From Bequia we sailed long and hard to push on first to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, then Le Marin in Martinique where we paused for several days to once again carry out chores, do some shopping, stop at a few favorite restaurants, and generally regroup. Time in the French islands is always refreshing as the laid back way of life makes places like Bequia look almost hectic. There is no rushing anything here.
From Le Marin we sailed around the west side of the island to anchor at the north end off St. Pierre where the cruising guides and charts show what seems to be a fairly wide shelf of shallower water. In reality, that shelf is extremely narrow, and once you fall off the shelf, water depths drop rapidly from 60 feet to hundreds. In addition, when tide and wind are contrary, conditions here are not pleasant, to say the least. Add in the proximity of all the boats, and you don’t sleep well here.
Just as we headed into the wind to drop the mainsail prior to anchoring, I heard a loud crack above, and I looked up to see two of our mainsail slides explode out of the sail track. I could not understand why the slides had failed as they had all been replaced just two years ago. I made a temporary repair with whipping and new slides and figured we would sort out the root problem when we reached a town with a sail maker.
At 0500 the next morning we raised anchor and began the long sail north to Portsmouth at the very north end of Dominica.