We have now spent the last few days anchoring in small bays around Martinique and St. Lucia, enjoying the sunset, reading books, and of course having the occasional G&T – we are now ready for the next adventures to begin.
We have visited Fort de France, which is the capital of Martinique and a French department with its own administration – fully financed and very French! Fort de France is a run-down coastal city, with just a church, a library and a Carrefour, but still worth seeing. If you go further into the center of Martinique, it turns out that the island is wealthy and has several shopping malls, if that is needed. The nature is very green and towards the North, you will see mountains and water falls.
We can recommend Grande Anse d’Arlet, Le Marin and Sainte Anne as very nice anchorages – well protected and with small towns or with a few restaurants on the beach. The water is clear and blue, and the temperature is around 26 degrees with the occasional refreshing shower coming from the mountains. All in all, a very nice and safe place to visit.
Christmas was lovely. Yes, it took a little longer to find the Christmas spirit, but when the girls arrived on the 21st and 23rd, and Marie started to decorate North Star with our mini (plastic) Christmas tree and the allowances of three “nisser”, it all helped. On the 24th, we were invited by our German neighbors on Greyhound for coffee and traditional German Christmas bread. Dietmar and Dagmar are a very friendly couple from Hamburg, which we enjoy sailing with with on and off. In the evening, we managed to pull off a traditional Danish Christmas dinner with duck and risalamande – some adjustments had to be made, but it was just as tasty as if we were home. On the 25th, we invited Lykke , HR46 from Germany, and Greyhound over for homemade gløgg and gingerbread cookies. It’s funny how important traditions become when you are far away from home, so we do our best to keep as many as possible.
Up next, we will tour the coast of Martinique and St. Lucia – but whether we go North or South yet is still to be decided. We have planned to go diving, swimming and hiking until New Year’s Eve, which we will probably celebrate in Marigot Bay, if we can find an anchoring spot.
The joy of this adventure is also the people we meet along the way. We continue to bump into people from the last few years of sailing – from the ARC+ and other events. It is very giving to belong to this community of cruisers. We meet many interesting people from around the world, all with different stories and reasons for sailing, and then it is a great source of information for just about anything – especially for tips on where to go and when you need some advice on boat reparations. We have had an unfortunate mishap with our 3-seasons old sails from Elvstrøm. The genoa is delaminating in about 20 % of the sail. We bought them just before our departure in Denmark with the intention of them lasting for 35000 nm, but unfortunately, that did not really happened. Thankfully, Elvstrøm have been very service-oriented, and we will hopefully be able to pick up a new sail in Antigua on January 20th.
With that said, we are learning the skill of not focusing on the things that don’t work – because when you use the boat this heavily, things need continued maintenance and fixing. Therefore, we have made two lists: (1) need to fix and (2) nice to fix. But especially the Captain finds it difficult to accept the imperfections! Sadly, our Hallberg Rassy sister boat Lykke was not so fortunate, as they lost their mast crossing the Atlantic and have had a lot of trouble with their alternator and generator. They have taken a year off for a sabbatical with the family, so it is very unlucky and sad that this has happened. But their spirits are still high and we admire them for that.
Finally, as all other cruisers, we are learning that making a plan is important in order for the real world to follow us or us it, but it has also become obvious that the plan needs to be very flexible. So here is a rough outline of the plan so far:
Our daughters and Sarah (Micki’s friend) will leave us on the 3rd and 5th of January in Forth de France and then our friends Lars and Helle with their wonderful kids will join us for a few days of cruising before we go North on the 10th. We plan to go all the way to the BVIs and visit as many of the islands as possible. We will be in Antigua for a week towards the end of January, where we will pick up our new sail and our friend Henrik for two weeks of cruising. Around March, we plan on travelling in Cuba for a couple of weeks. Following Cuba, there is a slight gap in the plan until mid-May, where we will be in Clarks Court in Grenada. Here, North Star will be tucked away for six months while we travel around South America before we plan on returning to London sometime before Christmas 2018 – hopefully together with our daughters. In the beginning of January 2019, we will continue towards the ABC Islands and Columbia, and finally Panama. The only absolute certain part of this plan is that it will most definitely change! So call this an aspiration. I still admire Mahina Tiara for many things, but their ability to make a sailing plan two years out in the future and stick to it – that is beyond me.
But there you have it – life is good with plenty of activities and interesting people in beautiful surroundings.
We all wish you a peaceful New Year with many opportunities
Greetings from the North Star crew.
( Internet cannot handle pictures – so they will come soon )