St. Lucia was great – it gave us some time at the dock to do some chores, a little boat and dinghy maintenance, and topped off the water and gas tanks and even left time for a delightful sushi dinner.
We had a lovely sail from St. Lucia to Martinique even with the stow away acquired! Just kidding, we knew he was on board. Stow aways have been a running joke ever since we cleared customs in Dominica, and that was a serious question on the customs documentation; “do you have any stow aways on board?” Well if we had stow aways we wouldn’t know they were there, and if we did know they were on board, they wouldn’t be stow aways now would they? My dad and I thought that was quite funny, but I digress. We had to jet down to St. Lucia for April 1st in order to pick up my dad’s best friends son, Jon. Spelled differently but phonetically the same name as my dad’s so it’s a good thing I’m not one of those weird kids who calls their parents by their first names otherwise we would be in for a confusing month.
We arrived in Martinique and were pulling into an extremely crowded St. Anne looking for a parking spot when we hear this guy frantically yelling, “I USED TO HAVE ONE OF THOSE!!!”. He meant a Mason (Entropia is a Mason 44), not a sailboat. It’s actually pretty cool when we meet people who own, have owned or know what a Mason is because there were only about 190 built between 1980 and 1999. Ours is number 162. We didn’t really have time to stop and chat, it’s not like we can just pull off to the side of the road, so we sort of awkwardly yelled “COOL!!” and had to carry on to find a spot to anchor. “Like finding a parking spot in Manhattan!”, my dad would say repeatedly to anyone we cruised past. We thought it was funny, even if it was the billionth time he’s told this joke.
We anchored and set to work fixing the backstay. We were finally able to replace our steel bar with the hydraulic backstay we picked up in St. Lucia. Hooray!
After it was all in place, we worked on adjusting the rigging. One way to do this is to hang a bucket full of water from the top of the mast and pull back on the backstay until it hangs aft of the mast.
About an hour later, we heard the distinctive sound of an outboard puttering along side the boat. We were being boarded by George, the guy who was excited to see a Mason, and his wife June. We chatted for awhile and invited them back for cocktails after we cleared customs so they could reminisce and we could pick their brains, seeing as they had owned their mason about 3 times as long as we have had ours. They came back for drinks and it was awesome to chat with them! It turns out they live in the Caribbean on their motor-sailor during the winter and in the summers they move home to Nantucket. Not only were they fellow Mason-ers but also fellow New Englanders. He gave us his boat card so we could keep in touch, and it had this quote on the back that I liked!
The sun started to set and we noticed it was super hazy, not weather you expect to see in the Caribbean. Someone later told us it wasn’t haze but sand blown over from a sandstorm in the Sahara! When we woke up, I wiped a good amount of it off the solar panels.
The next morning, we went into the town of Marin and explored, had some ice cream and came back to the boat to snorkel over a reef nearby. All in all, it was a pretty great day. We ended it wandering around the quaint town of St. Anne and found a pop up restaurant in an alley street that served only accras (catch of the day fried in pastry dough) and cheap French wine. We couldn’t have been happier!
Dominica was next and the sail there was unreal. We have been so lucky with the wind and weather providing such optimal and speedy sailing conditions between the islands! To make the sail even better, WE CAUGHT A MAHI!!
We celebrated with some sashimi immediately and stuck the rest in the fridge for dinner that night. We arrived in the harbor, grabbed a mooring and got a beer on shore to celebrate. It was a peaceful night in Dominica followed by an awesome Mahi dinner on board.
We woke up and I called a friend of a friend who had said she may be able to take us around and show us some of her favorite islands spots. I called her when we got to shore, and she was so nice she met us 2 hours later on a Wednesday with no notice! While we waited for her, we wandered around the botanical gardens. They were beautiful!
We had an amazing day with her exploring the nature island – we went to the Emerald pool, Jaco falls, Trafalgar falls and capped it off with a soak in a natural hot spring. What a freaking day!!
When we arrived at the dock with our new friends and groceries for dinner in tow, we saw our dinghy lifted out of the water and half deflated on the dock, a site one never wants to see. We unfortunately said our goodbyes to our friends, having no idea how long this would take to fix.
A British couple we met on the dock while surveying the situation said our stern anchor dragged and the dinghy got stuck underneath. It must have been banging around in the swells and hit a nail sticking out because it popped the entire right pontoon. They were kind enough to lift it out of the water and put it on the dock, but unfortunately not before the motor was submerged. They gave my dad a ride back to the boat to collect the patch kit so we could get to work re-inflating the dinghy. There were many periods of waiting so we decided to crack the bottle of wine on hand while we sat around literally watching glue dry.
As riveting as it was to watch glue dry and drink wine, we were pumped when the dinghy was floating in the water! The bad news was that the motor was not starting, so we pulled out the oars and began to row. Not 5 minutes into our long row back to the boat did the same British couple appear to in their dinghy to rescue us! They towed us all the way home and even offered to give us a spare outboard he had onboard his Oceanis 71. We declined his unbelievably kind offer because we were quite optimistic about getting it fixed early the next morning. We had heard rumors of a local who had been fixing on outboards since 1964!
The next morning, we got the motor to shore and found his shop, which was sort of just an area in the woods behind the beach. A little sketch, but who were we to judge?? Not one hour passed and he had the motor running, all for 30 bucks! We were ecstatic. Yay for the sketchy shop in the woods behind the beach!
We set sail for Iles des Saintes and arrived just after dark.
Ile des Saintes has been one of my favorite stops this trip. It’s a cluster of 3 islands south of the main island of Guadeloupe. When the sun rose, we wandered around early in the morning for an hour or so before buying croissants, baguettes and more of the French wine we’ve become so addicted to. Back to our diet of carbs and wine…I’m not mad. We also had homemade ice cream for breakfast…
Feeling fat, full and happy we dropped the mooring and set sail for Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe. We had another unbeatable sail (trolling for Mahi or Wahoo but unfortunately didn’t catch anything today!) and dropped the anchor in the early afternoon. Pigeon Island is a small Island off of the town of Boulliante that is home to the Jacques Cousteau Marine park and some of the best snorkeling we’ve had on this trip! Tomorrow we plan to set off early to make it to Antigua. There’s supposed to be a killer barbeque for cruisers on Sunday - rum punch and seafood galore. Can’t wait!