24/01/12 – The ‘Windies’ live up to their name….

After a wonderful and rather busy trip home for a very traditional Christmas, it was great to return to the sunshine and start our Caribbean adventure. Having completed some maintenance tasks in St Lucia, we finally headed off to the French islands, with the first stop in Le Marin in Martinique. The main port is a busy place, full of yachts and boatyards but a bit tired and dirty…..so after clearing in we moved out to the beautiful anchorages in the bay.

Maintenance mode…Up the mast fitting a new deck light …….and changing the generator oil…

The stunning route into Le Marin, Martinique……….and St Annes Bay.

Sailing up the coast of Martinique, we passed Diamond Rock, where the Royal Navy so infuriated Napolean by placing cannon on the summit, renaming it HMS Diamond and blasted at the French Fleet in their own back yard (it’s very close to Josephine’s home)….looks rather steep to even walk up! The trip to Isle de Saintes, the southern islands of Guadaloupe was a long day, 75 miles with a lot a wind. In fact the conditions have been sunny, very windy and some violent rain showers…..known as the ‘Christmas Winds’…..even though it’s January! It makes anchoring and sleeping a little challenging.

The historic (HMS) Diamond Rock……..anchored off St Pierre in a welcome calm spell…

Too tired to go ashore, so Fray Bentos it is!…….Charming Isle de Saintes, definitely worth the trip.

A colourful local ‘Saintes’ fishing boat………and a Dutch tall ship moors next us.

From Guadaloupe, another windy sail on to Antigua, where we met up with Russell and Tammy on Impulse once more, as well as some old chums from Brighton Yacht Club. The docks in Falmouth harbour are crammed with Superyachts, both sail and power…a truly amazing sight. We feel very small in comparison! Several are showing damage from the high winds and are under repair but all are gleaming.

…even the classic ‘J’ class yachts look small!…….Nelsons dockyard at English harbour..

Many of the historical building are still servicing boats…………..and relaxing afternoon tea at anchor….

It will be nice to spend some time here in Antigua, as there is so much to explore…..weather permitting…..and all of a sudden……we’re not in a hurry…..

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