Down Island

It’s been a busy few months.  After loosing our dinghy in Barbuda we decided to head down South rather quickly to try to replace our ‘family car’ in the French owned island of Martinique. We had already visited most of the Islands on our way up to Antigua so the idea was to move fast. But we couldn’t resist stopping in the gorgeous french islands of Les Saintes off the bottom of Guadeloupe.  It’s a really special part of the world – a bit like the south of France but with a distinctly Caribbean flavour.   And oh the ice-cream…

Then we just couldn’t possibly sail straight past Dominica – we just had to stop and explore Portsmouth.  The local boat boy’s Sunday night BBQ and rum punch dance party was reason enough but we also managed to sneak in a stunning hike in the gorgeous Dominican jungle – the kids did brilliantly hiking for over 4 very humid hours!! But we were still really trying to get to Martinique so off we went…

After a couple of other short stops we did finally arrive in Martinique.  The land of plenty – well stocked chandleries, great french supermarkets and the holy grail of Caribbean cruisers, Decathlon! We bought a new dinghy – our first new ‘car’ ever!! Patrick had been rowing us all around in our little optimist sailing dinghy using the kayak paddle so there was BIG excitement for our new transport!

We stocked Blue Zulu to bursting with yummy french goodies and made great new friends in the lovely St Anne’s anchorage including our first South African kid boat, Flip Flops! We also hired a car and explored more of this lovely gastronomical island. Stella was in vegetarian food heaven with all the brilliant cheese!!

We then continued our journey south with the end goal of getting to Grenada to pick up some very important visitors in July.  We briefly visited Wallilabou Bay in St Vincent as the kids have been obsessed with the Pirates of the Caribbean series and were very keen to visit some of the set. A funny empty but atmospheric village and cobwebbed ‘museum’ greeted us but the friendly boat boys and their generous fruit gifts made up for it.

We then stopped at one of our favourite islands, Bequia to get some much-needed canvas work done – we installed a brand new bimini over the cockpit and had a new spray dodger made to cover the companion way steps.  This may sound rather dull but basically in household terms this is like getting a new conservatory and front porch – life changing for us as finally we have shade in our cockpit and don’t have to get on our hands and knees to get downstairs!!

We also just had a good time with lovely friends (SYs Itchy Foot and Pierina) sharing boat school lessons, snorkelling and exploring around one of the most relaxed islands and then the weather forecast changed…

Tropical Storm Bret was the earliest named storm to develop in the Atlantic basin on record.  And it was forecast to head straight for us.  Friends had been sending envy inducing pictures from St Lucia (80 miles North & out of the path of Bret) so we decided to up anchor and head North yet again.

After a rather challenging sail, we spent three blissful days quite literally by the pool in St Lucia.  We took a mooring buoy in picturesque Marigot Bay which entitled us to access to the nearby hotel facilities.  The kids totally took over the pool while the parents dominated the half price happy-hour. A happy few days of ‘proper’ holiday… and thankfully NO storm!!

Bret was followed by at least two weeks of rather miserable weather as we headed back down South via the Grenadines to welcome our guests in Grenada…but that’s another story.

 

* Top picture taken by our talented friend Jon on SY Itchy Foot.

 

 

 

 

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