A Caribbean Christmas
21st-26th December 2012
Our 20 mile passage across to the French Island of Martinique was way less eventful, read as “sigh of relief”, than the previous one when we did damage to the boat. The wind was ENE 15-18 knots with just a slightly choppy sea.
As we couldn’t use the jib, our forward sail, until the turning block had been repaired, we sailed with the mainsail and a little help from the motor arriving at Sainte Anne just before sunset.
Sainte Anne is a small, pretty village with a very large, protected anchorage on the south end of Martinique near the entrance to Cul-de-Sac de Marin. Club Med shares the same bay a little further around, and as most would know they usually enjoy the prime real estate sites with long stretches of white sand on the doorstep. That kind of paints a picture of the bay.The colourful village is very French with hardly any signage in english.The church and town square are the dominant features and the streets are lined with pastel coloured shops and houses.
We spent 5 days here and in between trips ashore to the patisserie or supermarché we sorted out our Christmas menu, wrapped prezzies and decorated the boat. On Christmas eve the town put on a nativity pageant, which Helen and Bridget went to as well as a Christmas Eve mass. Liam and I opted out of going to both of these events and instead socialised with friends on Sundancer 2 who had a last minute change of heart and sailed north to join us for Christmas.
The big day dawned with the usual exchange of gifts, followed by a French breakfast of croissants and to-die-for pan chocolates. Then we feasted on a traditional GWTW Christmas lunch of prawns, smoked salmon, roast chickens, veg and salads. To celebrate the day we were joined by s/v Skylark: Elizabeth, Ed and their wonderful dog Luna, as well as s/v Sundancer 2 : Ian, Helen and son Dylan.
With10 on board it was another great Christmas shared with sailing friends, Luna the wonder dog, who loved her presents, and for a change family as well.
Boxing day in the town square was lively. Craft stalls were set up early with vendors displaying everything from basket wares to home made jams. A band with drums, guitars and singers was soon in full swing and the whole place took on a party atmosphere.
After stocking up on a few last minute gifts from the market and of course some lovely fresh baguettes we moved on to Grand Anse d’ Arlet, a small fishing village a few miles further to the north. It was fairly laid back and quite when we arrived with just a few people taking in the sunset from the beach.
There didn’t seem to be much of a town here but there were a few restaurants and bars down on the beach. After a quick walk around and a sundowner ashore it was time to head back to the boat for a peaceful night’s sleep.Tomorrow we’d be heading north to the Island of Dominica.