30 April 2011

Tortola, BVI – 30/04/11

Mike goes down to pick up our hire car early in the morning.  We have decided to get one for the whole week so that we can get around easily and the taxis here are so bloody expensive that it even works out cheaper, or probably will anyway.

Shortly after he gets back, Penny arrives to say hello.  It’s lovely to see her familiar, smiling face.  Apparently I could have watched the Royal Wedding yesterday with her and a friend but I’m not bothered to have missed it – I’ve seen the dress on the internet and presumably there will still be lots of coverage once I get home if I need to see it (which I won’t).

We chatter away for a while – it’s hard to summarise 16 months worth of travel to someone – then Penny sorts our storage problem for us saying we can put all our personal stuff at her house, in fact probably everything except large boat bits.  She even has new boxes – 12 of them – to pack our stuff into.

There’s a shout from a boat arriving at the fuel dock next to us and it’s Jock from TMM, another familiar face.

Penny leaves to do some errands but then comes back for us and I go in the car with her and Mike follows in ours so that we can learn our way to her house, find out where to leave our stuff and collect the boxes.  It’s a terrifying drive.  The road (to us) is practically vertical, with hairpin bends at crazy angles.  In places, the single track road is crumbling at the cliff edge and there are small landslides on the inside edge.  As if that isn’t bad enough, at the bottom of Penny’s drive the government have dug the road up and then just left it for over two months and you have to go over rubble then a sudden clamber over a step back onto concrete – all done on a hairpin bend and between the two huge concrete pillars at the bottom of the drive.  Scary stuff even in a 4-wheel drive truck type car.  I don’t know how she does it all the time.

We natter for a while with Penny and Peter, once again admiring their fantastic views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel and all the islands then load the boxes into the car and with our hearts in our mouths, head back down the drive to face THAT bend.  It honestly looks like we are going to go over the edge.  I hold my breath.  I think my heart stops.  Then we are round and safe.  After that one, the rest seem like a doddle.

Passing Nanny Cay we decide to go into the marina to see who’s around and find Suzanna in the office.  We arrange to take her and the Crazy Horse gang to the Bananakeet Cafe for sundowners on Tuesday.  That really will be the last goodbye of this trip (unless we bump into Suzanna at San Juan airport on Friday ).

On the way back to the boat, we stop off at Island Department Store to see if they have any other storage stuff and some things for the boat (I am swapping out some of my galley equipment).  This is the funniest store ever.  Never, in the history of man, have so many ugly things been put together in what looks like a warehouse, for people to buy.  The decorative ornaments and fake flowers are worth a trip to give your mood a hint of hysteria.  Clocks adorned with plastic birds and flowers over a foot high are just the beginning and on an island with so many flowers growing naturally, I can’t believe the garish, unbelievably shiny fake flowers that are on display in ugly abundance.  And people obviously buy this stuff.  Amazing.  We escape with two of those cheap tartan bags (cheap but twice the price they are in the UK) and two huge laundry bags for some of our bedding and towels.

We’ve arranged to meet the Thomas family at the Dove, so after a rest, a shower and change, we drive down.  We love this restaurant and are so looking forward to the meal.  Being pretty expensive, it is usually a venue for a treat but tonight our main courses are a little disappointing.  Both Mike and I choose their signature steak dish but everything is a little over-salted and we can’t really taste the difference between the three components of the meal.  However, the wine, the starter and desert are fantastic and the company is exemplary as usual.  Despite the meal, we have a wonderful evening.

P1080498 Photo:  At the Dove with the Crazy Horse Gang

We drive them back to Village Cay Marina where Crazy Horse is currently berthed and arrange to pick them up tomorrow to go over to Nanny Cay to watch the start of the Atlantic Cup rally.  Back on Jeannius, we heave our extremely full bellies into bed, groaning and bemoaning that we ate so much.  So much for the diet!  Again!!!

29 April 2011

Virgin Gorda to Tortola, BVI – 29/04/11

We are awake early and preparing to leave for the short trip over to Tortola to deliver Jeannius to her new home at Conch Charters.

I go up to the marina office and buy myself a lovely conch shell then wave goodbye to Crazy Horse as they pull away from the dock heading for Trellis Bay for the night.  A few minutes later we are off ourselves, pulling out of the slip just as Monica and Nick come running to say goodbye moments too late.

We motor out of Leverick Bay passing through the narrow channel between Virgin Gorda and Mosquito Island, Crazy Horse going the other way out because they are so much deeper than us.

Once out of the protection of the island, the wind picks up and we are able to get the genoa out and have a good sail down, the last for a few months.

We get tied up and sitting in the cockpit, it really hits home what we are doing.  Once again we are handing our ‘home” over to someone else.  It’s just like renting your house out to strangers.  I have cursed this particular home regularly over the last couple of years but it’s ours, and mine, and we have spent a lot of money and put a lot of care and attention into her.  She has taken us to some fantastic places and through some horrid, horrid seas but always kept us safe.  Now we are abandoning her again and I feel very, very sad.

However, the World ARC blew our budget and the coffers need filling.  Putting Jeannius back into bareboat is sensible and sometimes I need to accept that the sensible option is the only option so I will grit my teeth, strip her of our personal stuff over the next week, return to the UK and probably moan like crazy when the time comes to go back on her.  The grass is always greener and all that!!!

We spend the afternoon meeting the staff at Conch Charters, showing them around the boat and discussing various features.  The rest of the time is spent with our noses in our computers again before some dinner (prawn curry – it is Friday), comedy TV and bed.  Tomorrow we will be social again as Penny is coming to see us and we have arranged to have dinner with the Crazy Horse gang at the wonderful restaurant in Road Town, The Dove.


Our position is:  18 deg 24 min N, 64 deg 36 min W

Distance so far:  25065 nautical miles

28 April 2011

Virgin Gorda, BVI – 28/04/11

Mike’s day is one of Groundhog Day proportions – he has his head bent over one of the PCs the whole time.  My day is much more exciting – I have the laundry to do.

While it is in the machines, I take the opportunity of taking a closer look at Necker Belle – she’s not ostentatious – just big!  Apparently she was a day charter boat and a total re-fit has changed her into a luxury cruising cat.  From the outside though, she certainly still shows her origins.

P1080473 P1080488 P1080489 P1080490 Photos:  The Necker Belle

All I need is Richard to come out, hand me a glass of champagne and offer me a guided tour.  Of course this doesn’t happen as he isn’t there but if he had been, and armed with the information that I have a Virgin mobile account, a Virgin pension and some Virgin PEPs, I’m quite sure he would have done!  Mmmm.  Or maybe not!!

By the afternoon Jeannius once more looks like wishy washy’s laundry itself – all the things that I can’t tumble dry are hanging in the cockpit or over the sides of the boat.  At least the wind ensures that everything is dry quickly.  I then have a go at trying to sort the boat out ie which things are going home and which things are going into storage, but I get myself in a tizz and give up, wandering around to take photos instead.

P1080493 Photo:  Crazy Horse and Jeannius at Leverick Bay

I go over to Crazy Horse to introduce the Thomas’s to the comedy drama series, Gavin and Stacy.  I love it when they love it too and I leave them watching it when Mike comes to tell me that I have 15 minutes to shower and get ready to go up to Monica and Nick’s for drinks and pizza.  In record time, I am ready, although if the hair had required attention it would have been a different matter.

We pile into Nick’s truck with Angie and Kelly and take the 1 minute drive up the hill.  Nick gives a toast to us and Angie and Kelly (they have just done a 4500-mile nightmare boat delivery) for all coming back safely.  He doesn’t give us a didgeridoo recital tonight – a bit more practise is still required apparently although he has managed to get one note out which is progress!

P1080496 Photo:  Angie, Nick, Mike, Monica, me and Kelly at the Duck and Dive

P1080497 Photo:  Now you know why it’s the Duck and Dive!

We spend a lovely evening drinking wine, eating pizza and swapping stories of the sea.  We don’t make a late or drunken night of it though as we are off relatively early in the morning for Tortola.  However, we have been told that Rick is down and the bar and before retiring to Jeannius for the night, we make a quick detour to say hello.

27 April 2011

Virgin Gorda, BVI – 27/04/11

The wind is quite strong overnight and we bounce around a little in our slip but we still have a comfortable night.

In the morning, I finally see Nick – he was unwell yesterday and had been unable to come down to the dock to welcome us in like he wanted to.  It’s great to see this giant of a man and he is eager to see his didgeridoo that I bought for him in Darwin and which has travelled half way around the world with us.  Even Mike hasn’t seen it yet as it has been wrapped up and carefully stored for over 9 months.

Unwrapping it, he is delighted (thank goodness).  I had chosen a large one so that it will rest on the floor when Nick sits down to play it.  I had also chosen it for the smoothness of the wood, the very simple decoration and the fact that it had a good tone (as demonstrated by the salesgirl at the time).

It comes with instructions, and as Nick tries to get his head around breathing in and blowing raspberries at the same time, he decides that a bit of practise in private might be required!  Well at least it will make a good decoration if he never gets the hang of it!

Richard Branson’s huge catamaran, the Necker Belle, is berthed here at the moment, and at about 105 feet long, it dwarfs everything else in the marina.

P1080459 Photo:  The Necker Belle at Leverick Bay Marina

The day is spent doing really interesting stuff like cleaning toilets etc and tidying.  I really am a bit of a slut when at sea.  After all, there’s nothing like sticking your head over a toilet bowl and the small of bleach to make you feel sick even if you didn’t feel seasick before!  But all good things come to an end, and land means that I have no further excuse to ignore the housework.

Mike spends his day preparing computer number 3, the one that he bought in Richards Bay.  Although up and running, he has to try to make Outlook work on it so that he can get his e-mails and also transfer all his navigational software onto it.  As the USB port on the old one is slow, transferring anything is a tedious process.

We have arranged to eat on board Crazy Horse tonight, and while Matt prepares his chicken soup from scratch, makes corn bread and brownies, I trot up to the grocery store and manage to buy frozen tiger shrimp and a can of mango slices (the fresh ones are as hard as iron) and make tiger shrimp with mango mayonnaise as an appetiser.  I cook them at the last minute so that they are still warm when I take them over.

We have a lovely evening with them.  Marta joins us too and is once again great company.  Bill has put aside two bottles of very good Sauvignon Blanc that he bought in South Africa.  I feel very honoured and try not to drink the contents of both bottles!

P1080461 Photo:  Dinner on Crazy Horse – Bill, me, Mike, Marta, Rosemary and Matt

P1080467 Photo:  Marta and Matt

After dinner, Marta and Matt go back to the bar and I join them for a short while (all of us drinking water – really) before I decide that I really need my bed.

26 April 2011

Iles des Saintes to Virgin Gorda – 26/04/11

Well we get everything during the night except much sleep.  It’s noisy as the boat crashes through squalls and we both get woken up when not on watch.

There are yachts, quite a few container ships and tankers and more cruise ships than you can shake a stick at.  They are very confusing as they go round and round in circles, wasting time at sea, waiting for early morning when they can go into port.  Of course, we should have expected lots of these because it is prime cruise ship time and one of them is the P&O Aurora on its way from Tortola to St Martin and further down the Caribbean chain of islands.

We can see the haze of light as we pass St Croix, 30 miles to our west, then through the gloom of the grey early morning light, I can see rocky outcrops of land, the British Virgin Islands, starting to appear.

P1080440 P1080442 P1080443 P1080444 Photos:  Approaching the BVIs and a the wreck of a boat who took a short cut

We pass between Ginger Island and Round Rock, noting that the wreck of a ship which took a short cut between Round Rock and Fallen Jerusalem is still there, acting as a grim reminder of why you should need navigational charts!

Of course, once we are into the Sir Francis Drake Channel, the sky turns a nastier shade of grey and as we approach the anchorage outside of Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, the heavens open.  Mike slows the boat down to put off the evil moment when I will have to step out into the elements.

P1080453 P1080455 Photos:  Rain welcomes us back to the BVIs

Stripping off my clothes down to my knickers I retrieve my waterproof jacket from Mike (which just covers my bum) and venture out to put the anchor down while Mike sits in the relative dry of the cockpit.  Luckily it sets first time.

Poor Mike then has to get in the dinghy and go off to customs and immigration to check in.  $78 dollars it costs to do this (and we later find out that someone else was only charged $46).  For what?

We motor round to Leverick Bay and as we approach the marina I can see that our welcome committee is there – Monica and Angie are standing on the dock with a red carpet for us – well a red towel actually but who’s splitting hairs!  We get tied up with help from David who gives me a big hug, then I walk up the ‘carpet’ and get a huge huge hug from them both.

P1080456 P1080458 Photos:  Getting the red carpet treatment at Leverick Bay Marina

They both have to rush back to work, Angie to Necker Belle, Richard Branson’s huge catamaran, and Monica to run the office, but no sooner have they gone than Crazy Horse arrive and we are there to take their lines.

They come on to our boat for a drink and I make rather strong Dark and Stormies for Mike, Bill and Matt while Rosemary and I share a bottle of SB, before Matt and I head off to the Jumbies Bar.  There we meet the lovely Marta, a young writer/photographer from Spain who is now living in Puerto Rico but who comes regularly to the BVIs to engage in one of her hobbies, kite sailing.

Suddenly it seems a good idea to get in the dinghy and go and watch her friends engaged in this sport.  Well it seems a good idea to Matt although Marta and I have second thoughts once we are a couple of hundred yards out into the bay.  The sea is choppy and we are going into the waves and the wind, flying up and landing with bumps every few seconds.  I end up sitting very uncomfortably on the gas tank, having slithered off the side of the dinghy.  However, watching her friends skip across the waves and fly into the air on their kites is exciting although with my non-affinity with the water, it’s not something that I would ever do.  After half an hour or so, the sky turns an ominous black colour and the wind starts to pick up.  Being less adventurous than Matt I start indicating that we should go.  The ride back is slightly less wet although we do get rained on just as we approach the marina.

The evening is spent with Rosemary and Bill, sharing pizza.  Matt stays at the bar for the evening with Marta – I don’t know how he has the stamina to continue.  All I know is that my neck is killing me from the bouncing around on the dinghy, and I want my bed having only had three hours of sleep last night.


Our position is:  18 deg 29 min N, 64 deg 23 min W

Distance so far:  25048 nautical miles

25 April 2011

Iles des Saintes to Virgin Gorda – 25/04/11

It’s a bumpy old night but we both manage to sleep.  We sail with just the genoa and by the morning the sea has calmed down a lot and the motion of the boat is back to being pleasant.  I find the last hour of my watch quite hard in that I am sleepy and have to lie down with the alarm clock set at 15 minute intervals.  Luckily Mike wakes early and I escape back to bed, waking up just before midday.

We trundle all day with the weather and sea getting progressively worse.  We get absolutely soaked around teatime by a cloud that just opens and tips its contents on us while the sky all around it remains blue.  While we are in the middle of it, it appears that evening has come early as it gets so grey and dark.  It’s an amazing sight when you can see them coming and can’t do anything about it but wait for it to hit.

P1080422P1080417 P1080419 Photos:  The clouds arrive, do their stuff and leave

P1080434 P1080435 Photos:  Our last sunset at sea for some time and more squalls arriving

By early evening there are nasty squalls all around and it’s only a matter of time before a bad one finally gets us.  I am in bed, having been awake for two hours but trying to get to sleep when I hear the sudden roar of the wind and the deluge of rain.  I lie there for a minute trying to ignore it but my conscience gets the better of me and I get up and ask Mike if he needs any help with the sails.  He doesn’t but I hang around for a little while until the squall has passed then go to bed and fall asleep.


Our position is:  17 deg 49 min N, 64 deg 10 min W

Distance so far:  25006 nautical miles

24 April 2011

Iles des Saintes to Virgin Gorda, BVI – 24/04/11

We are leaving today and starting our 240 mile sail to the British Virgin Islands but first there’s some shopping to be done.  I want the top I tried on yesterday and there’s a couple of things I forget to put on my very small shopping list.

We presume that the shops won’t be open until about 10 am so we get the boat ready for leaving and make sure the up to date blog is posted.  It rained quite heavily overnight and the sky still looks overcast and somewhat threatening until around the time we are about to get in the dinghy then the sky clears and the sun comes out, fit to burn.  I can’t be bothered with the nasty cream again so go out with a sarong around my shoulders.

The clothes shop I want is the only one that doesn’t seem to open at 10 am.  Typical.  We do our other bits of shopping, the heat increasing all the time then hang around, moving from bit of shade to bit of shade until 11 am.  I promise Mike that if she doesn’t open at 11 am we will leave it.  For once he is quite content to wait as he actually doesn’t want to leave this lovely place.

Although it’s a Sunday, in high season it is buzzing, and people are out and about in the cafes, shops and at the little beach.  Hobie cats are being got ready for pleasure cruising – I can’t believe that the first time Mike ever got me on a boat almost 30 years ago was on one of these little things.

P1080400 Photo:  Brightly coloured hobie cat being prepared for the day’s sail

Eventually, at just past 11 am the shop opens.  I have had to pacify Mike a little with a double caramel magnum ice cream – even he has his limits for waiting around – but it works a treat and I get my new top.

We walk slowly back to the town dinghy dock, taking in the smells and colours all around us to keep us going until the next time we come.

P1080404 P1080397 P1080398 P1080406 P1080408 P1080409 Photos:  Lots of colour and traditional buildings – that’s Bourg des Saintes in a nutshell

We get the dinghy back to Jeannius, both getting wet because there are so many ferries and small craft that are criss-crossing the anchorage that the waves are breaking all over the place and immediately pull up the dinghy and the anchor and head for open sea, just half an hour later than planned – not bad.

As we cross the channel between Les Saintes and Guadeloupe, a huge racing trimaran crosses in front of us going really fast, about 12 knots in very light winds.  We wonder whether he is practising for Antigua race week.

P1080413 Photo:  Racing trimaran

The wind starts to pick up shortly after and we get the sails up but unfortunately, our lovely sail is short-lived – after about an hour the wind all but disappears (it goes down to about 3 knots – more a  sigh than actual wind) and we come almost to a stop – just 1.5 knots.  On with the engine again!

We continue to motor sail up the west coast of Guadeloupe, current building against us and wind on the nose.  This is not what I had expected from these seas.  The sea starts to change in the late afternoon, and my cockpit lazing is cut short by a rogue wave which comes over the starboard side and soaks me.  I am not amused and my camera, which has been sitting on the table, narrowly escapes a dose of salt water.  By 6 pm when I am talking on the SSB to Rosemary from Crazy Horse and Sandro from Lady Lisa, it is continuing to get worse.  The wind whips up to 25-28 knots and we start to race along, so much so that we have to take the main down and just go with the genoa.  The seas become more and more uncomfortable as waves slam into us.  Oh boy, this is like open ocean stuff and this part of the Caribbean is not what I consider to be open (even though technically it is).

We shut ourselves in the salon for the evening with the air conditioning on, amazed that we have so quickly become unused to these type of weather conditions, having been away from ocean cruising for a whole two to three weeks.  We had become land lubbers already without even realising it.


Our position is:  16 deg 28 min N, 62 deg 35 min W

Distance so far:  24886 nautical miles

23 April 2011

Iles des Saintes – 23/04/11

We are both awake fairly early so after making pancakes for breakfast (have to use up all the food no matter how fattening it is!), at just gone 9 am, we take the dinghy over to town to try to check in at the gendarmerie behind the Mairie.  The gendarme says ‘non’.  Well actually, that’s not quite true.  The gendarme doesn’t actually say anything because once again, there’s no one there.  What are you supposed to do when you arrive in these islands – stay on your boat for 5 days until they open again?  Well, probably but bugger that.  I’m sure the island’s patrons prefer us off the boat and spending money.

We then walk to the hairdressers and try to book me an appointment for today.  Last time I came and had my hair done here the place was empty but today it is buzzing.  There’s a guy there who takes my booking and looking up and down at his somewhat ghastly shirt and socks with crocs, I hope he’s not doing my hair as he obviously has no sense of style.  I leave with the information that I need to return at 3.30 pm and my wash and cut will cost me 23.30 euros.  He has rattled it off so quickly in French though at it could be costing me 330 euros and I need to be there at 11.30 pm.  I presume the former is true and leave to find Mike.

We walk around town for a little bit, somewhat aimlessly, then go back to the boat.  It’s so hot that I disappear to bed with the fan on and actually fall asleep for an hour or so.  When I wake up it’s almost time for the second fattening session of the day (as if I need any extra fat) – bacon sandwiches.

At what I take to be the appointed time, Mike takes me over to the town dock and I walk in the blistering heat once again to the hairdressers.  It is full.  I sit down regretting that I didn’t bring anything to read as all the magazines are in French but at least I have my glasses (to read my French phrase book if anything gets too technical) so I can look at the pictures.

They are running behind – a lot behind – and I wait for well over 40 minutes before being ushered into hair wash station by the guy which fills me with a little trepidation as he appears to be the barber but so far the woman is showing no interest in me at all.  I have my hair rather too enthusiastically washed and then am ordered to one of the chairs where I am ignored while he goes back to his barbering.  Then the lady approaches and it turns out she is doing my hair, thank goodness.  For the most part, the cut is good.  A little gets lost in the translation about the slightly longer twiddley bits at the sides but basically I can live with that – my hair grows so quickly that they’ll be back before I get home.

I go shopping with the left over euros but only find one thing that I really like.  There’s no changing room – one has to stand in the corner of the shop and strip off (in the part of the room that seems to sell men’s clothes, which is a little disconcerting).  I do it all so quickly that I decide I don’t want it, changing my mind once I am back in the dinghy that I do.  Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow when I’m thinner.

There is a beautiful sunset again tonight but a rather garishly painted catamaran has the audacity to park right across it so my photos are of the town instead.

P1080388 P1080390 Photos:  Bourg des Saintes in the reflected light of the sunset

During the evening it absolutely throws it down with rain although there’s no real wind with the deluge, thank goodness.  I remember the day our anchor dragged half way across the bay in a night time squall some years ago and only stopped when the anchor got caught on one of the old hurricane chains that still lay on the sea bed.

Tomorrow we head for the BVIs (unless Mr Change Your Mind Daily decides otherwise!).

22 April 2011

Iles des Saintes – 22/04/11

We sleep well and wake up refreshed.  It is a beautiful day and by late morning we have ourselves together enough to venture into town to get a few provisions and attempt to check in.  Now I know it is Good Friday but you’d think there might be one gendarme around.  Do criminals not work on public holidays in this neck of the woods?  Ah well, their loss.  Our pile of euros stays in Mike’s wallet instead of handing it over as a check-in fee, until tomorrow that is.  The hairdresser’s is also closed but the sign indicates it is always closed on Fridays so I presume and hope that it will be open again tomorrow.

We wander around town.  I have been a good girl and slathered myself in revolting factor 50 sun cream after the burnt zebra episode last week, so in the heat, my face, neck and chest quickly become disgustingly slippy slidy – I hate the stuff.

We walk down to the restaurant that we are booked into tonight and check that stuffed pig’s feet are still on the menu.  They are and Mike beams with delight, licking his lips in anticipation.  Bless!

P1080373 P1080374 Photos:  Views of and from the beach at Ti kaz’la

The main supermarket that we remembered from last time has now closed down and it takes time, patience and four shops to get all the provisions from the very small list that I have prepared but all the fresh stuff is of good quality, grown locally from people’s gardens.

I don’t know why I love it here so much.  There’s nothing outstanding about the place at all.  It’s just so … nice.  I’ve never been here in high season before and it’s very much more crowded than I am used to, but it still has a gentle, calm feel about it.  It’s very, very pretty and colourful, provisioning is acceptable (although don’t come here if you need boat stuff).  The beaches are ordinary but then after some of the beaches we have been to they would have to be spectacular to win on that point.  It’s French so it’s not cheap either.  I think it’s just still just a hidden surprise, as far as most Europeans and Americans are concerned.  The majority of tourists here seem to be French coming on day trips from Guadeloupe just a few miles away (given the way the ferries are packed to bursting).

We buy one of the bright tablecloths in one of the local madras fabrics for the boat.  I buy one big enough to cut out napkins from it too.  I have been meaning to do this each time I have come here and with the table looking so nice now it has become a necessity.

P1080407 Photo:  Madras tablecloths galore – I buy the fabric on the far right

P1080376 Photo:  The waterfront, Bourg des Saintes

We decide to just eat the pineapple for lunch so we really have an appetite for tonight.  It’s so hot, neither of us is particularly hungry anyway.

Just as we are getting ready to go out in the evening it starts to rain so I grab my fashion statement waterproof jacket.  In Day-Glo yellow and blue, it is the perfect accompaniment to any outfit but who gives a toss if it keeps my hair dry and stops me getting a wet bum from the dinghy.

We are first to arrive in the restaurant.  We have spent so long eating with Americans that we have forgotten that the rest of us tend to go out later in the evening.  Still, it means that there will be pigs’ trotters galore for us, but unfortunately that is not the case.  The first thing the pleasant waitress says is that pigs’ feet are off.  Mike nearly cries and the waitress looks uncomfortable for a while as she thinks he is going to throw a wobbly.  Mike asks if they will be available tomorrow and she goes off to beg the chef but comes back saying that they take too long to prepare.  It is obviously a dish which is only available when trade is slower.  However, their wonderful beef Carpaccio is available and we are able to choose other dishes which are good but just not what we really want.  I can’t even have the dessert I want because if you want the mango soufflĂ© you have to order it when you order your starter and main.  It says this in small writing on the dessert page.  Who the hell reads that when they are ordering their first two courses?  Well, obviously people who have been here before.  As the restaurant fills up, I watch three soufflĂ©s being carried out from the kitchen, looking very nice too.  I hope that the chef will relent after the pigs’ trotter episode, but he is French and very definitely says ‘non’.  I contend myself with white chocolate ice cream smothered in Chantilly cream.  Very non-fattening.

P1080381 Photo:  Mike and I at Ti kaz’la

In between courses, I get a bit arty farty with my camera like Moe and Bob do.  It’s the first time I have really fiddled with night exposure, camera wise anyway, but the effects are not quite what I hope for, but practise will perfect I am sure (well that and reading the dreaded manual).

P1080379 Photo:  I need to understand more about exposure!

It rains hard while we are eating but luckily has stopped by the time we get back to the dinghy although there’s a good couple of inches in the bottom which Mike has to bale out before I get in.

21 April 2011

Martinique to Iles des Saintes – 21/04/11

In the middle of the night Mike decides not to stay another day in St Pierre and sets the alarm for 5 am.  We get the anchor up and slip out as the sun starts to come up, noticing that Wild Tigris leave about half an hour after us but overtake us easily with their much bigger engine.

P1080329 P1080333 Photos:  Leaving St Pierre at sunrise

It’s a day for motor sailing although I don’t really think that the main gives us any help at all.  At one point we have two knots of current against us and have to use both engines to power us along, burning through gallons of diesel no doubt.

The sea is dead flat calm and there are only a few other yachts around.  We leave Martinique and after a few miles of open sea, start to pass the wild and lush green coastline of Dominica.

P1080341 Photo:  Dominica

The wind situation doesn’t change at all and at 4.30 pm we turn right out of the Caribbean Sea and into the channel between the Iles des Saintes, past the windmills on Terre d’en Bas and the conspicuous rock, Pain a Sucre, then into the town anchorage of Terre d’en Haut.  It’s beautifully familiar as we have been here for down island trips as well as wonderful holidays with Johanne and Steve.

P1080343 Photo:  The town of Bourg des Saintes

Mike reckons that the best meal he has ever eaten was here at the restaurant Ti Kaz’la (beef carpaccio followed by stuffed pig’s trotters).  We watch through the binoculars to see if the shutters come up tonight.  Neither of us is hungry enough to go out for a good meal, preferring to go tomorrow night.  However, being Easter weekend we are not sure whether it will be open then so immediately I see the shutters up, I am on the phone reserving a table for tomorrow as, wonderful news, they tell me they will be open.

P1080345 Photo:  Anchor down with Guadeloupe in the background

Sitting in the cockpit, the setting sun puts on one of the most amazing displays.  The sky lights up in different hues of blue, yellow, orange and eventually bright red.  The reflection on the water makes it look like we are anchored in a sea of blood.  It is extraordinarily beautiful.  Mother Nature is amazing.  I actually film it as well as take photographs as the scene changes before my eyes because then I can prove that I didn’t fiddle with the colours.

P1080348 P1080355 P1080359 P1080364P1080369 Photos:  An amazing sunset changes before our eyes

We eat dinner on board and watch a little Ab Fab before retiring, my head still full of the colours of the sunset.


Our position is:  14 deg 44 min N, 61 deg 10 min W

Distance so far:  24821 nautical miles