Thursday morning we were up and about pretty early and headed out in our little car – this time into the interior around the bottom half of the island. First stop was a lookout place called Morne Gommier which had amazing 360 degree panoramic views… This was a pretty enterprising local lady who had built concrete steps and a viewing platform high above her house along with a little bar and a pretty selection of plants – and charged €2 for the privilege of climbing up to see the views. You know what – good luck to her – it was worth every penny !!!
Coming down we decided to cut across inland following a little road on the map….well, guess what, we found the vertical climbs again reminiscent of Dominica and we even ran out of tarmac. Our little hire car was really not built for this and there were a few hairy moments when the occasional car came the other way and Richard had to resort to first gear just to stop us sliding backwards. But despite all that it was great fun – and we did see some goats and those really pretty (but skinny) cows. As a bonus, we even ended up where we thought we would….
Back on the Atlantic coast we followed a road towards a range of beaches – driving for about 20 minutes down a dirt track – and suddenly, out of nowhere, was a selection of villas some of which were occupied, others padlocked firmly shut whilst many were only building shells…..and all just plonked there in the middle of nowhere…with no facilities of any description. Wondered whether these are holiday places rather than residential homes, but even so??? It was all a bit strange to be honest. Eventually we ended up finding the beaches but we didn’t hang around for long…. instead we headed back towards our end of the island.
Driving around we really enjoyed the sights and sounds of Martinique with luscious greenery, colourful planted verges on the main roads and the complete contrast between three-lane motorways and concrete / dirt tracks. One of the things that really stood out though was the huge amount of unfinished housing construction around…. difficult to tell whether this was a housing boom and bust or just a boom…. but with the lack of building activity and/or materials I suspect the former. And you had to feel for the people who were living in their new apartments next to shells of others that hadn’t been completed. Oh well I guess the economic downturn has hit everywhere….. Another long tiring day so back on board for a quiet night.
Friday morning we returned the car – although we frustratingly had to wait 25 minutes for them to open the office – clearly on island time!!! Then off to get some last minute fresh provisions and into the marina office to check out of Martinique with customs for our next destination…. Decided that we would rather jump off from Sainte Anne than Marin so picked up our hook and went around the corner…. Got a good set first time and enjoyed a swim off the back in nice water. Did a few boat jobs and then went ashore for sundowners…and bumped into Cutter Loose and Dragon’s Toy, fellow island packeteers… We haven’t seen Eric and Pat since Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands which seems like a lifetime ago now. Anyway, we enjoyed visiting with them for an hour or so and then went back on board to watch our final Martinique sunset – which didn’t let us down with gorgeous colours again…
Saturday morning we slipped out of Sainte Anne for our run down to St Lucia. Aurevoir Martinique….
We had an amazing reach – at last!!! – and the wind stayed in the low 20s all the way. Absolutely fantastic stuff…although a few large rogue waves hit us on the side…but we had a great time and made the 24 miles in four hours even though we were being swept away from our destination by the tide… Still no whales or dolphins though. Oh well, a girl can’t have everything!
Arrived at Rodney Bay marina, St Lucia – where we have booked a slip – and we can’t raise them on the VHF.So we ended up going through the narrow entrance, completely through the marina and eventually into the lagoon where we picked up a mooring ball. Dinked into the marina to find customs shut for lunch – but by the time we had sorted out our slip in the marina office they had reopened…. Bit laborious to say the least. Back to Morphie, slipped the mooring, and then proceeded to our slip. As we did this we realised that huge numbers of World Arc Rally boats had come in all parading loads of flags…. This is the destination for the end of the Arc – a 16 month circumnavigation – and we turned up just at the time they came in.. No wonder there was no-one answering the radio! Never mind – we are set now and Morphie enjoyed being tied up to a nice full-length pontoon for a change. And, as an aside, none of those horrible pilings either…..
Went ashore for a bite to eat – wow, the difference in price was staggering! So enjoyed a cheap meal and even cheaper beer – £1.50 a bottle here in St Lucia versus £4 in Martinique…. Think we are going to like it here – just as well as we are committed to staying quite a while as Mum is flying out on Thursday to join us here.. Really looking forward to seeing her….
Sunday we explored a little just to get a feel for the place – including having a look at Mum’s hotel and securing permission for us to use their facilities when she’s here – and went supermarket shopping again which had a great range of provisions, including baked beans…. I’m a happy camper now as my supply had been exhausted about a month ago…. Anyway, nice pool and jacuzzi – can see us spending some relaxing time here on our ‘family holiday’!
On the road between the shopping centre (which is near where dink gets tied up) and the hotel on Reduit beach there are loads and loads of different restaurants including Indian, Chinese, Steakhouses and numerous local hostelries…. Don’t think finding somewhere to dine is going to be a problem. Back in the marina we are getting some of the local guys to quote for giving Morphie a bit of a spruce up…. First quotes are hugely inflated and we resign ourselves to doing the work – but the second one is much more realistic (and affordable!) so that all starts on Tuesday.
Monday we do normal boat stuff including duty free shopping at the chandlery…. We caught up with internet stuff (although the marina signal is really weak and flaky)…. and I spoilt myself by having a massage in the spa. Really really good… During the course of the day we ended up being invited to an ‘end of dock’ party so I prepared some appetisers (this time it was breaded prawns and a sweet chilli dip) and we went along. Met loads of cruisers, had a really chilled evening even in the drizzly rain, and eventually returned to Morphie for a restful night’s sleep.
It’s now Tuesday and Vision has started work on Morphie… Richard is doing an oil change and I’m still indulging myself with internet catch ups and a much needed haircut. When I’ve posted this I’m heading back on board to do a spruce up of the internal stainless steel….
Bye for now