Martinique: Take 4.

On Friday the 8th May the Cruisers Net informed us that the French government decided to relax the quarantine conditions as follows: All shops and businesses except restaurants and bars can now open from Monday the 11th. People can also meet in groups of up to 10 (with social distancing), walk more and travel up to 100 km on Martinique. There was no news from other islands and no other borders have been opened.

Annie making our masks.

Also, on the 8th May, Michelle our younger daughter, turned 30 and we had a WhatsApp video call to wish her well. We were sorry that we could not be in Sydney. How the time marches on – it feels like yesterday when this noisy baby, looking like Charles Bronson with a head of black hair, arrived in our lives. She has been a challenge and a pleasure since. See Shell’s 30th Birthday Video compiled by her friends from around the world – mostly from the UK, where she has lived for 5 years: https://vimeo.com/418094180

Michelle’s birthday cake.

The 15th May 2020 marked four years since we sailed out of Sydney on this adventure. It gave us the chance to reflect on how much we have seen and learned in the four years. We have heard statements like “You are so lucky to do this”. We don’t agree – it takes a lot of planning and hard work to do this. Had it been easy, a lot more people would be doing it. Doing this, also has the advantage of keeping our brains and bodies active.

That could be me!

It was almost five years since we saw the photo above of a Sun Odyssey 439 in the Jeanneau catalogue and I thought, but didn’t tell Annie: “Yesss! That could be me! (Before I started growing sideways instead of lengthwise). And here we are, still enjoying the experience and looking forward to our next year in the Pacific Ocean. The Covid-19 pandemic has tied us down in Martinique for two months, but hey, it could be worse.

Walking south to Caritan.

Arriving at the beach in Caritan.

Walking back to St Anne.

Annie having a rest.

Remy and Annie.

Illogical as it may seem, the relaxed Covid-19 rules allows us unlimited walking with no attestation approval required, but, not on the beaches! We have crisscrossed the roads and tracks on land for exercise and decided we would take a chance and walk on the deserted beaches, which are really pretty. We came across one other person, Remy from Bordeaux, who with his dad sailed a sister ship, a Jeanneau 419, from France to the Caribbean. They plan to transit Panama into the Pacific next year. Our list of buddy boats is growing!

St Anne’s statue celebrating the abolition of slavery.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning the yachties around Martinique listen in and contribute, on VHF radio to the “Martinique Cruisers Net”, to keep themselves up to date with the latest news and developments. This is expertly run by Steve in English and Patrice in French. This has been expanded to musical quiz evenings on Friday nights, covering Jazz, Classical and Rock, run by John and Les from Cape Town – I wish Jim Petrie was here to help me with the quiz. Sunday nights we have a general quiz evening hosted by our American friends.

Helmut on guitar.

and on saxophone.

Last Saturday night we had the talented Helmut from Kiel on “Kepasa” host a live show, playing the saxophone and guitar with vocals. We were tied up with a whole bunch of dinghies behind his Bavaria 44, drinking and singing along. He had been quiet for a month since his last show, due to a severe cold, but is now back in form. We look forward to another show this coming Saturday. See these links for the video’s: https://vimeo.com/419945513

 https://vimeo.com/419945912 

https://vimeo.com/419946139

We slightly overdid our walking, with a hike to Pointe Dunkerque on Saturday and on Sunday, with a long hike to Anse Meunier, Petite and Grand Anse des Salines. We got back footsore at lunchtime on Sunday after an early morning start, had a swim and a Nanna nap before we had guests over for sundowners.

Setting out under the trees.

The mangroves behind Anse Meunier.

Petite Anse des Salines.

Fever tree.

The route is well signposted.

Grande Anse des Salines.

Hour and a half after starting: a selfie.

Annie had to carry on to the end of the bay!

So, I took a rest.

Heading back to St Anne.

Mountain bikes by the dozen passed us.

There is no news yet about the borders between the islands opening, so we sign off with the hope that next time we will report on us leaving Martinique after 10 weeks to the islands further south. Until then, we leave you with a photo received from our girls in Australia – they seem to be having fun. Cheerio!

Karen and Michelle.