On The Inside

Hello All –

 

Whew! It has been a busy past few months for us but work has started to slow down and we finally have a chance to breath a little. We’ve often been asked what the inside Moon looks like. Since we have not had any fun to share with you lately we thought that you would like to see what our “living accommodations” are like on our beloved Moon….Hope you enjoy!

 

This is the “sterncastle” the rear or back part of our boat. It has a seating area, in floor refrigerator, the galley, a bunk and the navigation station.

 

 

This is the “forecastle” the front of the boat. It has the head (toilet) a vanity sitting area and two bunks.

 

And drum roll please….the cockpit where we spend most of our time!

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed browsing through our living quarters šŸ™‚ and hope that your day is a great one!

 

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One Last Adventure

Hello all. Sorry for the delay in our posting but LOTS has been going on in our world lately. As some of you already know we are back home in PCB. Yup, we made our travels back safely and our feet are once again on dry land. More on that later though because we wanted to share our one last adventure that we had before we hauled Moon out to her familiar pile of earth.

 

View from the harbor of Deshaies, Guadeloupe.

I just loved this little house with its laundry hung out to dry along the harbor front!

 

Last we wrote we were in Le Saints, Guadeloupe and heading to Deshaies, Guadeloupe. We thankfully had an uneventful sail up the coast. Especially after all of the excitement that weā€™ve had with our last few jumps!

Last time we were in Deshaies the anchorage was crowded and rolly. This time it was much different. Seeing how it was almost June 1st (Hurricane Season) it looked like most cruisers were either further north or south and the middle cruising grounds were becoming an off season spot to be. There were still a few of us around but nothing like when we were here last. This was awesome for us because this meant that there was lots more room to anchor comfortably. There are also free mooring balls in the harbor and on the second night we were able to claim one up front near the beach. Now we are not normally mooring ball kind of cruisers but we made an exception. We had heard about a nearby waterfall that we could hike to but also heard that it was an all day adventure so we wanted to make sure that our home would be safe while we were away. Even though it seemed that there were less cruising boats this is still a main entry and exit point for Guadeloupe, meaning the possibility of lots of traffic coming and going in the harbor. The anchorage is pretty deep too in places and can become crowded so the mooring ball gave us a sense of the boat being secure while we were away. Brian jumped in the water and checked it out to make sure it was in good shape because you never know what they are made of and what the lines shackles attached look like. Brian said that he was actually impressed with it so we were safe and snug….now time for some fun!

 

 

This is where the Deshaies river runs through town and lets into the sea.

Some type of old road equipment we pass by as we head up to the river.

 

 

“The Hidden Waterfall” or “The Secret Waterfall” or the “Non-Tourist Find It Yourself Waterfall”.

We had read in few cruisers blogs that there was a waterfall nearby or not so nearby depending on whoā€™s blog you read but we were determined to find it. (I love waterfalls!) We had also read that it was about a three hour hike up through the river and lots of climbing over giant boulders so we were prepared to get wet and have some fun!

 

This is where we first got our feet wet as we started our journey up.

Can you see the small rocks piled up on the boulder to the right? That’s a cruisers way of letting some else know that there is something cool to see. Means someone else has been here and we are on the right path!

 

 

There were really no directions other than follow the river that flows into the sea until you find the waterfall. The journey was soooo amazing! First we went down a small road that ran along the side of the river and then it was time to get our feet wet. Down the bank we went and we climbed in the river. At first it was not so bad, river rocks and a stream that was about 15 feet or less wide. Hopping from rock to rock we climbed higher. Every now and then we would pass small waterfalls excited by each one that we saw. I was taking so many pictures I was sure my camera battery would be exhausted before we got to the main fall. The plants and flowers were incredible! A couple of times we came across a fork in the river and had to figure out what way to go hoping that we made the right choice.

 

 

 

 

As we climbed, the rocks became giant boulders and the river faster. We were pretty sure that we were heading the right way. Then it started to pour rain on us. The rocks and boulders became very slippery and made it harder to climb up and over them. We were starting to wonder if we made the right choice at the forks below. We had been climbing for almost three hours and knew that we must be close. We were sure that every bend we went around that we would finally be at the waterfall that we had hiked all this way to see only to find more giant boulders to climb up and over.

 

 

That big leaf just about covers me up!

 

 

Just as we were about to give up and head back we came around a corner and saw a road close to the river. There was a small parking place on the side and a tin shed with a picture of a waterfall painted on it. We must be in the right place! We hiked on for another half an hour and as we came around a bend you could hear the rushing water. We were so excited! Finally we made it! As we approached it looked like the river ended and became a cave.

 

 

Brian wedging himself between the big rocks so that he can climb over to the falls. You can see the top of the fall just above his head and above the big boulder. Meanwhile the protector of the falls is watching us from his rock perch.

Power shower!

 

There was a small pool of water that lead though the large cavern crevice that lead to the waterfall. To get to it you had to swim through water that came up to my neck then as you got closer there was a large boulder that you had to climb over to get to the fall. The ground under the water was really mushy and I did not want to muck through it but Brian did. He wedged his way up the rock and had a spectacular view of the fall. It was still raining on us and the fall was really pouring out.

 

 

Brian enjoying the falls.

Me forgetting about the world for just a bit. It was an amazing view looking up at the forest!

 

 

It was such a magical place to be and we were the only ones there unless you count the bullfrog perched up on a rock that seemed to be the guardian of the fall. We swam and enjoyed this mystic place and decided to head back. We were not sure how long it would take to get back and we wanted to make sure that we had enough daylight. We did not want to end up on one of those survivor TV shows!

 

 

Beautiful big tree along the river.

Crazy looking mushroom that we came across along the river.

 

 

Heading back down we decided to take the road that we saw on our way up, (the one with the tin shed and parking spot). It put us out high above the town and about 40 minutes later we were back in the harbor. Hindsight we would have had a car drop us off here and took the shorter hike to the falls. We really have to work on our French because if we could have spoken the language we might have been able to ask one of the locals about the falls and they probably would have given us the shorter directions! But then again we would have missed all of the fun climbing up!

 

 

Moon on her mooring Deshaies, Guadeloupe.

 

 

After we got back to the boat Brian looked up the river and where we ended up and saw that we had climbed 900ft! Wow! I mean I knew that we were going up and up and up but I had no idea that we had climbed that high! The next day our bodies reminded us of the climb…boy were we sore and I was full of bumps and bruises that I did not even know that had happened. What a fun day though! We spent three days in Deshaies but it was time for us to clear out and get back on the move again. We have some more fun to share but we are saving the last of our journey for our next post. Hopefully I can get it posted soon. Take care for now all.

Jennifer and Brian

S/V Moon

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Plans Written In Sand

Hello All. Last we left you we were in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia and heading south for hurricane season. Well… a lot has changed since then! We have turned 180Ā° and are now heading north. But, what, why? Well, it all started out as it normally does….It was a bright and sunny day, We were planning our next passage and as Brian always does before we sail off into the blue, he was under Moon cleaning her bottom. Now, I don’t know if you remember but in a previous post we mentioned about all of the sargasso weed that we have been seeing as we’ve sailed through passages from island to island. It just so happens that when we were sailing across to Saint Lucia that Brian felt a vibration coming from under our boat. Thinking that we had caught some of the weed in our prop he stopped the boat and reversed hoping to wash the weed off. He had to do this a few times throughout the passage. So when he was cleaning the bottom he also checked out the prop, shaft and all of the parts down there. That is when he discovered that the cutlass bearing that is attached to the shaft was worn unevenly and that was what was making the vibrations.

 

 

Frigate birds…love these big birds!

A couple of local guys working as team to row to shore…Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

 

Now I am certainly no expert, but when calm, cool, collected Brian says that we might have a issue with our beloved Moon, I listen! Don’t get me wrong he was not all worried like we would be in danger or anything like that but he was concerned that it was a problem that we would need to deal with.

 

 

Now it was time to make some decisions. We have met lots of other cruisers in the past few months. Some traveling south and some north for the dreaded hurricane season. Seems that last years big hit had most trying to make hopefully the right choice for their boats. Also it seemed like lots of cruisers were choosing to go south! So we decided instead of going south into unknown territory for us to go with what we knew. Besides we were not sure if we would be able to haul out if we needed to in Grenada since so many boats were already heading that way with reservations in hand.

 

Small dolphins that we saw along the coast of Martinique.

 

So north we went. The first three days were quite the blur, at least when they were over. Brian does a great job with his weather forcasting and is usually spot on however here in these islands with the large mountains it can be a bit unpredictable to say the least. This lead to some very intense crossings for us. Here are some exerts from our ships log….

 

 

Always have to keep a sharp lookout for random things floating in the sea!

Banana bread that I made for us to munch on while underway…made in my Omnia oven.

 

Day one, Crossing from Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia to Saint Pierre, Martinique:
Hauled anchor at 7:30 am set for Saint Pierre, Martinique. Double reefed main sail, winds 18 – 25 knts. Arrived at 3:15 pm, 39 miles, 5.5 knt average.

 

The town of Saint Pierre, Guadeloupe.

 

 

Day two, Crossing from Saint Pierre, Martinique to Portsmouth, Dominica:
Hauled anchor at 6:15 am set for Portsmouth, Dominica. Set reefed main and jib in light air. Forecast was for 15 -17 knts. Motored on back side for 20 minutes with no wind then wind picked up at northern tip. North of island winds picked up to 18 – 20 knts, seas 6 ft for about an hour. Middle of passage winds picked up 25 – 30 knts seas 7 -8 ft. Made across Dominica/Martinique channel with a 9.1 knt average!!! (We typically have around 6 knt average) Once we were behind Dominica the wind died completely. We did finally see a humpback whale though! We took the reef out of the main sail and were about to raise our genoa (light wind sail), when we noticed white caps in the water ahead. Decided to wait to change sails, then it was full on again. Winds 20 – 25 knts with gusts to over 35 knts! Reefed main sail and got more gusts to over 40 knts! (Thats gale force!) Took all sails down and raised small stay sail. (small forward sail) Sailed in closer to land and into Rupert Bay Dominica where we picked up a mooring ball, strong winds and gusts continued through the night. Arrived at 3:30 pm, 55 miles, 6 knt total average.

 

 

 

Spray curtain that Brian made to keep us dry in the cockpit.

 

 

If anyone remembers our stories about Dominica then you know that when you arrive anywhere near the entrance to the harbor that the “boat boys” come out fighting for your business. This of course this is how they make their living. There was not a single boat boy in sight as we rounded the corner and we did not see one all night. This says something because we can’t imagine them missing out on making some bucks with a new boat arriving in the harbor, seems that the weather was too crazy for them too!

 

 

Flying fish!

 

 

Day three, Portsmouth, Dominica to Le Saints, Guadeloupe:
Left anchorage at 9:45 am. Set reefed main sail and #1 jib. Sailed in 16 – 18 knts seas 5 -7 ft. Picked up mooring at 1:20 pm. 21 miles, average speed 7 knts.

 

 

View of the harbor in the Saints, Guadeloupe.

View of another harbor in the saints as we hike up to Fort Napoleon.

Outside of Fort Napoleon…it was closed when we walked up to it so we only saw the outside of fort.

 

On our last day in the saints we had dolphins come up in the anchorage. Here are some people snorkeling with them!

 

I may have changed some of the wording and left some of it out but I think that you get the idea of what it was like. It was mostly the sail to Dominica that kicked our buts! When we got to the Saints, one of our favorite towns we took some down time and spent three nights to regroup.

 

 

The family car.

Not sure what is in these bottles on the fence of this house…saw them on some others too…it is either just decorations or a local punch that they sell.

Caribbean lawn movers!

 

 

Lots or pics here of some the fun that we had along the way too. Next stop is Deshaies, Guadeloupe. Take care for now all. Wish us fair skies and calm seas for the rest of our travels!

 

 

 

Jennifer and Brian
SV / Moon

 

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Saint Lucia By Land

First a little about the island…St Lucia is the second largest of the Windward Islands, and like most islands that we’ve visited recently it was created because of volcanic activity. It is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado…depending on your taste šŸ™‚ The earliest inhabitants of St Lucia were Arawaks from South America who called it Louanalao, meaning ā€˜land of the iguanasā€™.

 

Local boats

 

Tourism and bananas are the main industry earners for St Lucia. We passed soooo many banana plantations on our drive! The bunches of bananas are covered with plastic bags for three reasons: to provide a suitable micro-climate for the bananas to ripen more quickly, to protect the bananas (at least to some degree) from insects and other pests, and to prevent the bananas from being bruised when it is windy and leaves may brush against the bunch.

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Surprisingly, Christopher Columbus did not discover this island for Spain. While it is true that the island was along the route he sailed, it is not credited to him. It is said that the history of the island’s European discovery is a bit hazy. It was long believed that Columbus had discovered St. Lucia in 1502, but recent evidence suggests that he merely sailed close by. An alternative discoverer is Juan de la Cosa, aĀ lesser-known explorer who had served at one time as Columbus’ navigator. In any case, there was no European presence established on the island until its settlement in the 1550s by the notorious buccaneer Francois le Clerc, a.k.a. Jambe de Bois, or Wooden Leg. Peg-Leg le Clerc set up a fine little base on Pigeon Island, from where he preyed upon unwitting and treasure-laden Spanish galleons sailing by.

As a result of Saint Luciaā€™s strategic location, the French and British went to war repeatedly for possession of the island between the mid seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, resulting in the island changing hands 14 times between the two powers.

 

Disclaimer….not a real Pirate Ship šŸ™‚

 

I found this strange, but St Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman. I did not believe this when I first read it, but it is true! There are some countries named after legendary figures and goddesses but Saint Lucia is the only one named after a real life person. It wasĀ named afterĀ Saint Lucy of Syracuse. (Saint Lucy was a young Christian maiden of Syracuse in Sicily.)
https://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_lucy_of_syracuse.html

 

Marigot Bay

 

Marigot Bay. James A Michener, the novelist, is famously quoted as describing it as “The Most Beautiful Bay in the Caribbean”, it is also a historic landmark having played a roll in a number of battles between the French and Royal Navy.Ā The bay is so small and hard to see from the sea that legend has it that a British admiral hid his fleet from the French here by tucking themselves inside the bay and tying palm fronds to their masts to camouflage them. It is also famed as the setting for the 1967 film version of Hugh Lofting’s classic Doctor Dolittle books, which starred Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley. The bay is used for the scenes involving the shipwreck, the fictional Great Pink Sea Snail and the construction of the harness for the Giant Lunar Moth. This a bit before our time but some of our readers may remember it. (This may be our next anchoring spot so more pics on this beautiful bay later.)

 

Our first view of the Pitons at a pull off on the side of the highway.

 

For most the first image that comes to mind when they think of Saint Lucia is the majestic Piton Mountains. The twin volcanic spires are the iconic image of St. Lucia, the green hulking peaks rising from the sea side by side in dramatic fashion. Images of the Pitons are everywhere: from shirts to postcards to the labels on the local beer, Piton.

 

 

The Pitons are such an emblem of St Lucia that they are also resembled on the countryā€™s flag.Ā The Pitons were also a filming location for a scene in Superman 2. (Superman flies from the North Pole to fetch a rare orchid to take back for his romantic dinner with Lois Lane.) There is also a waterfall nearby called “Superman Waterfall”. The waterfall was featured in the films Superman 2 and Romancing the Stone. (We tried but could not find this waterfall but saw some others)

 

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Visiting Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens.

 

Upon our first glimpse of the Pitons we also had our first chance to buy necklaces and souvenirs. Every stopping point to view the Pitons or to see a sight we were bombarded by locals trying to sell us their “homemade” necklaces ect. Funny though because every island that we’ve visited seems to have exactly the same “homemade” necklaces no matter what part of the Caribbean we are in. Some of these guys are very insistent and will not leave you alone. We do support locals by buying crafts and such but how many seed necklaces does one really need? Each one of these locals also insisted on telling us the history of the island and of couse wanted to be payed a little something at the end for the information that they shared. We handed out lots of coins as we visited each scenic spot to hear the same thing over and over again! Don’t get me wrong we love talking, really talking to the locals but being hassled with the same game is a bit annoying.

 

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Diamond Waterfall. What made this waterfall stand out was that its waters were laced with minerals giving the falls a rather colorful appearance.

 

St Lucia is an island where a tourist must be careful about places they visit. We rented a car to see some of these towns so that we would not have to anchor in the harbors that were known to have high crime. Unfortunately, the bay and town of Soufriere at the base of these beautiful Piton mountains is known as an unsavory harbor. It would have been an incredible place to anchor but, needless to say we decided this was not a good idea so we drove there instead taking in the usual tourist sights.

 

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Toraille Falls

Coco pod growing on a tree…this is where chocolate comes from!

 

Here is also home to the worldā€™s only drive-through volcano. Supposedly there is no where else in the world can you drive up and park right next to an active volcano. We drove to the site and went to pay the entrance fee however were disappointed because it was much more expensive to just drive through on your own than to take a tour or pay to use the mud baths. We were really trying to watch our time because there was so much that we wanted to explore while we had the car. We`ve seen sulfer springs before, bubbling up from the ground with puffs of cloudy sulfer and that lovely rotten egg smell and did not think that we wanted to cover ourselves with the mud so we decided to skip the drive in. We were technically in the volcano crater just not at the photo spot and we still got to enjoy the putrid smell so that was enough for us.

 

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Couldn’t really capture it on the camera but this fall actually starts way up the mountain and drops through thick foliage before finally falling on this boulder. Piton Waterfall

Piton Waterfall baths. This fall has lots of minerals in the water so people visit here to soak in these pools. They say that you will look 12 years younger after bathing in the mineral water!

This is a branch off of the Piton Waterfalls and it has hot water!

Piton Waterfall

 

Even though the island is only 27 Ɨ 14 driving along it’s main highway and a few off branches of winding and hairpin roads took all day (9-6). We did not want to drive after dark because the roads were skinny, very steep and full, very full, of potholes not to mention everyone either drives like Miss Daisy (that means slow for my younger readers that have not seen the movie), or they drive like they have a death wish. Even though I had a firm grip on the handhold by me the whole time Brian did an excellent job maneuvering through the streets and highways like a pro!

 

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A man selling his fish on the side of the road. We saw lots of stands like this near the coastline.

 

We saw as much as we could, stopped at lots of overlooks and spent time at some beautiful gardens and waterfalls. It was a perfect day. We ended the evening with some pizza at a restaurant in the marina our dinghy was at and of course had a Piton beer to top it off!

 

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If you remember from a couple of posts back I had to learn what to do with plantains. Well, meanwhile they ripened a bit and ended up being sweet plantains. I rubbed bit of coconut oil on them and browned them….they turned out golden brown and were yummy with our breakfast!

 

Looks like we might be here for a few more days. Wish that we could play every day but Moon calls and we have to give her some TLC. It’s not all fun and games here. Back to sanding, grinding, painting, glassing or whatever else needs to be done. Take care for now all.

 

Toraille Falls

Brian and Jennifer
S/V Moon

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Fort Rodney and Signal Peak, Pigeon Island, St Lucia

Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

From where we are anchored in Rodney Bay we have five beautiful stretches of beaches in front of us and to our sides and off to the north-west sits Pigeon Island. We have been looking at the island for a few days now so decided that it was time to check it out!

 

Pigeon Island. Fort is on the let hand side and signal hill on the right.

We motored our dinghy over to a little dock on the fort grounds, tied up and was greeted by a park official. She walked us over to the main gate entrance where we purchased our tickets and we were off on our way to explore. The buildings and ruins were similar to some of the forts we’ve visited before. We read that Fort Rodney dated to around 1750, including a fortress, barracks and now some rusting cannons.

 

The yellow color on the ground is all flower petals that have fallen from the trees…it was very pretty!

The grounds are beautiful with lots of flowers and big shade trees. There are two peaks to hike up to on the island. The highest point for Fort Rodney is 225 ft and for Signal Peak it is 330 ft. (That is almost as tall as the highest point in FL which is 345 ft!) The path to the fort although uphill was easy to walk, nice and smooth for most of the way with a tall ladder for the final climb to reach the top.

 

The hike to the top of signal peak was a bit more challenging with large steep boulders that we had to scramble over and around sometimes using all fours (hands and feet) to make it to the next level. When we came across a patch of shade we relished it as it was a very hot and humid day!

 

The pointy mountain tops in the middle of pic are the tops of the famous Pitons.

At the tops, both the fort and signal peak have amazing views of the coast. On a clear day you can see Martinique and in the opposite direction you can get a glimpse of the tops of the famous Pitons. (It was a bit hazy when we visited but we could still see them)


View of Rodney Bay from the top of signal hill….Moon is out there somewhere.

The island’s history starts somewhere in the 1550’s when Saint Lucia’s first French settler, Jambe de Bois used Pigeon island as a base for raiding passing Spanish ships. During the 18th century the British admiral George Rodney fortified the island, using it to monitor the French fleet on Martinique. It must have been easy to see what they were up to with the views from up here!

View from signal peak looking towards fort.

Early in it’s history Pigeon Island was a key factor in the Battles between the British and the French. In 1909 a whaling station was established at Pigeon Island. AĀ lime kilnĀ was modified to processĀ whale oilĀ in the 1920s, and did so until 1926. Then legislation to control whaling in 1952 put an end to this operation.

 

Kiln that was used to process whale oil in the 20’s.

Came across this shroom on one of the trails…ate a bit and felt funny for days! LOL… not really but wish that we knew more about mushrooms just maybe this one would have been good with some stir-fry!

After this, the fort was not in use anymore except as a small signal station by the US during WWII. Franklin RooseveltĀ visited the area aboard theĀ USS TuscaloosaĀ in 1940. The US Navy built a Naval Air StationĀ in 1941 and used the island as a communication station. A squadron of 18Ā PBY-5 Catalinas (amphibious aircraft) patrolled for German submarines. The station was deactivated in 1947.

 

In 1937 Pigeon Island was leased to Josset Agnes Hutchinson, an actress from England. When the US established a Naval Base at Rodney Bay in 1940 she left the island. When the navel station was deactivated in 1947 she returned to establish a thriving yachting industry, entertaining many guests and giving the island the reputation of being a paradise island. She relinquished the lease in 1970 to go back to England and retire. Remnants of her house still mostly stand on the property.

 

We had a great day exploring every nook and cranny that we could not wanting to miss out on anything. At the end of our hike we were rewarded with a beautiful beach to swim in, cool off and rinse all of the grime off from our explorations. What a fun day!

 

We rented a car recently too and have lots more stories to share so we will get working on that soon for all of you to enjoy. Until then….

Brian and Jennifer
SV/Moon

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Martinique to Saint Lucia

We hauled anchor at 8:30 in the morning…next stop the beautiful island of Saint Lucia!

We took a tour through the mangroves in Martinique on our dinghy before we left…beautiful!

It was a nice sail, not the best that we’ve had and definitely not the worst. Winds were ESE at 10 to 15 knts, waves around 4ft to 6ft with the occasional 7ft to 8ft and a combo of nice long swells, (We like this type best because we ride gently up one side and down the other) and there were also short choppy waves, (We like this type of wave least because they bounce the boat every which way and pound into us and give the boat a smacking. Makes for a uncomfortable ride and they slow down our speed).

These little boats are rented out in the bay we were at in Martinique. We thought that they were interesting…they look like bumper boats! The seating is circular and there is a grill in the middle!

A ship, shipping ships šŸ™‚

We’ve been hoping to see some whales but no such luck yet. On a sad note, whale hunting is still permitted and practiced in the seas of the nearby islands of Saint Vincent and Grenadines. I read somewhere that the locals sometimes use small sailboats to hunt the whales. Approaching the whale pod, harpooning one or two then using small explosives to finish off it off “humanely”. I also read in that it is not uncommon for whales to ram sailboats…go figure, obviously they are intelligent and they have associated boats as a threat. We even have a friend Mike on S/V Imagine, who’s boat was rammed by a whale between the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands. What a scary thing to happen while you are just happly sailing along! So with that on our minds, we are not completely dissappointed that we have not seen any whales. (By the way Mike and his boat were OK…)

Bye, Bye Martinique.

We sailed over lots of large patches of Sargasso Weed. I read that during Christopher Columbus’s voyage of discovery across the Atlantic, he was amazed to find floating mass of seaweed as far east as the Azores. It looked like a carpet of little yellow grapes so they called it sargazo (a generic name in Spanish for seaweeds with a brown colour and with an obvious stalk and root; the Sargasso Sea is “El mar de los Sargazos”). Sargassum is a brown algae and the ā€˜grapesā€™ are the air bladders, which keep it afloat.

So far what we’ve seen of St. Lucia is of course, beautiful! We are anchored in Rodney Bay one of the the northern most harbors. It is large and horseshoe shaped. We had originally planned on skipping this harbor because of the crime that we’ve read about happening here. However, when we were sailing by we were surprised to see so many cruising boats in the harbor and that changed our minds. (The crimes that we read about were mostly dinghy theft.)
There is a website that we regularly log onto to keep us updated on any reported crimes:
safety and security net

We take extra precautions when we anchor anywhere new and try to avoid any “hotspots”. This is also the site that we made our report on when we were boarded, threatened and robbed in lovely St. Maarten in January 2016.

Approaching Saint Lucia.

Anyhow, Rodney Bay so far seems nice and safe. There are lots or shops and restaurants at a close by IGA Marina and also some big grocery and hardware stores for supplies. There is a fort…imagine that another fort protecting a harbor. Seems to be a trend, huh? We hope to explore it, we never get tired of hiking up to forts that overlooks a beautiful harbors.

Approaching Rodney Bay.

This is the Veggie Boat and that is Gregory on board. It did not take him long to approach us once we anchored to see if we wanted to buy any of his veggies. We bought some beautiful tomatoes. Brian asked him if he had any plantains…me, eyebrows raised wondering why because I have never cooked a plantain in my life….Gregory said that he did not….but, low and be hold the next morning he was at our boat bright and early yelling “Moon, Moon”. After wiping the cobwebs out of our eyes from being woke up he was happy to tell us that he had brought us some plantains…of course we had to buy them since he got them special for us. So now I am researching recipes, we’ll let you know how that turns out.

We haven’t seen the famous Pitons yet and will probably just take some pictures as we sail by. Sadly the anchorage there sounds very crime ridden so we’re passing it up. We have one more harbor that we will stop at while we are here called Marigot Bay that sounds like it is absolutely beautiful.

Moon anchored in front of Pigeon Island. Fort Rodney is to the left hand side but knowing Brian we will have to hike both peaks!

Well, gotta go for now. Time to explore and take more pics!

Jennifer and Brian S/V Moon

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South West Martinique

Woke up to a dreary, rainy day this morning and thought that it would be a good day to get something posted on here. The last week has been pretty busy for us. We’ve visited five different anchorages and explored some of the most beautiful places in south west Martinique. For now our home is near a town called Le Marin.

Our newest adventures started at Anse a L` Anne a small beachside town that is across the Fort de France Bay from where we were last. It was a short hop across the bay to a whole different experience. Gone were the noises of the city and now we had familys laughing and playing on the beach in front of us while gentle waves pushed on the shoreline. This is a vacation resort town. There is a ferry that runs here throughout the day and it did get the boat rocking some but nothing like in Fort de France harbor where there were several running all day long. Talk about bouncing around, we did a lot of that there! We could happily tolerate one ferry here. The beach was beautiful and there was an abandoned Fort that we thought that we could explore on a nearby island.

We hopped in the dinghy and set out to explore the fort. It’s called Ilet a Ramiers. Sadly, when we got there and climbed up to the entrance we discovered the fort had a gate and barbed wire closing it off, disappointing.

Access denied!

Town in the distance that we have to motor the dinghy back to after trying to access Ilet a Ramiers. It was against the wind and waves the whole way back and was a very wet trip! We were lucky though because there were showers on the beach…unlimited water to rinse off in…now that was a treat!

While we were at the island the fort was on, the wind and waves really picked up. We had to beat right into the waves for about a mile back to the boat and got absolutely drenched! We were happy to discover that the beach that the boat was anchored in front of had fresh water showers and we were able to get all of the salt out of our crevices. Unlimited water! We don’t persay ration our water on the boat but we are conservative so that was a real treat! It’s amazing just how much salt can get into your ears! We spent two blissful nights here and thought it was time to move on.

The water was soooo clear!

Next anchorage was just about a hour away. When we had our boat on the hard in Saint Kitts we met a couple that had been down this way before, Janaki and Graham on S/V Leela. Brian and Graham got to talking and Graham marked a couple of his favorite spots in Martinique on our chart. Next stop was one of those anchorages he suggested, Anse Noire. Wow…words can almost not describe the beauty of this spot. It’s a small anchorage. When you enter it feels like you are entering another realm. A jungle like beach, covered in palms with tall peaked mountains behind and the most incredibly clear water. Heaven!

Yup, we are going into that crack in the rock!

Skinny, skinny!

We found a spot near the beach and dropped our anchor. We deployed our kayacks to explore. The water was so clear that you did not even need a mask to see all that was below. We paddled around into a nearby cove called Anse Dufour and found a small cave like crevice and went into it. I would say that we paddled in but most of it was so skinny that we had to use our hands pushing along the rocks to explore deeper until we could go no further. It was amazing!

That night the sky was so dark, the stars so bright, it was like we were in a fairytale land. The next morning we snorkeled along the rockwalls of the harbor. So much to see and so many different fish. We were taking it all in and did not get pictures to thoroughly show you what it was like but we got a few good shots.

Cute little cuttlefish…what big eyes you have!

Off again the next day we next sailed on to Grande Anse d Arlet, again about an hour away. We dropped anchor in this boat filled harbor but decided that we did not want to stay. We launched the dinghy just to take a harbor tour and get some pictures.

Aye, there be Pirates out here I say!

It is not just people in houses that collect too much stuff!

Anchored haulled again we were off to a new home. Not sure if we have mentioned this before but everytime “we” haul the anchor, meaning Brian is hauling the anchor (pulling it up) that he is doing this by hand. We do not have a winless like so many boats do and our anchor is a 45lb rocna. This is no easy task. My hero, my Hercules!

Off we were again to Les Anses d Arlet. Don’t most of these places sound pretty much the same? This town is known for it’s picture perfect church that sits right along the waterfront. It’s actually featured in lot of postcards. We cruised the anchorage here where it was pretty crowded and there was some swell. Not an ideal place to anchor on this day so we opted to go just a bit further and anchor just out of town. There was much less swell where we dropped anchor and only three other boats there. Much better for a good nights sleep. Thanks again Graham for a great pick!

Local fishermen pulling in their nets.

On the move again we were off to the big city of Le Marin. This is the main boating hub as it has just about everything and anything that you could need or want for your boat. There are chandeliers, mechanic shops and stores of all kinds galore!


Military History of Diamond Rock near Le Diamant, Martinique
In 1803, the British built a garrison on this small island and then armed it with cannons as a way to defend the St. Lucia Straits. They called the stronghold Fort Diamond. During the Napoleonic Wars, French naval ships repeatedly attacked it without success. Then, according to folklore, they floated barrels of rum towards the island and waited until the 107 British soldiers were inebriated before overpowering them. It still is French territory called Le Rocher du Diamant.

Along the way we passed between the mainland and Diamond Rock. See picture for some cool info on it, it has some crazy history!

LOTS of boats as we enter Le Marin harbor!

Lots of boats are already tucked into the mangroves in Le Marin harbor…or maybe some of them never even left the mangroves from last hurricane season.

When we approached the harbor the sight of the bay was littered with sailboat masts, there were so many! I wondered if thereā€™d be any space! As we approached the bay, the masts spread out and I realized the bay was massive. There was plenty of room. There are lots of shallows and very deep spots all in this bay. The closer you want to be by the town the more crowded it gets. Since we are a shallow draft boat we were able to find a nice cosy spot all on our own with no boats close by. Makes sleeping easier at night when you don’t have to worry about someone dragging down on you or vice versa. This was a good choice because we have had some pretty good wind gusts and lots of rain since we have been here. Being away from the crowd is a longer, sometimes wetter dinghy ride to town but it’s worth it for peace of mind. We can also watch our TV at night in the cockpit outside and not worry about disturbing anyone else’s quiet evening.

Walking along the streets in Le Marin on a very quiet day.

 

Historic monument of the 18th century. Built of cut stone, it is distinguished from other churches by its bell tower located just beside the building. Nestled in the middle of the second order, above the front door, Etienne, our patron saint watches over.
We did not go inside but read that the interior is equally astonishing with the framework that recalls the hull of an overturned boat.

Looks like Brian is trying to jump ship!

So, here we are for now. Not sure what the future has in store for us for hurricane season. Lots of ideas of what we are going to do we just have to settle on what and soon. It will be here before we know it! For now first and foremost we will be celebrating Brian’s birthday tomorrow and then back to reality šŸ™‚

A local Martinique race boat called a “Yole”. We are anchored somewhere in the masses in the bay behind.

View of sunset Le Marin harbor.

That’s all for now, take care. Miss you all!

Funday Sunday!

Brian and Jennifer S/V Moon

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Fort de France, Martinique

Fort-de-France is the capital of Martinique and the main port for Martinique. The center is laid out alongside Place de la Savane, (the city park) where most of the town’s main events take place.

It is also the home of a statue of Napoleon’sĀ Empress Josephine, an island native. The statue is decapitated. Yup, you read that right…it has no head! She was not well liked and the statue has been vandalized so often in protest of her influence in preserving the slave trade on Martinique that the city has stopped attempting repairs, and she remains headless.

Beheaded and splashed with “blood” the Josephine statue.

Schoelcher Library. The building was originally designed and built for an 1889 exposition in Paris before it was shipped to Martinique and reassembled.

Saint-Louis Cathedral right in the center of town.

Calvaire Chapel

We arrived just in time for the “Madin ‘GOSPEL FESTIVAL 2018”. Every year Martinique, more precisely Fort-de-France, vibrates to the rhythm of gospelĀ music. The festival has become one of the unmissable events for gospel lovers: artists from all over the world perform during three days of festivity. This had to be one of the loudest events that we have ever heard while at anchor in a harbor and we`ve even anchored in Montego Bay, front and center during Sumfest. (Talk about a loud jam…that party did not even start until after midnight!) The headliners for the gospel concert were actually pretty good and a big crowd showed up however the filler singers and bands were just plain loud! Needlessly to say we were thankful when Monday came around and they were breaking the stage down announcing that they were done!

One of the many pastry shops.

The town itself is pretty cool. It is a typical cruise ship town with lots of shops filled with the same souvenirs that you find in most, only with “Martinique” printed on them this time. Lots of clothing, jewelry and perfume stores too. It sort of reminds us of Saint Thomas, USVI. Many of the houses here are similar to the French Quarter in New Orleans, with narrow streets, ironwork and high porches with plantings of all kinds.

There are a couple of good grocery stores for stocking up on things that might be hard to find or expensive on nearby islands. Cheeses, olives, oilve oils and vinegars, wines and various snacks. There is also a open air market in the center of town that is a treat to all of your senses.


The minute you enter the market the smell of the spices can be almost overwhelming. The vendors have vegetables, herbs and plant branches for sale, for who knows what and of course every souvenir that one could possibly think of. The vendors that we tried to talk to did not speak English and our French is not good enough but we would of loved to know more about some of the odd things that they were selling.

We were anchored near the public beach and found out that this city likes to exercise on and in the water! Every morning starting before the crack of dawn yes, in the dark the locals start swimming and exercising. In the dark they swim, in dark, black water! There was even an exercise class that brought out stationary bikes and put them in about four feet of water, set up a speaker and had their class riding the bikes in the water. That was a first for us. But no worries we were wide awake to see all of these morning rituals because the town’s church rang its bells like crazy at 6 AM give or take 15 minutes every morning and if you were able to sleep through that it had a follow up which we fondly called the “snooze alarm” that would make sure that you were wide awake. This was charming…if you did not drink too much rum the night before šŸ™‚

Bell tower in the distance that kept us on our toes in the mornings.

One of the locals catching some rays at the beach.

Fort de France is a great town to visit but was definitely busier than most we’ve been to recently. Our boats documentation was recently renewed and it was a perfect place to have it shipped to. It went on it’s own journey to get here. It started out in Green Cove Springs, Fl then off to Jacksonville, FL, Alanta, GA, Cincinnati, OH, Miami, FL, Panama City, Pamama, Maiquetia, Venezuela, Port of Spain, Trinidad then finally arriving at Fort de France, Martinique. Thankfully to DHL we received it as planned. So now with that out of the way we are free to leave this bustling city and head out to new adventures.

We came across this military ship in dry dock when we were walking around a yard trying to find a hardware store. I was taking some pictures and we heard “security, security” over a loud speaker….we tucked tail and got out of there fast! Look at that gun on the front!

First stop for us was only about 3 miles away but a nice calm anchorage off of a pretty beach at the small beachside town of Anse-Ć -l’Ane. That is where we are anchored now and being a Friday night, while sitting on the boat we are listening to a local band from shore that is actually quite good. They have almost a Cuban flair. Exploring the area tomorrow and always we’ll take lots of pics. Take care for now. Miss you all!

Saw this sign in a store front…never thought that we would see Alabama along side London and New York!

Jennifer and Brian SV/Moon

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Martinique

Martinique is a small island and an overseas region of France. Its nearest neighbours areĀ DominicaĀ andĀ GuadeloupeĀ to the north,Ā BarbadosĀ to the southeast andĀ Saint LuciaĀ andĀ Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesĀ to the south. The terrain here is mostly mountainous and volcanic in origin, with the coastline featuring many beautiful sandy beaches.

Columbus sighted it on his initial expedition in 1493 but he did not stop. Martinique played host to its first European ā€œtouristsā€ in 1502 when Columbus landed here during his fourth voyage. Dubbed Martinique by Columbus, the island was inhabited by Carib Indians who had driven away the Arawaks (both tribes had come to the island from South America). The island was called Madinina (Island of Flowers) by the Caribs. Martinique was claimed by France in 1635. France and Britain fought over the island until 1815, when France prevailed. In 1946, Martinique became a Department of France and in 1974 a Region of France, its current status. It is true when they say, that modern day Martinique is ā€œa little bit of France in the Caribbean”.

A town that we sailed by on our way to Saint Pierre.

So far we really like it here. Our experience has been much different than when we visited Guadeloupe. (The only other French island that we have sailed to) It seems like there are more people here that can speak English or maybe we are just getting used to everyone speaking French. Heck, we can even understand some of what they are saying!

View of the beach while we are anchored in Saint Pierre’s harbor.

View of the beach while we are anchored in Saint Pierre’s harbor.

View of the beach while we are anchored in Saint Pierre’s harbor.

We have never been to Paris but this place is a lot like we imagine it would be, other than being on a tropical island. And the food….yum! Finally we have been able to get good cheese, bread and a great assortment of grocery items. To quote a cruiser that we met here, “It’s like we finally found civilization!”

Rare glimpse of Mount Pelee peaking from behind the clouds. Taken from the boat.

Mount Pelee in the distance, hovering just above the town.

We sailed into the town of Saint Pierre where we cleared in. The town is drop dead gorgeous and full of history. A volcano called Mount Pelee, sits high above the town.

 

Looking towards the harbor in Saint Pierre.

Mount Pelee has been quite active over its life. Thankfully they say that it is not active right now. In the Caribbean there are lots of other active volvanos and most of them seem to be connected in some sort of way or another so you never really know. This volcano is a huge part of the island and it is a major tourist destination. Mount Pelee erupted in 1902 and at the time Saint-Pierre was the capitol of Martinique. The damage from the volcano was so bad that they moved the capitol to Fort de France.

Saint Pierre, Martinique was first settled in 1635….now that’s a looong time ago! By the time the twentieth century came around, the city had grown to a population of more than 30,000 residents and the town was thriving. Sometimes called it theĀ “ParisĀ of the West Indies”. Up to twenty-five ships were anchored in the bay at any given time, proving the area’s popularity. By the very early nineteenth century, St Pierre was considered one of the most progressive of all Caribbean towns and featured modern city amenities such as telephones, trams for areaĀ transportation, and even electricity.

On May 8, 1902, Mt. Pelee erupted, and in a matter of three minutes transformed the village of St. Pierre into the scene of wreckage and devastation. Only two people in the entire village are said to have survived ā€“ one of which did so because he had been jailed for the night for public drunkenness, Louis-Auguste Cyparis, who later toured with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. His jail cell is a popular attraction.

Here is a good site if you want to see some photos and read more about the eruption:
https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/benchmarks-may-8-1902-deadly-eruption-mount-pelee

Our dinghy on the beach and moon anchored in Saint Pierre harbor behind her.

The new town of St. Pierre was built around the old St. Pierre ruins and the ruins can be seen everwhere when you walk throughout the town.Ā There is so much history and it was amazing and humbling to be somewhere where such devastation had taken place. It is a great display that we humans can rebuild and continue on from such a tragedy.

Check out the fish tails on the left side of this shack.

As we know when a seaside town has such an event much is washed into the sea. For me this was an upside…lots of chaney on the beach! I had blast treasure hunting while we were here!

While we were really enjoying hanging out in Saint Pierre apparently Moon was not happy being anchored there. We woke up one morning about a mile offshore. During the early morning hours our anchor had drug! It had been a windy night and we were anchored in about 25ft just off of a deep shelf. Normally we would have set our anchor alarm but for some reason we did not when we arrived. As we lay in bed we thought that it was a bit rougher than usual in the anchorage, almost like we were at sea. We took a look out the window and discovered that we were at sea! Thankfully there were no boats or reefs behind us and we just drifted safely away…it could have been much worse. So we decided to take Moon’s hint and we hauled our dangling anchor and headed off to visit a new town.

Cool bird nests that we saw high up in the trees in the city park.

It really does take a village…look at these guys all working together to haul in a fishnet from the shoreline.

We ended up in Fort de France, Martinique’s capitol. Wow what a town! This is a big and bustling city! We are anchored at the foot of a big fort and right along the city’s town front. So much to see and do here but we’ve written enough for now.

Saint Louis Fort that we are anchored just below in Fort de France.

Hope that you are all doing good and in good health. We know that it is the start of tourist season back at home and we are soooo lucky to be playing tourist here! Miss you all!

Jennifer and Brian SV/Moon

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Touring Dominica

Hi there, hope that all of you had a great Easter. As we mentioned in our last post, we joined a BBQ that was hosted by the PAYS group in Portsmouth. It was a night full of fun! We got to meet fellow criusers, enjoy a french gyspy style band and entertainment and did we mention the unlimited rum punch??? With all of the rum dancing in our heads we had a great time and danced the night away in the sand under the full moon.

French band/circus entertainers that played for us at the BBQ.

We met French couple at the BBQ thfat asked if we would be willing to join them on a island tour. Sounded good to us so we made plans to take a tour with them on the following Wednesday. The tour started at 8:00 AM and a boat boy Titus came by our boat to pick us up. We were surprised that he stopped at two other boats before going to our friends boat. Unknown to us we had a group of six other cruisers taking the tour with us. The more the merrier, we thought to ourselves.

We thought that we really threw a wild party at the PAYS BBQ but this was the day after…Apparently the locals celebrate the day after Easter and the crowds really came out! The music was sooo loud and from more than one source so the harbor was alive with sound!

Our driver and guide Winston was waiting onshore and excited to show us all of Dominica. We piled in the van and we were on our way. Winston was great! He has lived on this beautiful island his whole life and he had so much to share with us. He was able to speak both French and English so we all could understand what he was saying, that is when we were not all talking to each other. With so many cruisers in the van the conversations were all over the place and it was easy to miss out on some of what Winston was sharing.

Winston explaining about some of the local crops to us.

He pointed out as many landmarks, flowers, trees, gardens and waterfalls that he could. I thought that his driving was excellent considering the conditions of the roads and the zig- zagging back and forth mountainous terrain. There were also lots of roads and bridges that were washed out from rivers that overflowed durring hurricane Maria that he had to navigate as well. All of this seemed like nothing to him as most of us were gripping the seats and biting our fingernails. Throughout the entire day he had a big smile and great attitude.

One of the many rivers that we crossed on our island tour.

We stopped at local gardens growing on the side of the road where Winston pointed out and explained the crops that were growing.

Off in the distance along the shore line here is where some of the Pirates Of the Caribbean, Dead Mans Chest was filmed. It was the scene where they had a big waterwheel that went astray on the beach.

We saw another Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest movie shooting spot, (beach scene with water wheel). He shared the church/school that he attended. Along the way it was so sad to see all of the hurricane damage to both the land and to people’s homes.

This shop boasts a painting of the oldest woman that lived in Dominica…she lived to be 128 years old. Winston told us that every person who lives to be 100+ in the country is well taken care of. They get $500.00 EC a month and all of their utilities are paid for by the government…even including cable TV!

Kitty joined us for our lunch break…everybody say cheese!

We drove through Kalinago Territory (original island inhabitants). We stopped at the top of a mountain for lunch where we were able to sit and see the Atlantic ocean far below us. I was even able to enjoy a vegetarian lunch that was outstanding! Rare occasion for me to also get to really enjoy a nice meal at a local restaurant too.

Emerald Pool waterfall from a distance.

Emerald Pool waterfall.

Look it’s us! Oh, Hey there!

Our next main attraction was waterfalls! We first stopped at the “Emerald Pool”. A short walk lead us to a beautiful waterfall cascading into a pool beneath that we could swim in. Such a beautiful place! It was pouring rain on us as we hiked down and for most of the time that we were there but it was still fabulous.

Trafalgar Falls, known as the “Momma and Papa falls” to the locals.

Some of the gang walking back from Trafalgar Falls.

Next we drove to the “Momma and Pappa” falls, Trafalgar Falls. A short walk from the parking area lead us to these very tall falls, (125 ft and 75 ft). What a breathtaking sight! Unfortunately we were not able to swim here but we really enjoyed the the views.

The earth bubbling…bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Looks like a witches brew!

Last stop for us was at a bubbling hot spring. I can’t remember what it was called. As we pulled in you could really smell the sulfur in the air and you could see smoke from the heat rising from the ground. The water bubbling up from the earth was a cloudy gray and the ground would just let out these large gassy bubbles. It was pretty cool to see.

Chocolate bar Brian bought after our tour of where they harvest and make it.

Then it was time for us to head back to Portsmouth. We all climbed back into the van for what turned out to be a hair-raising ride back. Seems that driving over washed out bridges and temporary roads are even more scary in the dark! What we planned to be a 8 hour tour turned into almost a 11 hours. Thankfully with Wiston’s driving skills we all arrived back safe and sound to our starting point. What an amazing day!

Little beach that we found about 2 miles from Portsmouth anchorage.

Awesome picture that Brian took while he was snorkeling. Our secret beach is in the background…shhh, don’t tell anyone where it is!

We decided the next morning that it was time for us to sail on to new adventures. We dropped our mooring line and headed to the southern end of Dominica where we stayed for our last night in this beautiful country. When we woke up we headed to our next island destination, Martinique.

It was a rainy sail over but once again a comfortable ride. With the occasional storm moving over with downpours and gusty winds but nothing unmanageable. We are currently sitting in a nice harbor right outside of a really cool town full of history, ruins on every street and corner. The name of the town is St. Pierre. Up above us is Mt. Pele, a volcano. It last erupted in 1902 and destroyed this town and killed 30,000 residents leaving only two alive. More on this later though, so much to explore here. The best yet is that this is a French country, so…we will be eating lots of good cheese, bread, olives and embracing the French culture and yes, and learning more French!

Jennifer and Brian SV/Moon

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