Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sailing Season Fall 2016-Spring 2017 Grenada, Martinique, Guadeloupe & Antigua

Another wonderful Caribbean winter beginning with professional launching crew at Spice Island, Prickley Bay, Grenada which we have enjoyed since 2008? As usual, we take some time recommissioning and acclimating to change in temperature, enjoying Cool Runnings Apartments.  But time moves on, and it is time to relocate to a more central area to our preferred sailing grounds.  

We have decided to haul out in Jolly Harbour, Antigua this year and enjoy more of the northern leeward islands.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." 

--Neale Donald Walsch

  Installing new wind meter.

Our weather doesn't compare to that which Cape Breton is experiencing now, but we have a new appreciation for lightening and squalls.  We were lucky to have been at sea overnight between St. Vincent and St. Lucia.  Many boats at anchor were severely damaged when 40plus knot winds changed 180 degrees with torrential rain.  We were lightly canvassed and only suffered minor damage.

A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” 

― Grace Murray Hopper

Charlotte D did have some record breaking speeds with of course some brisk trade winds.

Our supplies replenished, minor repairs, hiking & now time to play; visits with FOD friends in St. Anne, Martinique.  

The weather man is always correct; just unsure of which day (sooner or later)....Denis Webster, Friends of Denis, Founder meteorologist.

We always enjoy FOD companions and have frequent meetings with agendas.

We continued on to Les Saintes, Guadeloupe where we enjoyed a quiet December.  Our French  is slowly improving with more exposure.  We did note that the Guadeloupe residents are able to learn English much easier!

We left Les Saintes for Ilet du Gosier to meet our dear friend, Inga from New Hampshire.  We are always impressed with the early morning swimmers there and Inga enjoyed floating in the ocean, playing the fiddle and eating delicious Island cuisine.

Inga is quite a fiddler and of course we enjoyed the music she provided.  She has introduced me to different types from her jams in New England.

"Heaven, wrote Thoreau, is under our feet".  In the Good Good Pig, Sy Montgomery.

We left for St. Anne for more delicious beaches, nourishment and people watching, visiting Club Med and some short hikes.  We enjoyed dinner with FOD friends Dorothy & Fred on SV Aviva and learned of some anchorages in Pointe a Pietre. 

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” 

— Eleanor Roosevelt

 Inga and Catherine visited the new "ACTe" Museum, a MUST visit.  We were provided with English audio tour in an unbiased, creative, multi multimedia presentation commemorating Slavery which exits still today worldwide.

QUO FATA FERUNT-Whatever the fates decree".  Don Branford, 

Enjoying Cruising Under Sail Cruising is a "way of life" combining living aboard, sailing away from home waters, with neither set timetable nor itinerary, doing "whatever the fates decree", and doing it for pleasure
And the battery saga never seems to be simply resolved!

The main bank's 2 year old "Lifeline" batteries decided to give up rather suddenly requiring replacement while at Pointe a Pietre.  We elected to rent a car to help move the batteries.  .

After the battery change, we were able to see parts of Guadeloupe new to us,  Case a Ferdinand is family owned by a fisherman/chef in Anse Bertrand provided a delicious lion fish dinner with sauce Bois de 'inde (alspice) . Out of this  world! Much more time is needed to explore Guadeloupe.

 There was a 3 day minimum rental, a sweet 2017 Fiat, which was required to be "clean inside and out" on return (somewhat unusual).

As usual, unexpected events transpire which required attention.  This year, we had to replace the Yamaha outboard engine impeller, change the faucets in the galley, head sinks and showers, crashed bank batteries, and solar panel fatigue and failure of our refrigerator to keep cool.  Our new faucets were made in Italy.....maybe they will last a bit longer.

 We did make time for many walks while in Les Saintes.  We were impressed with the new exercise equipment provided but prefer hiking any of the many beaches.  

One of our favourite hikes is to Chameau.

We enjoyed the holiday specialty meals.  Our readers comment they enjoy seeing some French delicacies!  My favourite is Noix St. Jacques, sampled in several of our favourite restaurants, of which there are plenty. 

Another of our favourites, Ti Kaz La and their version of Noix St. Jacques.

Boulabaise at the Pirates Galley, Marina de Baie de Plaisance (above), and Tapas for Deux, Embarquedera, Les Saintes (below).

Tou Lou Lou Salad in Capesterre, Marie Galante

As busy as we were, we always made time for French delicacies!  We always enjoy the ambience and food at Saladerie.

We discovered Terre de Bas by taking a short ferry from Terre de Haut.  It is clean, quiet, and relaxing.  We plan to return for more hiking.    

After Inga returned via Norwegian Air to the cold north, we returned once again to St. Anne, positioning ourselves for a beautiful sail to Baie de St. Louis, Marie Galante where we met our returning St. Augustine friends and university friend, Marian and David, arriving by J Ferry

Marian brought me some materials to make new shades for our salon. 

Not very inconvenient for us and our visitors, we were no longer able to keep our refrigeration system cool.  This was replaced in Antigua and should be good for another 14 years.


Our friends, Dawn and Laurie were nice enough to share some of their delicious 54 inch dorade  caught while attempting to visit the island of Petite Terre.  Dawn's "Incredible Fish Marinade and Batter Recipe were much appreciated! 

We had a lovely sail to Baie-de-Saint Louis in Marie Galante to meet our friends Marian and David. 

After a car tour of Marie Galante,  which included the Bielle rhum distillery, the Grand Gouffre, Habitation Murat and Tou Lou Lou.

We sailed back to Les Saintes and found all moorings occupied for several days and had to anchor in the overflow area along with more than 20 others.  It seems the best approach is to occupy a vacant mooring with a fender, then make your way for it.

We all hiked to Fort Napoleon which has an incredible Museum of Naval Battles between the French and English.  David salutes the British Warship, Invincible.  And of course, we wanted to show off our favorite restaurants!

We had frequent Happy Hours with FOD cruising friennds while making new friends.  We celebrated Carbodeaux. Our Halifax friends, Michelle and Al, on Tarantella hosted a Happy Hour one day as did we on another.  We all visited Mambo's for poulet Colombo pizza with poise vert.

We said farewells to our great friends and set sail for Antigua for more repairs and decommissioning.  Falmouth and English Harbour was much nicer than our previous experience and we enjoyed several hikes to Forts George and Berkeley, and relaxing in Catherine's Plage Cafe. 

We were pleased with the rigging provided by Antigua Rigging and enjoyed many a fine repast and many enjoyable days of debauchery.

We were introduced to Rum Babba by friends on SV Prism.....delicious!

Cloggy's Sunday Brunch

We turned around the corner to Jolly Harbour where we were seriously into decommissioning but when the winds died, we elected to go direct to our villa and continued our decommissioning. We had several small jobs for the welder and were still awaiting the shipment of the solar panel and controllers. A funny thing happened on the way to the bank.

We enjoyed the “day of rest” on Sunday, and visited “Sheer Rocks” for a lunch of tapas and poolside.

 We enjoyed a weekend local regatta.

We enjoyed staying at a comfortable waterside villa while we decommissio ed, complete with a golf cart.

We decided to spend the next sailing season is to spend much more time exploring Antigua, Guadeloupe and Dominica.

Catherine & Peter
S/V Charlotte D
presently on the hard in Miami

When I was young I had no lack of dreams but often lacked the means to fulfill them. Now that I am older the means comes more easily but as I walked the beach this morning I realized, as the poet said, that I am quietly closing doors to rooms I will not much longer be able to return to. So one must do all one can do now, don't wait. Take chances, swim against the current at times, not always with it. Don't always seek shelter, walk in the thunderstorm. Now that I am older I find I regret less things I have done then things I did not do.

Michael Larsen