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Martinique - Saturday May 7 to Thursday May 13, 2004

After lunch on Friday May 7th we headed straight across the channel to Martinique – to the Baie de St Pierre on the NW tip of the island. Crossing the channel was fine, wind from E – NE 20 -25knt and we arrived in St Pierre after dark. Anchored up on SW side of the bay as recommended by all the guide books and charts as the bay is very deep right up to the shore.

The town of St Pierre was completed destroyed in 1902 when the volcano erupted. Only one person survived (he was in jail and was protected by the stone walls of the prison) and all the ships in the harbour sank.

Town is now almost completely rebuilt.

In the morning Ivo & Sonny went off to visit St Pierre – Saturday May 8th which is a national holiday in France. The market was open till noon and they came back with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Colorful and rich market in St Pierre

We then lifted anchor and proceeded down toward Fort de France. We knew by then that we really must have a rigger look at the furler, however, no sooner had we left the bay of St Pierre and the furler and the forestay snapped clean off. Luckily not too much wind or we could have lost the mast too. By midday we were in Fort de France anchored up in front of  Place de la Savanne, but it was obvious that everything was closed for the weekend. Not even the customs and immigration’s office was open! Although later we found out that it had also moved, so no wonder the gates were closed.


Susan had made contact with friends Guy & Anne Albert from Pointe la Rose which is near Le Robert on the Atlantic side and they were coming to pick her up later that day so that she could stay overnight with them.

Susan lived in Martinique and sailed Caribbean waters for more than a year some twelve years ago and said she had a wonderful time, revisiting Pointe la Rose and reminiscing over the past.



Dream view in Martinique Plantation Martinique
Pointe la Rose View from Pointe la Rose

During our stay in Martinique the weather was not brilliant, quite rainy (in fact as it turned out this was just the beginning of very bad weather in the Caribbean over the next few weeks).  Ivo and Sonny had gone across to Anse de Mitan on the opposite side of the bay of Fort de France on the Sunday for a swim but we all met up again in Fort de France bay Sunday night.  First thing Monday morning Ivo went to the chandlery to obtain recommendations as to what rigger to use. As it turned out most marine services have now moved to Le Marin and this also proved true for riggers.

So we had to sail down to Le Marin past teh Diamant rock hopping that the mast would remain upright during this short trip.


 The entrance to Le Marin is well marked nowadays and we first anchored up near the Carenage basin where we had arranged to meet Bernard, a rigger recommended by the shipchandler (Seashop) in Fort de France. He kindly ensured that we obtain all the necessary information about the various options regarding the repair or possible replacement of the furler, including cost for sail modifications that might be required. He also sent us over to his competitor Philippe Leconte who runs the Caribantilles chandlery and rigging shop. Philippe being the official agent for both Facnor and Furlex we decided to stop over in the marina itself for a night or two and have the repairs done by him. This would help us in the warranty claim and discussions with Grand Soleil manufacturer (Cantiere del Pardo) whose poor quality of installation has caused this serious incident.

Incidentally our mooring at the marina was right next to a US registered boat with a Croatian name Herceg Novi!!

 It turned out that the owner and skipper Nick originates from Monte Negro / Croatia but has lived all his life in Chicago.  They were getting ready to take their boat, a Robertson 56 steel boat across the Atlantic.

Nick had 4 crew with him for this journey. We were invited across for drinks and pizza that first evening which was really great, just what we needed after a few tough days. The boys continued to discus politics (heated pro & con Bush!!) till after midnight!!

We also met a Danish boat here at the marina – "Jennifer "– Jan & Jennifer have been on the way for 5 years, spent the previous 4 in the Med and came across to the Caribbean end of last year.

Susan did major provisioning in Le Marin at two supermarkets – Leader Price which is a low cost shop for all the basic food stuffs and Chez Annette for some of the branded food stuffs. Spent around 400 Euros in total over a couple of days both with these shops and the local market for fruit and vegetables. This dry foods provisioning should last us now until Panama.

Le Marin is probably the largest and the best equipped marina in the Caribbean - at any time there are probably thousand or more yachts on anchor or in the marinas - most of them provisioning, troubleshutting, preparing their yachts for ocean crossings.

We also bought the Aerogen 6 windgenerator here in Le Marin and had stainless steel support welded on to the boat over at the Carenage basin. This costs us 170 Euros.

Many, many boats at Le Marin. The marina can hold 600 boats and was nearly full and then there must have been at least another 400+ at anchor. Those at anchor were predominantly long term cruisers – everything from very rusty, moth eaten boats to nice new ones.

So we spent 2 nights at the marina itself, then went and anchored off Ste Anne for the third night. We remembered that we had forgotten (!!) to pick up the sails sent in for repairs, so the following day had to go back to the marina for that before setting off to St Lucia.

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