Friday morning and we were up bright and early…… Headed into Cafe Ole for our final breakfast; went into the marina office to pay our bill; and then into customs and immigration to check out for Saturday. All jobs done….and back to Morphie.
We didn’t have any help on the dock but I managed to reverse Morphie out into the channel without leaving Richard behind on the dock! Success…. and now we headed to the fuel dock. As we are coming in the dock guys were busy with others…so we shouted at them that we would go around again to give them time to get ready to receive us. So we are doing a 360 and suddenly a Danish yacht turned up and started to go inside of us. After a few minutes of yelling and pointing he realised what we were up to and gave us room… So now lining up nicely to the dock and suddenly a dinghy appears in front of our bow to tie to the dock, right where we were planning to be….. Richard used some working class language to let them know of his strength of feelings and they decided to move away rather than be run down. Phew….so stressful all this! Finally refuelled with both diesel and petrol….. and we head out into the bay.
In the bay we struggled initially to get our anchor set …. so moved to another spot. This time we found sand first time and the anchor set….and then the chain jammed into the windlass. So we couldn’t pick up or drop more… Was a bit worried about the strain on the windlass taking the whole weight of the boat so we managed to manhandle and snub the line while we had a look to see what had happened. Well it was jammed solid…. so we turned the power off to the windlass while we investigated. Finally after some brute strength combined with some pretty ingenious moves in a very small space, Richard had it working again and reassembled. My hero! So we dropped more chain, backed down, picked some up to check it all worked properly and then finally, happy, we snubbed ready for the night. The time is now getting on and it’s about 2.00 pm…. and we were starting to wonder where Evensong had got to. Well about 3.30 pm we decided they weren’t coming – and I was a bit concerned about them – so tried to hail them on the VHF. They were too far away, as it turned out, so were unable to pick us up. Oh well… no bobbing for us today then as dink and the outboard remain on the rail ready for our passage to the Saintes. Never mind…. we decided to just sit on the transom of Morphie with our feet in the water, cold beer in hand (the first for a few days) and enjoyed the panoramic views of Rodney Bay while watching the sun go down. And so to bed – early.
Saturday morning we have had our breakfast and are getting ready to pick up our anchor when we hear Evensong hailing us on the radio. They were stuck in the Piton anchorage because the driver failed to pick Dan, Andy and Kristin up from their hike up one of the Pitons…. and by the time they got back it was too late to come on round. Phew…at least they were safe! So we head out as they head in, around 10.15 – and we briefly sailed parallel to shout greetings and farewells…. Felt sad…..
Getting the sails up we moved out fast and shot across the St Lucia to Martinique channel very quickly averaging 7.5 to 8 knots…. although we did experience a 60 degree wind shift when we got to Martinique near Fort de France so the wind that was on our back was now on our nose! Typical…. but we were able to continue sailing our course. We enjoyed the mountainous views at the top of the island and watching other sailors enjoying the fantastic conditions. Blue seas combined with blue skies, 4-6 feet seas and 15 knots of breeze. And a huge moon came up early too….
Getting close to the Martinique to Dominica channel and the sun is starting to set. And we have dolphins! Not many, quite small ones, but very very close to our stern and gave us both a real boost….
My solo shift starts at 6pm for three hours so as we head into the channel I’m on my own, with Richard sleeping down below. Great…. the winds pick up to 25 knots sustained, the seas are bigger and more confused and I have a tanker bearing down on me, a cruise ship running alongside, a big motor boat that (thankfully) decides to go behind my stern…. But all hazards were avoided and we were still sailing hard….. Really enjoyed it…and, of course, Richard comes up for his shift and the wind has calmed down back to 18 knots. Typical!!!!
We arrive at Scotts Head – the southerly point of Dominica – by 11pm that night. Ooops… that was a bit earlier than planned, as we wanted to whale watch in day light along the middle to north coast of Dominica, looking out for that pod of sperm whales we know lives there… So we decided to reduce sail and slow down…. and then, of course, the wind died to 5 knots. But we carried on – even though we were only going 1.5 knots ourselves – and enjoyed the sloooowwwww sail until the wind died completely once we had passed Roseau and we had to put the engine on. Oh well…. Motor sailing along at around 3 knots we continued with our shift pattern of three hours on / three hours off until sunrise. And guess what?!? We were entertained by the most beautiful pod of large dolphins under our bow who were playing, looking at us, jumping, and generally swimming along having fun… They stayed with us quite a while so we had some good photo opportunities. What an amazing start to a day. Enjoy the pictures!
Moving past Portsmouth we rounded the top of Dominica and the wind and waves picked up again…. a bit swelly but only 18-20 knots of breeze. Fantastic conditions. Had a wonderful sail and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We pulled into Terre de Haut, Iles des Saintes, at around 10.15 am. So a 24 hour sail in the end – covering 112 miles.
We picked up a mooring ball easily, cleaned up, put up the quarantine flag and retired to our bed for a few hours. During this time we heard someone knocking on the hull but we just turned over! Later on we went ashore – taking boat papers just in case the clearance place was open – and enjoyed a couple of cold beers before heading back to Morphie. Of course, clearance is not possible in a French island on a Sunday!
Monday morning up early as we were awakened at 7.30 am by the guy who collects the mooring fees! This must have been who had been knocking on our hull the previous afternoon….. We headed into the clearance place and found ourselves in a long queue. Ahead of us was Arnd from Zanshin – who we had last met in the BVI around 2011 when we all went onboard Namaste for sundowners – which was then being chartered by Kristine and Doug. What a small world! Unfortunately he was only checking in to move north so we were not able to spend any time with him….but great to catch up if only for a short while.
The rest of the morning we wandered around this sleepy place looking at a few shops, enjoying a typical French breakfast, buying a couple of things – particularly cheese, pate and bread! – and enjoyed watching the pelicans waiting for the fishermen, just outside the brand new fish market. This place is absolutely beautiful and we are pleased to be back….
Monday afternoon – having cleaned all the salt off of Morphie from her latest passage – we had an afternoon bobbing session in our chairs and then enjoyed the moody sunset, early dinner and another early night. We were hoping to get up to watch the lunar eclipse at around 3 am but unfortunately it was very cloudy and poured with rain most of the night. Typical – no rain for ages either.
Tuesday (today) we are having a lazy day on board although we have a list of boat jobs to do too…… Tomorrow we are hoping to hire an electric buggy to tour the island – something we didn’t do last year. Looking forward to that.
Bye for now