Sail on to Martinique

We arose early on the morning of April 12th, backed sharply away from the mooring off Roseau, and turned south towards Martinique, the most northern of the Windward Islands. Winds were light out of the west until we cleared the southern tip of Dominica where we were immediately exposed to the full force of the trade winds, ESE at 15 to 20 knots. Making the turn towards Martinique brought those winds right again, hard on the bow. Joy keeps asking me, “When are the winds going to come on the beam or astern?” I have begun to wonder myself.  
We passed several boats who were struggling to hold course towards Martinique; several gave up the battle and bore off a bit to the west to make for an easier heading I was thankful for Ocean Angel’s windward ability.

Approaching Fort de France Martinique
Approaching Fort de France Martinique

As we sailed south along the coast in the lee of the island, we encountered several poorly marked fish farms well out from shore. They are probably easier to spot at night as the small buoys are lit, but during daylight hours, you have to keep a sharp eye out for them. Just as we turned the corner to enter the big harbor at Fort de France, a vicious squall developed all but obliterating our view. It passed quickly though, and we were able to hold course towards our destination – Anse Mitan.
Entering  Fort de France Harbor
Entering Fort de France Harbor

At the 2010 SSCA Melbourne Gam, we sat in on a round table discussion led by Kathy Parsons, and one of her bits of wisdom about cruising in the Windward Islands was to anchor in Anse Mitan rather than off down-town Fort de France. There’s two reasons for this: 1, the anchorage is very protected, and 2, the little town is distinctly European. That means it’s quiet, laid back, and friendly.
There was one other awesome little thing we liked about Anse Mitan; we found the very best family run French bakery in all the islands serving bread and pastry without equal. 
Anse Mitan
Anse Mitan
 The Reef Provides Some Protection
The Reef Provides Some Protection

We anchored just inside the small reef in the center of the harbor giving us privacy astern and off to starboard. The reef also provided some relief from the constant ferry wakes during the day, and after rolling for weeks, that relief was most welcome.

Anse Mitan