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Caribbean

Date: 14-29/04/2009
(all pictures are clickable)

Most pictures were made by my friend Sofie.

As one of my friends never been into the Caribbean, we just spend some time around here and enjoying the places. We also enjoyed sailing in warm temperatures and relatively constant winds...

We went from Martinique northwards to Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda. From there we descent, stopping (at other places) in Antigua, Guadeloupe and Martinique. My friends flew back home from Martinique and I sailed the boat back to Trinidad, where it still is...

Way up Way down

Martinique

A classic arrival place from a trans-Atlantic crossing, Le Marin is also a place where many charter boat companies are. It is also a loading/unloading place for yacht transport services... Dockwise being one of the biggest, if not the biggest, company in the world to provide this service.

The typical "yoles".

But then the yoles are not the only boats on the water. As you can see one can sail with little boats and sometimes with some imagination and handy hands...

At the opposite side of the town of Le Marin, you'll find a mangrove. Mangroves are very important for the tropical and subtropical environment, but are disappearing... There is a small river there, on which you can navigate with a dinghy. You'll see typical fauna and flora...

Le Marin is not the nicest place to stay in Martinique, but you'll find everything there. We went to St Anne, a more quiet place, where we ate the best accras (fritters of codfish or shrimps) I know: at Chez la Martine. :-) Accras are typical for the Caribbean, although I heard it has Portuguese origins (maybe because of the codfish ?).

On our way to Guadeloupe, we stopped at Les Anses d'Arlet. The place has translucent waters.

The crew doesn't look too unhappy... ;-)

Les Saintes (Guadeloupe)

While walking at the other side of Marigot, we've seen this...

Scenes from a beach at Marigot...

From Les Saintes, we sailed up north towards Antigua. We stopped overnight at Malendure, close to the site of the Réserve Cousteau, a diving and snorkel reserve. On our way there, Sofie helmed alone for the first time. She did very well: her mother and I were very proud ! She had her personal speed record of 10.2kn and enjoyed the trip ! :-)

Sofie at full speed ! ;-)

Antigua

We arrived at English Harbour, a place I like a lot. The place was crowded as the Antigua Classic Week was ongoing. It's a race for older boats. I was very pleasantly surprised there, to see a friend I haven't seen for 2 years.

Some pictures of the boats during a leg in the Antigua Classic Week... It was then that Sofie and I saw a leatherback turtle (critically endangered !) of minimum 1.2m in length, just alongside the boat ! Impressive. I've read they can grow up to 2.7m in length !!!

From English Harbour, we sailed towards Jolly Harbour. It's a nice marina which 'melted' in the nature: no houseroof passes the treetops.

Some pictures of Antigua...

The "pirate" captain and his crew...

She did it with a smile, with no rehearsal from the first trial and made the knot perfectly ! Her daughter and I were very impressed ! Maybe she wanted to do it perfectly for the custom officer who was looking at us... ;-)

Barbuda

Barbuda is a small, quite unspoiled, island north of Antigua. It's part of the same country. It has nothing to do with the Barbados island, which is much more southwards ! We enjoyed some snorkeling here.

Guadeloupe

From Barbuda we sailed back southwards. We stopped in Antigua and Guadeloupe. Underway we had some showers and serious windgusts (> 40kn of wind, or 8-9Bft).

Our next major stop was in the Marina Bas-du-Fort in Guadeloupe. It's a big modern marina with many bars and restaurants. As we, all 3 of us, are big animal lovers, we quickly made friends... ;-)

We rented a car and visited some places on the island.

In the tropical forest... Orchids
Pointe des chateaux (we missed the sunset by 5min...)
Chute du Cabret
Chute du Cabret Chutes du Cabret

Traveling is learning about the local customs and culture. So we HAD to try this local bar/restaurant... After the nice local meal, we had to taste the home-made schrubb (rhum with macerated orange - they drink that for Christmas, and we felt like it was Christmas !!).

Martinique

Again we had some white squalls while sailing to Martinique: winds upto 45kn and heavy rains... But these never last long.

Rocher du Diamant

Before my friends left, we visited the rhum distillery of La Mauny. Here they produce 2.000.000 l of rhum in 3-4 months time! The rhum is made out of sugarcane. They still use a steam machine (fueled with unused remains of the sugarcanes). The steam is used:

On the left the cane crusher, right the presses One of the 4 presses; on the foreground the juice The remains The combustion for the steam machine
Part of the steam machine Distillery tower Storage of the white rhum Aging process of the brown rhum

When my friends went back to Belgium, I sailed the boat to Trinidad, where today (8/11/09) she still is, waiting for the next adventures...