Monday, May 26, 2008

Where are we now?

Friday, May 23

We left Dominica around 6:am. Motor and main on the lee side of the island until we got to the corner. The white horses (white caps) were plainly in sight. Shall we reef? We considered beginning the day with a reef as we raised the main while on the mooring ball but reconsidered since the shape of the sail is so sloppy then. So full main we were as we rounded the point. The point is called Scott’s Head by the way. ‘nough said!

Scott's Head, Dominica - not to be confused with Scott's head and the rest of him, Enee Marie

So - the wind was more on the nose than we’d like and we compromised by motor sailing with full main and reefed (to the side stays) genny. Yes - the captain agreed to motor sailing. This was the only way to really get there and we had 50+ miles to go and we really wanted to get there. The crossing between the islands (Dominica and Martinique for those who are keeping track) was a sporty 25 miles. Once we passed the southern tip of Dominica we were able to pure sail to Martinique. Quite nicely. Although as we approached the southern island - maybe about 10 miles out - the wind was strong enough that the weather helm was really tugging. I’m still used to a tiller I suppose because the way I steer is to turn the wheel away from the wind and hold it there to stay on course. The holding it there doesn’t do it since we still go to windward and the wind always wins. I’m heading 20 degrees off my line and getting headed. The front sail is flogging and making a horrible sound - because I’m straight into the wind. Go figure!

We take turns at the helm. Two hours on two hours off. Except after this one particular hour I was swearing enough at the wind that Snappy took over. Maybe we should have let out the main for more comfort and control. We’re so used to sailing hard to the wind and easing the main sail often means loosing ground to your course. Anyway we held on to our course and finally made it to the tip of Martinique when suddenly the wind got turned off! Really!! It was like flipping a switch. No more tugging on the wheel. No more wind. In fact we had to put the motor on again to keep forward motion. What a difference.

We’re motor and main sailing down the coast of Martinique. Quite beautiful. At times all the islands seem the same because they all have volcanic mountains and beaches and palm tree. But at the same time each has it’s unique mountains and shorelines. We were arriving at yet another island country. But wait - here comes the wind again. This time it’s an on-shore breeze. Let the main tack over and pull out the genny - all the way. Nice easy beam reach now going 5+ knots. Sweet.

Mismo especially liked the calm, easy sail down the west coast of Martinique.

And then when we pass behind another volcanic mountain peak - no more wind. Motor main again. And so on and so on until we finally get to the bay at Fort du France. It’s a huge bay with a variety of anchorages. We chose Trois Islet (3 islands) because it was nice and secure from any weather of which we are suppose to get some high winds this coming week. However once maneuvering through the narrow and shallow channel (getting stuck twice!) we discover that the only boats anchored here are derelict - or at least nobody is on them and the housing on the shoreline doesn’t look so inviting either.

How about Anse Matin (14 33.7 N / 61 03.4 W) just around the corner.....where there is a big anchorage and a marina where you can check in for customs. We got the anchor down just before sunset (no green flash this time but we did see 2 consecutive flashes in Dominica!).

Whew. It was about 6:pm by the time we got our rum sundowners.
Mismo did the dance of joy. No photo of this. You'll have to use your imagination.

The anchorage at Anse Mitan. Enee is tucked in there somewhere.

Saturday, May 24
We checked in at the marina office. We do this by entering our passport numbers and boat information into a computer and print out 2 copies. That's it! Then on to explore the town. A bit touristy but cold beer non the less. Of course this is a French island and so the first restaurant we went to did have free wifi with a purchase (we had coffee) but would only serve us beer if we sat at a different table. We left. The second restaurant had free wifi but not during lunch hours so after using the internet for 1 hour, we left. There’s suppose to be internet at the laundromat that’s closed on Sundays (today). I’ll check that out on Monday.

Today I bought an orange-caraibe wifi card. It’s suppose to work around town. After going to two different places on shore neither have worked so far. Sitting at a table in the restaurant connected to the marina right now and no go with the wifi. And no one has asked me if I want anything to drink or eat as yet. It’s been 30 minutes. Today’s mother’s day here and they are a bit busy. No problem. I would just ask them why the internet doesn’t work anyway. Although I’d probably have another Lorraine. We like Lorraine. How can you not like a beer named after your middle name. Sue’s not Scott’s.

Ok. Here’s the story. The laundry run by a very helpful and friendly lady did have washers and dryers and one pc but not wifi. That’s ok. There is wifi at the restaurant by our marina. And I’ve just discovered that I can get the internet on the boat - usually. No problemo. However while I was waiting for the laundry lady to open this morning I walked back to the store where I bought my orange cariabe card yesterday. To my surprise I was ‘told’ (me speaking english and gesturing; the guy behind the counter speaking french and really gesturing) that I bought a cell phone card not an internet card. Who knew. He did give me my money back though. Which was nice.

Maybe we can get the video to work that I took on our sporty sail over. Let’s give it a try.
Click on the black arrow to start the video.


Jim Zeller said...

Hi Scott and Sue,

I am nosey. Would you mind answering my question of - How much money do you spend per month? Just curious how much one needs to enjoy this Caribe lifestyle.

Jim Zeller

Scott said...

In a way you never have enough money as there's always something you'd like for the boat. In terms of day to day living you have a lot of control over your finances. You can choose(usually) to just stay on the boat for days maybe and not go ashore and spend money. For day to day living we spend about $1000 - $1500 a month. That's for food, fuel, booze, kitty litter, etc. People do it on less though I think.