by Lucy Gilliam
We arrived in Martinique on Victory day, a national holiday in France celebrating the end of WWII, which also happens to be the anniversary of the last volcanic eruption in Martinique in 1902. Our port of call in Martinique was the Port de Plaisance of Marin, a small town dominated by the yacht and charter boat industry. Much of the town was shut and the thundery squalls led us to do what any sensible person would do, find a bar!
Mine is a Ti Punch please!
The following day we paid a visit to the local market stocked full of delicious fruits, pepper sauces and spices to replenish our supplies before heading to the local ‘Trois Rivières’ rum distillery.
Trois Rivières produces high quality agricole rum produced directly from sugar grown on the island. The rum has been awarded the prestigious French “appellation d’origine contrôlée” quality designation.
The grounds of the distillery was buzzing with wildlife. The estate is intersected by 3 rivers and the boggy grounds were covered in little crabs. We also spotted a number of crazy looking caterpillars and lizards.
After our whistlestop tour and tasting we headed back to the ship ready to cast off to St Martin.
As we returned the heavens opened drenching us to the skin which made it difficult to load our cargo.
It took approximately 40 hours to sail to St Martin. On route we passed Dominica, Guadeloupe and Montserrat.
Hope to visit them next time…
We passed Montserrat just as the sun was setting. The sky a roaring fire engulfing the island.
We approached St Martin at dawn the following day. For the good ship Irene, returning to St Martin is a momentous occasion. Irene caught fire and sank in Marigot bay in 2003. We moored up in Fort Louis and discovered that we had arrived in time for a Maritime festival, and that the harbour was being prepared for a stream of visitors. Immediately orders were dispatched to clear the decks and hoist the flags.
We are in St Martin for a week as we prepare for our Atlantic crossing back to Europe. There are repairs to be made to the rigging, ropes to be replaced and provisioning. On the crossing to the caribbean the spreaders cracked and we had to remove the top mast, flying jib and part of the rigging.
Monday 8am sharp. Tools at the ready!
We also need to prepare ourselves mentally as crew for the crossing home. The return crossing is likely to be much tougher. The weather is far less predictable and often the seas are far more choppy…
Our next stop is Bermuda briefly, before crossing via the Azores. Irene has been booked for a Tall Ship festival in Bayonne, France. This means we will be sailing to France before heading home to Bristol. Another Bay of Biscay crossing… Yikes!
Better get my sea legs ready…