I returned to Martinique in late January and found Spellbinder in good condition after her Christmas stay in Le Marin. My new crew were Peter and Janet, old friends and themselves owners and accomplished sailors of a Hallberg Rassy 37, and they helped me prepare Spellbinder for her further travels.
In December I had set in train a number of post Atlantic crossing repairs – the mending of my bent spinnaker pole; fixing a leak on the high pressure side of the watermaker; repairs to our Parasailor downwind sail, and the replacement of the old Furuno radar with a new Raymarine Quantum model. I was delighted to find all had been done – chapeau Le Marin – and the first morning was spent gathering up bits and pieces (including transporting my newly repaired, and slightly shorter spinnaker pole by dinghy through a mangrove swap) and paying bills. By the afternoon of the first day we were away.
Over the first few days I re-discovered Martinique with Peter and Janet – Sainte Anne, Les Anses D’Arlet, Anse Noire and Saint Pierre, all of which are covered in the last post. We settled into a wonderfully relaxed rhythm of early morning tea, swims and short sails followed by more swimming or snorkeling, and sampling the various ‘Planteurs’ (rum punches) as we headed north.
First stop, St Anne, and a dinghy dock with sun loungers
Peter’s early morning swim given rainbow approval
More random beaches and sun downers. No green flash spotted yet though…
Another mellow evening with Spellbinder anchored in Anse Noire, my favourite bay in Martinique
We checked out of Martinique in Saint Pierre. The French have an excellent online self-declaration system and I was able to clear out Spellbinder and her crew at ‘Alsace à Kay’, a great Alsatian restaurant with apéritif in hand. The next morning we set sail for Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia to join the RYS cruise, which was gathering at Rodney Bay marina.
The RYS cruise took us down Saint Lucia to Marigot Bay, a wonderful little inlet where we had our first party. There then followed a series of stops in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and eventually in Grenada where the 10 day cruise ended. We came and went with the rally, sometimes doing our own thing but generally enjoying the organised events. Highlights were playing cricket in Bequia followed by a reception in Jack’s Bar, and the next day another party up in the hills in an ex-Prime Minister’s residence; a very privileged tour of Mustique, with a magnificent reception in a member’s house followed by a beach BBQ; lobster barbecued in Tobago Cays; a great long lunch in Petit Saint Vincent , and various other events, some impromptu and others organised, which together made for a very special 10 days. We spent most of our overnights at anchor. I had been encouraged to buy a barbecue for Spellbinder, and Peter put it to great use. I also had great fun flying the drone, where it was allowed, and took some great footage.
A lovely evening in Wallilabou, Saint Vincent, where we christened the barbecue
A high standard of cuisine continued
Cricket in Bequia…
…followed by a reception high up on the island
Anchored in Tobago Cays
Saltwhistle Bay on Mayreau, my favourite bay in the Windwards.
The same bay looking out towards Tobago Cays, with Spellbinder in the foreground
Another view of Saltwhistle…
…which has a great horizontally-growing coconut tree on which to sit for crew photographs
Great sign, but the owner had no need to thank the crew of Spellbinder!
Not a bad view from Petit Saint Vincent, as we prepared for lunch
Evening drinks rafted up in Chatham Bay, Union Island
We also enjoyed some great sailing in addition to the social agenda. The wind was very kind, and we raced downwind between the islands. Thank you to Richard, owner of the lovely yacht Titania of Cowes for the following photographs of Spellbinder enjoying herself:
It was an excellent and well-organised cruise. We ended up in Port Louis, Grenada, where I will shortly be joined by family for the return trip north to Saint Lucia. Grenada marks the southern extremity of this trip, and in effect the half way point. So far, so good; the sabbatical is shaping up nicely, with much to look forward to.