The Caribbean

Anchored in Le Marin bay of Martinique. I stayed on my own for 12 days.

A few pictures from those days:

Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the warmth. Almost without seasonal stress.

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The family on the plane

The checked baggage of the three was full of spare parts and ropes for our ship. Some things are not easy to buy here and shipping takes too long and is too expensive. Therefore all visitors are used by us as couriers.

We had two of our three children visiting us, so the food preparation and especially the washing up was more laborious than usual, but it was fun to have almost the whole family together again.

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The plane from Germany landed in Fort de France in the evening, then you have to take a taxi to Le Marin. So my clan didn’t get there until around 11 pm. Since I didn’t want to make the relatively long way to the dinghy dock at the supermarket in the dark, I left before 6 pm and waited on land. It was not so easy to find the gap between the numerous yachts at anchor where the side waterway began. You also have to be careful when you drive between the ships with the dinghy, from some ships at anchor only the mast sticks out of the water!

When finally all came together, we noticed that the supermarket locks its premises at night. So we climbed around the fence. Fortunately that was possible. There is a small slope to a water arm and the barbed wire stops at some point.

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We drove back to the ship in a fully loaded dinghy. Finding the ship was a challenge. Our globe on board actually helped us to find it. It is illuminated at night and so we can look for the ship with the little round blue light in the window.

Mathias experienced the following day that driving a dinghy can be dangerous, He had set off to buy spare parts when suddenly a fishing line got caught in the engine. The line was pulled by an incoming ship, they had forgotten to draw it in. As they tried to free the engine, the boat moved and the fishing hook dug into Mathias‘ little finger of his left hand, where it broke off. . Mathias had to pull it out with pliers and there was a bloodbath. The crew on the ship was very sorry about the whole thing and they raided their on-board pharmacy to patch up the finger and gave Mathias a bottle of rum as a consolation. Let’s see when that will be used up โ€ฆ.

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Leaving Le Marin was not easy. Our stern anchor had got caught in various other chains on the seabed and we had to recover it and its chain with the help of the halyard, the dirk and the power of the electric winches. In addition, the wind was blowing unfavourably and we were in danger of drifting into the shallow water next to us while we were weighing anchor. To avoid this I drove with the dinghy alongside the ship and pushed it in the right directionlike a tugboat in the harbour of Hamburg ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We went to the more southern Caribbean islands: St. Vincent, Bequia, Tobago Cays, Palm Island. Where we met two other ARC+ ships.

On St.Vincent our crew tried to find a supermarket after clearing in. But that proofed to be difficult in the Blue Lagoon, so they walked and walked. Until they had walked all the way to Kingstown. That is a one hour walk and in the midday-heat. For the way back they took one of the St.Vincent minibuses. These buses only know stop and full speed. During the drive, they play loud music, probably to drown the panic screams of the passengers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course Mathias does not remain idle at anchor. Besides the ongoing repair work, i.e. replacing all the clamps on the water pipes ๐Ÿ˜‰ , he also did some nicer work: The spi-halyard was covered with a shafe protection, so hopefully it will not have to be shortened again after the next use. The SSB radio got additional ground plane.

Bequia on shore

On New Year’s Eve, the crews had arranged to meet on the beach for a barbecue. During the day we were busy with preparations: baking onion bread and buns. In the solar oven this takes the whole day, because only dough of approx. 250g flour fits into the tube in one go. Also, the small Cobb coal grill had to be pulled out of the back corner of the storage space, salad prepared, meat defrosted and picnic equipment packed. Maika made vegan barbecue burger.

Talking about solar: On three days at anchor we used 2 x 8 kWh and 1 x 9 kWh of electricity, the water desalinator was running for 2 hours each day and the washing machine was also running. Our solar panels were not shocked by that, they had the batteries fully charged again in the afternoon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Around 5 pm we met on land. The children including our grown-ups enjoyed themselves playing Uno. We all spent a nice evening.

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At 11 p.m. suddenly only the crews of the three ARC+ boats remained and all of us were very tired. „Sailor’s midnight“ is usually already at 9 p.m. local time. After 9 everybody falls into bed. It’s dark here from 6 p.m. and if you’ve been in the sun all day, or swimming or sailing, you’re really tired at 9 p.m. and it feels like the middle of the night. On New Year’s Eve we decided to use the last hour before the real midnight to clean up and get back on the boat. We sat on our sun deck and bravely held out until midnight to watch the fireworks.

2020

In the new year we first sailed to Canouan, but we did not like it there. The bay does not have crystal clear water, one becomes demanding. The village should also not be nice as the crew of the Oktant reported. So we quickly went on to the Tobago Cays. There it is pure Caribbean feeling. Turtles and rays in the water, small palm tree islands around you. The yachts are all anchored behind a reef, there are no villages.

In the Tobago Cays our extensive spare parts and tool collection was appreciated. At the Oktant the autopilot had failed and they wanted to make a replacement with the help of a tiller steering autopilot. For the planned mounting it would be best to use a jigsaw. The question who carried a jigsaw on board triggered only amusement, until it was our turn. Well, we just packed up our entire household and among it is Mathias‘ jigsaw, which he has owned for ages. ๐Ÿ™‚ In addition, we were able to supply some material to make a template. Nevertheless the Oktant still had to make a sacrifice. The drawing board of the co-skipper was cut up to make the mounting.

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Since the Tobago Cays we were surprised that the chirping of the crickets carries so far. Every evening they were active. They responded to music. One evening one of us sat in the corner of the half-closed sliding door and it chirped right into his ear. The mystery was solved: We have a cricket on board as a stowaway! Let’s hope he finds something to eat. Meanwhile we are already missing something, if he stays quiet in the evening.

Palm Island

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At this anchorage we experienced the anchor breaking loose during the night for the first time. In a squall, the wind increased considerably and we suddenly drifted off. That was at 2 a.m. But the anchor alarm woke us up and Mathias, Lukas and I went on deck and we anchored again. Maika slept through the whole action.

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Movie theatre 2:

Because Maika and I wanted to watch the 5th season of the Poldark series, we opened a second movie theatre. One evening we were quite surprised when suddenly in the middle of the film the sound of our DVD failed. Nothing helped, it had disappeared, until the indignant comment came from above: „Turn off the Bluetooth, we have your sound here!“ – Our new external Bluetooth speaker had connected to our computer in the port hull instead of the computer upstairs in the movie theatre 1 ๐Ÿ™‚

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Along the coast of Martinique with a good wind Mathias and I both sat at the helm. Suddenly we discovered a big tree trunk floating in the water in front of us. We tried to avoid it. As we approached it, it turned out to be a whale! It was about 8-10m long and swam past us in a distance of about 5-10 meters. So we fulfilled the statistics – for now there are no more whale collisions or near-collisions in sight ๐Ÿ˜‰

Viel Wind vor Martinique

In the meantime Lukas has left the ship and Mathias‘ brother, Krischi, has arrived. We are lying in the bay of St. Pierre, Martinique. We absolutely had to go there because Maika bought a vanilla perfume here a few years ago that she liked so much. Unfortunately the shop no longer carries the perfume. But they gave us the source. One of the shops is near Le Marin, which we should have known earlier. But what’s the internet for? You can have the perfume sent directly to Germany ๐Ÿ™‚

St. Pierre

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On this track you can clearly see that our first anchor attempt was not crowned with success. The anchor had caught a piece of roofing felt and did not hold. With 60m chain out you can make a big detour.

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In the land of the rainbows

By now Maika is also on her way back to Germany. She left here from St.Pierre with the public bus. It was delayed. It arrived a quarter of an hour after the scheduled departure time and only signalled to those waiting that they should not get on and that it would come back. With 40 minutes delay it finally started.

We continue our journey north. The next stop is Guadeloupe:

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