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Update:     25th April, 2001
Location: Ste Anne, Martinique
Position: 14° 26' N, 60° 53' W
We could have stayed in Tobago very happily for a longer time, and indeed would very much like to return and do some diving. But the weather was favourable for a passage north, so we departed Charlotteville around midday, having stocked up with tasty home made bread and having had a farewell cup of coffee with Ginseng. 

Heading almost due north, we experienced a strong westerly current and a moderate swell, with winds of up to 20 knots. Towards evening the wind settled into an easterly and we had a lovely starry night with much calmer seas. 

Once again we tried trolling for fish - we had hoped to take another tuna from the fish market in Charlotteville with us, but we were leaving too early in the day. The lure disappeared, but no sign of any fish!

Our passage continued smoothly the following day, passing 22 miles off the east coast of St Vincent and then on up the coast of St Lucia, where we were sheltered from the wind for a while. However, with the advantageous current that helped to keep our speed over the ground at 5 knots or more, we arrived off the coast of Martinique much earlier than we had expected and hung around in the channel waiting for daylight before entering the unfamiliar anchorage of Sainte Anne at dawn.

Here we met up again with Pete and Von on Island Moon and also Keith and Rosie on  Bella Mica, whom we had last seen in Lanzarote.

The anchorage at Ste Anne has lovely clear waters and picturesque views in all directions. The local town is very French in character and here we delighted in buying fresh baguettes and croissants from the bakery which was open every day. There is a handy jetty where you can tie up your dinghy. The long white sand beach is very popular with locals and there are also many tourists from mainland France, staying at the Club Med, in the campsite, or at the numerous smaller hotels nearby.

Right: the anchorage of Ste Anne, with the hills of Martinique in the background

Just around the corner from Ste Anne is the busy port of Marin, which is the home of the yacht charter business in Martinique, and the centre of the marine service industry, with many specialists and agents for marine hardwear, as well as a large supermarket well stocked with cheap  wines, cheeses, patés and other French delicacies. This stay was not so good for our waistlines, nor for Oasis, who once again is groaning under the the weight of being fully provisioned!

We took the opportunity of these services to get some repairs in hand and over a period of four weeks we alternated between Marin and Ste Anne, as best suited our activities. We didn't venture elsewhere in Martinique, as we focussed on our maintenance activities.

Left: a traditional workboat takes some visitors out for a trial sail - at one point there were several of them in the water, and we were on hand in the dinghy to provide a rescue service!

One of our major concerns was that our Yanmar 3QM30 inboard diesel engine was overheating at high revs and giving out dark smoke. With the help of the very knowledgeable José from Mechanique Assistance, we tracked this problem down to being an incorrectly pitched propeller. In the north of the island, at St Pierre, this could be remedied, so the prop was removed and our Autoprop refitted (it's a long story as to why this wasn't on in the first place, but suffice it to say that we had been unable to remove the old prop ourselves and needed José's strong prop puller to do this for us).
Our Brookes & Gatehouse speed log and depth gauge had also stopped working, and Jaques at Diginav was able to supply a replacement speed sensor and correct the problem with the system unit.

Right: Graham undertakes engine maintenance

We found that it was quite a bit warmer now in Martinique (average temperature in the saloon is now over 27C during the day) and B got busy with the sewing machine and made some rinky-dinky new sunshade extensions for our awning. These zip on and are made with a mesh fabric that lets the breeze through and lets us see out, while cutting out a good deal of the sun's heat. As you can see, it makes the cockpit the perfect place for an afternoon siesta! 

B also made some soft cushion covers with fabric bought in Trinidad and while the sewing machine was out, a sleeveless top for herself

Left: G tests out the comfort of the cockpit with the new sunshades in position

As you will probably have appreciated by now, sunset can be a magic time of day in these parts (especially when accompanied by one or more of Graham's excellent rum punches). It seemed particularly so in Martinique, and on several evenings we were treated to some magnificent displays of sunset colours.

Right: the setting sun dips behind Diamond Rock, as viewed from the anchorage at Ste Anne

Another important item was to get our liferaft serviced with the Plastimo agents, Le Survy. We felt that we could be assured that they would do a thorough job, and it was a good opportunity for us to be able to see the liferaft inflated and to find out what was inside it. We were a trifle dismayed to find that the instruction and survival manual are in French, but at least there are lots of diagrams!  As the liferaft is now over 5 years old, all the food and water rations were replaced with fresh ones, and also the gas inflation cylinder, the flares and batteries. All rather expensive and, we hope, never to be needed. This is a 6-person liferaft, but you wouldn't want to be cooped up in here with 5 other people for long..... 

Above: on our way north the mountains of St Lucia created a stunning backdrop for the setting sun
Below : the jetty, streets and sights around Ste Anne
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