2015 - Travels in the Eastern Caribbean, Year Four
Martinique for Christmas
After spending four months in Trinidad, it was nice to get off the dock and start sailing again. I left Trinidad and did an overnight hop to Bequia. I then did a day sail to Saint Lucia and a second day sail to Martinique.
After checking in at Le Marin, I motored around to Saint Anne to join a large group of cruisers there. A few days later we took a long hike around the point to the salt ponds.
Please click on an image to see a larger version or to see related pictures.
Trinidad - July to December
I have returned to Trinidad for the fourth year. A great place to catch up with friends, get necessary work done, and enjoy the Island.
Jesse's Taste of Trini tour should not to be missed. He starts in the morning from the marinas in the west and proceeds east across Trinidad to the East coast then turns south and returns across the center of the island. He stops numerous time to allow us to sample some of the typical "Trini" foods. By the time we returned we were stuffed.
Unfortunately the rain put a damper on the exterior festivities, but the dinner and dancing were spectacular.
It is the second largest mangrove wetland in Trinidad. It is located on the west coast of, south of Port of Spain, where the Caron River meets the Gulf of Praia. It is over 21 square miles of mangrove forest. We boarded a boat to motor through the narrow mangrove channels and out into more open waters. Along the way was saw a lot of wildlife. Once in the open water we anchored not too far from an island that is the overnight roust of the Scarlet Ibis. We then got to watch flock of them returning to the mangrove island.
I have visited the Temple on several occasions and am always fascinated by the story of a man, who made a promise to build a temple if he survived a storm at sea and then spent twenty or more years fulfilling that promise. There are also other Hindu Temples in the vicinity of interest as well.
The Pitch Lake is the largest deposit of natural asphalt in the world. It is mined and exported to places around the world. While not sounding interesting at first glance, it is a fascinating place. The wildlife is abundant.
Monday, October 5th, I returned to Asa Wright Nature Center for the 5th visit to this wonderful place. I was able to stay three days and was fortunate to meet one of the Premiere Trinidad wildlife photographers, Rodger Neckles, and the author of the "Field Guide to the Birds of Trinidad & Tobago", Martyn Kenefick. As I was staying longer, I got to trek down to the Oilbird Cave and see the strange Oilbirds. it was worth the hike in the rain to the cave.
For once, I was at a place where the weather permitted viewing, I had ready access to a steady place to put my camera, and it was not in the wee hours of the morning. So for several hours I sat/lay on the dock watching the Eclipse.
On Sunday the 9th of August, Trinidad held the first international competition for steel pan bands. The music originated in Trinidad and now has spread to the far corners of the world. There were bands from China, Japan, England, France and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Trini hospitality gave me a warm memory of the event. I moved away from the area where the cruisers were sitting to get a better view to take pictures. I chose a deserted row of seats, but as the show progressed the area in which I was sitting filled up with a Trini group. They brought food and drinks to share. As I i was near them, they insisted that I share in their food and drinks. I had a wonderful time.
Heading South - The Saints, Martinique, Dominica, and Saint Lucia - June to July
The weather this spring has been awful for traveling or enjoying the islands. Weather windows are few and far between and there is rain and cloudy weather. Did get out a few days.
Seven or eight years ago I visited Dominica and was treated to a excursion in the rain forest where we saw the local parrots. Since then I have wanted to come back and photograph them. I took off to the rain forest one Sunday morning with a guide, Alexis. He was determined that i would not miss any opportunity to photograph the parrots. After a workout that only a marine would enjoy, we did see and i was able to photograph one of the local Dominica parrots.
On the north side of Rodney Bay in Saint Lucia is the Pigeon Island park and Fort Rodney. We climbed up to the fort and to the observation hill next to the fort. Wonderful views and great pictures.
Saint Martin / Sint Maarten - May
The Lagoon, Saint Martin
A well developed island. A great place to do boat projects and a good place to fly to the US.
Just south of Saint Martin is Ile Fourche. A small uninhabited island with a very nice protected anchorage/mooring field. It makes an excellent stopping place to or from Saint Martin. We stopped and explored for a couple of days. The Snorkling was very good.
Antigua and Barbuda - April
Every spring since 1988 the Antigua Yacht Club has hosted a Classic Yacht Regatta for some 50 to 60 spectacular sailing yachts. They range from yachts less than 30 feet to ones approaching 200 feet or more. Cruisers flock to the enjoy the races and the associated parties or just to meet fellow cruisers.
A group of us rented a car and did a short road trip around the island. Especially interesting were the Devil's Bridge and Betty's Hope. The following week we were off to watch the West Indies Play England in Cricket. Cricket is a major sport in the former English Colonies of the Caribbean. We saw the first day of a five day test match.
On the Saturday before Easter, I moved around to Falmouth Harbor to enjoy the festivities before and during the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta that begins on the 16th. Good picture opportunities. Scouting out places to film the Classic, I managed to get some good nature pictures.
A weather window final came to allow me to head from Iles des Saintes to Antigua. Nice beam reach except for the first hour out of Deshaies, Guadeloupe where i encountered a line of squalls.
Iles des Saintes - March
Terre D'en Haut is one of my favorite harbors. We arrived here after a great sail from Fort de France. Aside from the great food, I have always enjoyed the walks around the island and its beaches.
Martinique - February
Le Marin - Exploring Martinique for the first time. The anchorage is a bit crowed but the Internet is good. Waiting for crew to arrive to start exploring.
After 3 weeks sitting at anchor in Le Marin, Carol and I moved out to Sta. Anne on Saturday. Wonderful morning exploring and a nice lunch at La Dunette. Just got back to the boat before the skies opened up. Rained all afternoon and night. Sunday we headed back to Le Marin to get read for touring the island on Monday.
Sabrina and Tom from Honey Rider, joined Carol and I for a island tour. Started in Le Marin and drove up the east coast until just north of Lorrain before turning towards the center of the island and south through the mountains and rain forest to Fort a France and home. The highlight of the tour was the Presqu'ile de Caravelle and the ruins of the 17th-century estate.
We sailed north along the coast of Martinique from Le Marin looking for a nice anchorage. Passed several highly rated ones that were either full or too rough. Finally found a spot in Anse Mitan. Anse Mitan is located across the bay from Fort de France and is a town frequented by tourists either from Fort de France or elsewhere on the island. A very nice anchorage and great restaurants.
Carnival in Martinique is very different in flavor than those in Trinidad or Grenada that I have enjoyed. The spectators are almost as dressed up as the participants. Each day is a different color theme. On Tuesday, it was red and black. Carol and I took the ferry from Anse Mitan to Fort de France and spent a very enjoyable afternoon watching the parade and the spectators with equal measure.
Fort de France
Fort de France is one of the most cruiser friendly cities I have visited in years. The dingy dock could be a model for any. We anchored on Thursday after the bustle of Carnival settled down. Plenty of space in a good protected anchorage. Spent our time walking around the city, enjoying the markets, and dining.
Saint Lucia, Rodney Bay - January
A great place to anchor with all the music that you can enjoy/stand. Spent much of the visit tending to a tooth ache and recovering from the dentist's efforts. A few quite times with friends.