passed the southern tip and we were completely exposed, but over all, it was fairly smooth sailing and we pulled into St. Pierre, Martinique, about 4pm.
The bay is very deep and goes from zero to 130 feet in 360 yards from shore. While it worked well for the 200+ deep-draft wooden schooners of old who would line up stern-to the shore, it's misery for the average cruiser with 100 meters of chain but needing a 5-to-1 ratio. Even with only a fraction of the cruisers of the high season, we could find only one shallow spot at four meters that was between the town dock and another monohull. We anchored the first time, but when we pulled back on the hook, we would have hit the dock if just the right wind angle came up in the night. We tried the other side of the dock, but the shallowest we could find was 13 meters so we went back to the old spot. We managed to get a decent set, though our scope isn't as much as Peter would be comfortable with. In addition, our neighbor boat informed us that the ferry comes in at 11am and needs our space to flip a 180. We were planning to be out first thing anyway.
Peter snorkeled our anchor as well as that of our neighbor boat. Visibility is fantastic and near 200 feet.
Day 1406 ~ DominicaJuly 21st, 2014
Discovery left at 7:30a as they had to make a stop in Basse Terre for fuel. We pulled anchor at 11am and managed to sail most of the way. The wind shadow of Guadeloupe created lulls and back drafts that caused havoc with our sails; one could practically draw the skyline based on the wind experienced. Life became lively once past the southern tip, but the seas were only 3-4 feet so passage was relatively pleasant.
We tacked into the large Portsmouth Harbour and found it practically empty. Aside from Discovery, there were only six other cruisers in the whole bay. Too bad we didn't have time to stop, the low season would be a great time of year to visit.
GPS location Date/Time:07/21/2014 07:20:51 AKDT
Day 1405 ~ Fish StewJuly 20th, 2014
By morning we were tired of rocking and rolling. The winds must be such that the swell aims right in the bay. Time to move. Another cruiser friend last year recommended the southern end of the bay as their favorite spot so, considering we didn't feel like making the run to Dominica quite yet, we decided to try it out.
Turned out to be much calmer, though a little swell still found its way. The kids all ended up in the water. Kate and Nina, neither of whom have ever shown the slightest interest in fishing, ended up in Discovery's kayak exploring the coast with a fishing pole. Nina faced forward and Kate faced backward with the pole. What started as a try-out, ended up being quite profitable for the animals aboard, and fun for the fishergirls. I think the final tally was around ten, most of which ended up being eaten by Discovery's cat, Calypso. A few, however, made it into a pot and Jaci and Nana turned them into a savory stew for the dogs. Pippin was in heaven to say the least.
Day 1404 ~ Pigeons and TouristsJuly 19th, 2014
Hot today...92 degrees and blasts of air funneling down the mountains in between long spells of not even a puff of wind. Fussed with Digicel top-up...again. Got it working without having to go to the main office in the big city. Received the awaited syrup then dropped the ball and motor-sailed to Pigeon Island. This is the first time we've been here in the summer. The beaches were teeming with tourists and locals alike. It reminded me of visiting someone's pool.
Day 1403 ~ July 18th, 2014
Day 1402 ~ Waterfalls and Ice CreamJuly 17th, 2014
We rented cars with Discovery and took a road trip around Guadeloupe with the crew. Our first stop was a waterfall, Cascade aux Ecrivisses which we found much busier in the summer when the French tourists descend on the island and stay for a month or two. However, the kids found a quiet pool down-river in which to play and had a great time.
Next, we headed to the big mall in Pointe à Pitre. After tackling our lists, we sat down for some ice cream in the courtyard. We'd already brought the spoons from home.
Day 1401 ~ July 16th, 2014
Day 1399 ~ GuadeloupeJuly 14th, 2014
Once again, we're back on the water with a sail to Guadeloupe. We're moving fast and covering a lot of miles. Just wish we could take it slower, but both we and Discovery need to be to St. Lucia to pick up guests in a couple weeks. We decided, however, to chill out in Guadeloupe for a few days and do some exploring.
Day 1398 ~ RecouperatingJuly 13th, 2014
Nice to have a peaceful night of sleep, albeit short. Started the day with our traditional Swedish pancakes for Sunday morning. Couldn't get internet so we moved further into the bay. Peter then went to town for some fresh items at the grocery store. Spent the rest of the day relaxing and recouperating.
Day 1397 ~ AntiguaJuly 12th, 2014
We had a good run to Antigua. Winds a bit slack mid-day but otherwise decent, slow sailing. We had less than 10 knots apparent for hours at a time but managed to make about 4.5 knots (speed over ground) even with the wind at 3.5-4.0 apparent. After sunset it picked up to 12-14 and we were able to make up some time, then it died completely about 8 miles out so motored the rest of the way in. Anchored just before 1am in Jolly Harbour.
Date/Time: 07/12/2014 09:28:06 AKDT
Day 1396 ~ July 11th, 2014
Day 1395 ~ Another Empty BayJuly 10th, 2014
It's only 2 miles to Colombier Bay on the St. Barth's mainland so no point in raising the sails. A bit choppy with the strong winds of late so we pointed a bit more southwesterly until we entered the lee of the island and the waves calmed a bit. Being the slow season and a non-weekend, the bay was nearly empty so we had our pick of mooring balls.
Took Pippin on a walk and went straight up the hill as Peter had never seen that trail. Turned back at the rock outcropping.
Day 1394 ~ July 9th, 2014
Day 1392 ~ Deserted IslandJuly 7th, 2014
Sailed to Ile Fourchue, a deserted island just north of St. Barth's proper. We've been told there used to be goats living here, but they ate all the vegetation so were taken to the main island. Just one other boat in the anchorage, the 'Forked Island' makes a peaceful stop.
Day 1391 ~ July 6th, 2014
Day 1390 ~ July 5th, 2014
Day 1389 ~ July 4th, 2014
Day 1388 ~ July 3rd, 2014
Day 1387 ~ July 2nd, 2014