March 05, 2015

Seaweed in the Cockpit

We finally all decided on a sail plan for the next few weeks and left Iles Des Saintes on Tuesday, Feb 24th destined for Dominica. The weather has been very windy but the trusted cruiser weatherman "Chris Parker" and Graham of course, predicted 1 maybe 2 days of manageable wind to sail. The sail took 3 hours and I guess could be described as manageable but not enjoyable. I was exhausted.

The bay we arrived at in Dominica was very cool. The island seemed to be straight out of Jurassic Park. Everything so green and larger than life. We got anchored and plugged in the wifi antenna and we all crossed our fingers and held our breath for a strong free internet connection and yippeee!!!! The perfect anchorage....strange wonderful new land to explore and internet ;-).

In my email was a message waiting from Rob saying that he had booked a flight to St. Lucia arriving in 3 days and not to worry he would just take a ferry to which ever island we were on. We quickly did some research and ferry schedules to Dominica were not good and given the high winds he might be done with boats by the time he reached us. We checked island hopper flights and no luck there either. We decided to sail to the end of the island, get a good night sleep and then leave first light for Martinique which has many island hopper flights  and is the next island in the chain right beside St.Lucia. Luckily we had just enough time to get tied up to a mooring ball before the sun had totally faded. We slept well that night.

At the crack of dawn we took off for Martinique. I was nervous because winds and waves were higher and our sailing guide spoke of catamarans capsizing due to funnel winds as you left the lee of the island.

The next four hours were insane. The waves were so high and some rolling. Graham had plenty of sail out because he said we needed more power to get through the waves. The boat was heeled over to a point that I have never sailed at consistently and then a wave would knock us even further over. For the first time in Salty Ginger history seaweed was in the cockpit. Water blasted at us from everywhere. Alex sat on the low side working the jib sheet and he said he was shocked how submersed we were in water. We had to have the door in as water was even under the dodger.

So stressful. No one really spoke except when we needed to maneuver. It was difficult to hear each other with the wind. Due to the length of the sail I hadn't set up the tethers in the cockpit. I will not make that mistake again. I was terrified we would lose someone. Luckily all we lost was Graham's beloved Tilly hat. He stood at the back at the helm on the high side and had to hold on the back pole and rail to stay put and we watched as it instantly was swallowed up by the huge waves.

I won't lie to you. I did lose it briefly and begged Alex to put his tether on and attach it to the deck jack-lines. He reluctantly agreed.

Graham was counting down the miles to us as each passed. Finally we reached the lee of Martinique and the wind and waves were blocked by the island. I can't tell you what a huge feeling of relief that was. Muscles I didn't know I had were "un"clenching. The boat settled out and sailed quickly, quietly and beautifully on the calm waters. Amelia joined us and her eagle eyes spotted something jumping way off in the distance. We all tried to see what she had seen. Suddenly we could see many pods of dolphins leaping through the water towards us. We began to whistle and cheer and they surrounded us performing their acrobatics. The past 4 hours disappeared and the four of us sat together watching feeling complete joy.

We found a beautiful anchorage in the main bay of Martinique which would be perfect for Rob's visit. We figured out the flight schedules and car rentals and prepared the boat for an awesome week.

We all really want a way to say thank you to Rob for always opening his home to us before we leave on a trip and when we return. I am trying to make his visit to SG like a visit to a resort....minus the hot water and solid ground ;-)...stay tuned.


  1. Wow! Busy week - I didn't realize Rob was going for a visit, I guess it makes sense that it was a last minute thing. Hahaha.
    That sail sounds crazy!! Heeled over so much there was seaweed!?
    Dolphins look beautiful - nice of them to put on a show for you!!

    Lastly, please give my sincerest condolences to Graham - I know how much he loves that hat. :)

  2. That sail sounds awful, Mandy says it sounds like fun, Joe says I want to be there, I say THANK GOD YOU ARE OK, it sounds like an awful sail, I would not want to be there. Use the tether always.

  3. I was on the edge of my seat reading this. Listen to your mother and always be tethered. �� that seed weed must have stunk and been aweful to clean up. I guess it's one of the down sides of living in paradise lol love hearing about your adventures.