After a month of entertaining all our guests had flown home, and Ocean Angel seemed to have grown; just the two of us with all this space! The next four days were filled with all the daily chores – laundry, fuel refills, propane, groceries, boat repairs, boat cleaning and polishing – all the fun stuff. Using the high speed internet at Rodney Bay Marina to our advantage, we renewed vehicle registrations at home, searched for, and made reservations for a villa in Jolly Harbor, and confirmed our haul-out and off season storage at Jolly Harbor Marina, where we had decided to leave the boat.
As soon as the Angel was ready we sailed north to St. Anne, Martinique, where we anchored near our boat buddies, Gary and Patti on Native Dancer. These next few days would be the last we’d spend with them before parting ways, us heading north towards Antigua, and them south to Trinidad. This next week was fun just doing boat stuff. The four of us have become great friends over the past four years, and going our separate ways would not be easy. We shared happy hours, a last dinner out, and an emotional departure, the last not fun, but not saying good-bye, rather until we meet again. That day will come as surely as the sun rises.
In order to make the jump to Dominica, we try to lay over as far north as possible on Martinique’s west shore. About the only decent anchorage is at St. Pierre where we’d anchored the previous year in crowded conditions with a nasty roll, and we’d sworn never to go again, but we found ourselves with no real alternative. St. Pierre is nothing but a roadstead with a narrow shelf of sand hugging the shoreline. Once off that shelf depths drop off dramatically, and if you drag off the shelf in the middle of the night, chances are you’ll just drift off to the west. No underwater dangers, but surely a rude awakening.
You can clear in or out with Customs and Immigration at the Tourism Office, an easy walk from the waterfront; it’s all free of charge and exceptionally fast and easy. In no time I was back on the boat ready to relax for the evening to be ready for our early morning departure.
As the afternoon lazed on towards evening, a very new-looking 60ish foot sloop anchored out in the deep water, well away from all the other vessels on the shelf. The couple went ashore, my guess would be to the Customs office, and returned a short while later. We soon noticed a commotion on board with raised voices and gesturing hands. Oops, there was no dinghy off the stern! Someone had not tied the painter securely, obviously.
Up anchor and off they went. We heard them pleading on the VHF for eyes open. We watched them motor back and forth, further out each time, eventually disappearing over the horizon, but some hours later, lucky them, back they came with the dinghy in tow. Lesson learned here – I always use two lines to secure the dinghy for that extra measure of protection.
A beautiful sunset graced the evening, flat calm water gently swayed us to sleep with no boats close at hand and no roll; what a difference.