Friday, March 14, 2014


When Levent mentioned his wish of taking a break from work during the Carnival in Martinique, and closing the kebab house for a week, we offered to take him and his wife Guylaine to Dominica. It is fun to have company,  as long as the weather is nice, otherwise the responsibility creates too much stress for me. Al checked the forecast over and over, and declared that the winds and waves were to be perfect for sailing during the first week of March.

Sailing from St Anne to St Pierre was a breeze, straight to the west until Diamant Rock, then turning north on the lee of the island for a short time (passing the Arlets) where the winds are erratic because of the high mountains and valleys , then getting hit by the strong but steady easterly winds of the large bay of Fort De France. First day, we did not turn the engines until almost reaching St Pierre around 2:00 pm.

Finding a place to anchor was another matter, since the bay is quite deep (40 ft plus) almost up to the beach. After trying for a couple of times among the packed boats lining the beach, we went to the south side, to snatch the last decent place to the dismay of an approaching mono-hull, and settled. It was a beautiful hot day, so all of us jumped into the water to cool off. While I was descending on the swim platform, I saw a jelly fish with four dark spots on its back, swimming by. I do not like jelly fish, period. I did not swim away from the platform, just did some exercises, while constantly checking the waters, ready to pull out. Then I felt a shock of burn on my arm, but could not see the cause of it. I presumed that it was a micro-organism, which occasionally hit us around these waters. I had felt spot-burnings in BVI and Mexico a few years back, but not recently, either in Grenada or St Anne.

Anyway, when I got out, I saw two circles forming on my inner arm, made of red dots.  Guylaine and Levent were snorkelling, and stayed in water longer than me and Al, who also felt a sting, but did not have any reaction. Poor Guylaine, she was the worst hit; her body showed a lot of stings, which looked like a series of diabolical pricks, itching like crazy. I ended up giving her several antihistamine tablets over the next few days. It seemed that whatever had stung us, was a woman-hater, not affecting the guys in the least. Swimming in St Pierre is out for me from now on!
The next morning around 7:30 am, we were ready to weigh anchor to start for Roseau, Dominica. As St Pierre is very close to the north edge of Martinique, we sailed into the open seas in no time. The wind was fine, but the easterly swells made the ride bumpy, hitting from the side. I hate going down to use the head while underway, the noise of the water hammering the hulls is unnerving, especially when the mountains of waves are above head, seen from the side window. The best place to sit is at the helm, it being the highest point , from where the waves look managable.

The crossing took about six hours, good sailing the whole time. Since Al was apprehensive about gusts, he had a reef on the main, but the angle was right, so we progressed with a decent speed.

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