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.
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.