We left for Martinique on December 22nd. We were headed for an anchorage in Sainte-Pierre. It was a day sail—approximately 6 hours, and it was predicted to be very windy. It was. For a brief moment, we hit 40 knots of wind, and had about 35 knots of wind for an hour or two when we were not in the lee of the islands (we were in between the two). We had a double reef, and our speed was consistently 9-10 knots during this time, upwind. That being said, no one was seasick! No vomit to be found anywhere on our boat! It was a banner day…
Arriving into St. Pierre, Martinique
Christmas Eve last minute shopping and a rum punch at a bar
It rained a lot in Sainte-Pierre. We were back to the land of good baguettes but bad lunchmeat. And we were back to butchering the French language. We took a bus to Port de France the day after we arrived so we got to see a bit of the island. Port de France is a bustling city and it even had a very nice indoor mall with stores like Benetton (I haven’t seen that store in YEARS). The kids wanted to get some presents for us, so we agreed to give them about an hour and a half to shop on their own in the mall. Last year, we allowed them to go Christmas shopping together on their own in downtown New Bern (our small town) and they did great. We were upping the ante here, being in a foreign country with a foreign language, but they were successful! Ariana bought Dan some coffee and she said people were looking at them funny in line; two young foreign kids satisfying their coffee fix. Poor caffeine-addicted children…
While the kids shopped, Dan and I scored Lebanese chicken schwarma pita pockets for lunch. They were so good.
Port de France, Martinique, I loved these two buildings side by side!
For Christmas, I cooked a turkey and just about everything I would cook at home. I couldn’t believe how well the turkey came out in only the small convection oven we have. We had to run the generator for about three hours but it was worth it. Dinner was great and we followed it by jumping off the back of the boat and swimming for a while.
Christmas in Martinique
The kids having a joyride in the dinghy in Sainte-Pierre, Martinique
We also started catching up on the Star Wars movies so we could see the new one in St. Lucia without being completely in the dark, and we eventually did see the movie with people from two other boats on the ARC who are very nice. The eight of us were the only people in the movie theater for Star Wars, if you can believe that!
After Christmas, we sailed to Sainte-Anne on the southern part of Martinique and we stayed there for a few nights. It was definitely more touristy but pleasant enough. Overall, Martinique was pretty nice, but I definitely preferred Les Saintes south of Guadeloupe.
As a write this, we are in Saint Lucia (we came here on the 28th) and after some issues receiving packages that were sent to us, we are frantically hurrying to get our new chart plotter and AIS installed. We also had an issue with our freezer and electric winch, but those both turned out to be voltage problems rather than the electrics themselves (good news)! Our new chart plotter is in, AIS is in, the Genneker sail is rigged, and we are almost ready to go.
So, things are looking up! We leave St. Lucia on January 9th and sail straight to Santa Marta, Colombia with the World ARC boats. It will be fun to finally be in a Spanish speaking country!
We have also had the opportunity to meet the folks on the other boats in the ARC and that has been a lot of fun. There are people from Great Britain, Australia, France, Argentina, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Malaysia, (Denmark too, I believe) and of course, the United States, and I am probably missing others too. The best part was when we learned there are more kids going on this trip than we originally thought. There are four kid boats instead of only two! Ariana and Ryan met most of the other kids yesterday and today they are going ziplining with our friend, Marybeth from Paradise Found, and many of the kids are going too, including three boys from the United States, a 13 year old boy from France, and possibly one 9 year old boy from England (and his dad is originally from New Zealand). I love that the group going on the ARC has such diversity!
Okay, I need to end this post. I am off to take a bus to the big grocery store to reprovision for about the next month. They say we won’t have very good provisioning until Panama so I better make sure I stock up!