We did in fact get repairs finished up and were able to leave Guadeloupe. We even had a whale escort for about 15 minutes just leaving the island – it was quite spectacular. Our next stop was a group of tiny islands called the “Saints” which were beautiful and friendly.
We continue to journey southward at a fairly brisk pace due to our numerous time setbacks that we have had over the past few months. We want to be in Grenada by mid May at the latest so we are doing brief stops along the way to determine which ones will be on our “return to” list in the future.
Dominca is a lush, diverse island with beaches, rainforest and mangrove swamps. The island people struggles to make ends meet and tourism is their biggest new income and they work very hard to show tourists the beauty of the island. This is definitely an island we want to explore another time. The seas and winds are a fickle sort and go from too much to too little in a matter of a day. Today the weather vane spins endless trying to find the wind and the seas are flat like Mabel on a glorious summer day… as a result we are motor sailing our way down the island. The problem with our southward journey is that the winds are typically east to south east…. And as we move along our sail days often turn out to be in the direction of SE to S so we are either dead into them or trying to sail close hauled. We use several weather forecasting sites but it seems they are never really accurate. The difficulty being that winds are affected by the island chain topography and are not the same as those forecast further ashore.
Martinique, another French island in the Windward chain, was our next stop. We spent three days hopping our way down the coast. St.Pierre was an interesting little village – we arrived on Sunday to a deserted town … hardly recognizable as the same place Monday morning as we could hear the buzz of traffic from our boat beginning at 5:30am. The French lifestyle is certainly laid back most times (except their driving that is). Shops open Mon-Fri between 8 and 9am and then close for a lunch break, usually between about 1-2:30pm then reopen until 5:30pm; Saturdays are always only half days and most everything shuts down completely on Sundays. St. Pierre was destroyed in 1902 when Mt. Pele erupted with a gaseous explosion. The town wasn’t covered in lava, its inhabitants (3000) died due to the intense heat, gases and resulting fires. The rebuilding of the city happened around the remnants of the old so there is a lot of history to see as you wander around the town.
We have now hopped one more island down and are at the northern end of St. Lucia in a lovely marina for a couple of nights so we will have a chance to explore Rodney Bay a bit over the next few days.