What an awesome sail we had from Guadeloupe to Martinique. You know those days when everything just comes together? 18-22 kts of wind, 2-4 foot sees, wind just a smidge forward of the beam? Jo-Jo screaming with all sails set at 8 – 8.5 kts! Okay, fine, for some lighter boats, that’s a decent day of sailing, but for this 37 ton girl, that is FLYING!!
Joana (in the foreground) anchored off of St. Pierre
We set our anchor off the town of St. Pierre, tidied up the boat, sat back to relax and then they came. They being a French catamaran. Now, we aren’t being discriminating, and I may have mentioned this before, but the French LOVE to anchor right next to another boat. I mean no more than 30 feet away. And this time we had a special surprise. The Frenchman, who was bending over, playing with his windlass, was buck naked. AND he was so close, that Maria said, not too quietly I might add, “Hey, at least he shaves!”
Depaz distillery
After a fitful sleep full of nightmares, the next day we decided to take a walk with our friends, Chris, Alex, Nola and Jerry up to the Depaz rum distillery. We dignied over to the dock and tied it up. We haven’t had a problem with the boat yet, so didn’t really worry too much that it was not locked. It was a bit hot, so we hitched a ride in the back of the truck with a local Rastafarian, who, at the end of the ride, gave us a huge bag full of …now, now, I know you are thinking, but no, he gave us local apricots! Depaz is the one of the 11 distilleries on the island, and boasts the use of a water wheel in its rum making process. It sits at the foot of the volcano, Mt. Pelee and is set among fields of sugar cane. Adjacent to the distillery is one of grandest buildings on the island, a massive sugar mansion that dates to 1927 and took seven years to build using imported Italian stone masons. We had a very fancy lunch at the restaurant that sits on the property, and afterward, we took a self-tour of the premises. Of course, the highlight was the rum tasting at the end. I came away with a bottle of their coconut rum punch and a bottle of their orange rum (called shrub). Jerry made the best buy – a box of rum! Yup, instead of box wine, they sell box rum here – what an awesome idea!
Old sugar mansion at Depaz
Jerry and Nola hitched a ride back down, but Chris, Alex and ourselves decided to walk back to the boat. Our travels led us to the far side of the harbor and was a nice walk along the water. That is, however, until Maria said, “Hey look, I think that’s our dingy over there”. We looked at where he was pointing and saw a dingy that looked kind of like ours, but couldn’t have been ours as there were about 15 kids piled into it, just cruising around.
“Nah, that’s not our dingy” I replied.
“Oh yes it is, I know my dingy” she shot back.
Just as she said it, the kids in the dingy looked at us, looked at each other, looked at us again, and started high tailing it back to where it had been docked.
Maria and Jerry rum tasting
“Oh crap, that is our dingy” I exclaimed as we all shook our fists at the little brats in our boat. We stepped up our pace as we watched them jump out of the boat, and one boy run down the dock and tie the skiff back to the cleat. We made it back over to the dock about 5 minutes later, and sure enough, the engine was hot. They did, however, remember to throw out the stern anchor.
By this point, all the little culprits where in the water trying to hide under the dock. Everyone else was pretending not to speak English. Luckily for us, Alex speaks perfect French.
Barrels of fun…I mean rum!
“Tell them, the next time they decide to take our boat for a joyride, to please wash it before returning it” I said with a cross look on my face. Alex translated, and one kid had the nerve to say “Thank you in English.” We jumped in our skiff and sped off, fists still waving at them. The next morning, we dignied over to the dock, made a point of glaring at the little hoodlums from yesterday who were already on the dock looking for mischief, and with exaggerated movements, secured the skiff to the dock with the cable and lock we had to fish out from the depth of our storage space. I guess we learned our lesson.
We spent the rest of our time in Martinique enjoying the good French life…you’ve heard this before…red wine, brie, baguettes and pan au chocolate! There was also a great fresh fruit and veggie market every morning in the town square, so everyday we were there picking up our fresh produce and warm baguette. My belly sure does love the French islands!