the last odd jobs on Trinidad were done: epirb check and new battery,
new gas bottles (aluminium), accu monitor repaired and some new gear,
we sailed to Grenada. It was a close reach and as usual a bumpy ride
because of the current coming in on 90 degrees. So Roberta was seasick (however
without throwing up), but big girl Rita proved to have four sealegs
already and enjoyed all her meals. Talking about food, fresh tuna costs less
than €4 per kilo so this is frequently on our menu.
The kittens also crave it and go completely wild, judging by the groans they make
while wolfing the fish meat down.
Grenada is a beautiful island and the capital St.George is extremely
colourful. So are the people, exuberant in friendliness but also in what
Unfortunately staying in St.George becomes every year more difficult because
of the supermarina that they are building. Sure we could get a berth there, but it is a
bit expensive. Besides, the yachtclub is far more lively. Everybody
agrees on this so now you
have to make reservations weeks in advance. Anchoring in the channel
between the club and Port Louis is allowed by the club, but not by the
marina so we were kicked out after a couple of nights. A night “outside” at anchor was extremely
rolly, but in the meantime P had the right connections so in the end we
berthed at the club pontoon.
So we are not completely happy with Port Louis, but the locals think
otherwise. They see that the water in the Lagoon is now becoming
cleaner, that wrecks and scrap from the last hurricanes are cleaned up
after years, and it creates job opportunities. In construction and in
running the project; let us hope that the locals get chances in
management positions as well (because so often this is not the case).
On Grenada we partied for a week, mostly with
Richard, a delivery skipper we met some years ago. He took us to the
coolest hang-outs such as the Lazy Lagoon and the Horny Baboon.
On our last evening they had live music in the yachtclub. The bar is a
perfect spot with a good view on the lagoon (and on Port Louis), the
food is nice and cheap but all good things must end once so we left the
following day for Martinique.
Underway the kittens were
not the sweethearts we want them to be. They meddle in everything and Rita's paw was almost
trapped in a winch, miAUWWWW! Luckily she screamed in time so no damage
was done. We also were involved in a battle for power: “who is the boss
on board”. We don't often forbid things, but on deck by night when
manoeuvering or taking down sails is not allowed. So we closed all
hatches. Queen Rita was so angry about this that she deposited a big
shit in our bed. Of course she now knows who is really the boss on
On Martinique we stepped into a different world. In Marin we encountered
Club Med resort, masts all-over the bay and rows and rows of rental yachts. A
marina-village with accompanying chandlers, pubs and restaurants,
car hire and souvenir shops crammed with colourful pareo’s and other
wanna-have's. The southeast of Martinique is a big sailing center, by
the way elegantly designed. But the old city is a picturesque places
where nothing happened and also nothing will happen. The creoles lime on the
beach, make conversation and we immediately felt at home.
You can have dinner here as well, in the sand on plastic chairs and not
with a creation of x on a bed of
x and served with a puree of x. Just spicy fish from the bbq, for a
reasonable price and served with a smile.
But we got accustomed to the other world rather quickly and after one
day we felt at home again in all those gigantic
supermarkets stocked with camembert,
roquefort, salted butter, foie de canard, mushrooms from the forest,
sweets, cakes and all the other delicacies we love but about which we
Formalities are no problem at all. Clearing is - one of those advantages
of that other world - a do-it-yourself-job on the computer: you complete the on line form, print
ready! At last no four different forms with three carbons each and hard pressing with
your ballpoint. But back on board the customs tender came immediately alongside and triggered
by our answer to the standard question where we came from: Grenada –
Trinidad – Surinam... What?! Surinam?! very criminal drugs country! we were visited
and overhauled and preferably they would also have taken a look into our
water tanks. Luckily they realised how much hassle that would create with
all those glued lids and perhaps after all we were not the drugs
couriers they were looking for, so allez.
We rented a car and became
impressed by magnificent Martinique. Surinam remains #1,
but we surely could live here if we were rich enough, as life on the french Antilles is
40% more expensive than in France. Martinique is
less rugged than for instance St.Vincent and is perhaps therefore, but
obviously mainly as a result of the french financial input, almost completely
cultivated. We didn't know that the island is famous for its bananas and the
east side is covered with banana plantations. There is even a banana museum!
Also rhum is important and it is still produced in the old-fashioned way
from sugarcane. And of course there are the local fishermen.
Used as we are to potholed roads, we found the french infrastructure quite
the mountainous parts we imagined ourselves in the Dordogne (if it was not
for the vegetation), and the pretty south reminded us of hilly Auvergne.
Colour is everywhere: the authentic fishing boats are nicely painted
and the island is covered with a sea of flowers.
The capital Fort de France is dominated by the historical fort, but
also by a cacophony of architectural styles
plus on the waterfront a huge concrete boulevard where JW only a couple of
years ago saw many small pubs and bric-à-brac shops. We found St.Pierre
in the north much more attractive. This was the capital until it was ruined
by the eruption of the vulcano in 1902; although many old walls still stand
and renovated historical buildings give the place a special atmosphere;
reason why it is nicknamed: le Petit Paris des antilles caribes.
The north is dominated by vulcano's
and the beaches are black. The continental plate here is still moving. We
knew that already as two years ago in Surinam we felt an earthshock
originating around Martinique. St.Pierre, located right below the biggest
vulcano is the appropriate location for a vulcano and earthquakes museum (they
call it Earth & Science Discovery Center) where they give all kinds of demonstrations,
which we will visit tomorrow.
And then we'll leave for Dominica.