Sunday 10 February 2013


There is something of a village atmosphere here. We are anchored off the little town of St Anne, on the south coast of Martinique, near the harbour of Marin. The boulangerie sells soft white baguettes, pains au chocolat and buttery croissants that melt in your mouth. Everyone speaks French, we buy camembert and we pay in Euros.

We are anchored about 400 metres off the beach near Club Med Boucannier, green roof tops on the beach, nestling in the palm trees, chic and glamorous on the edge of the lagoon. It is a typical Caribbean beach with silky warm water washing over soft sand backed with palm trees that rustle in the breeze. As the sun starts to set, a beautiful Spanish girl with a basket of brightly coloured garments is selling swimwear on the beach and Fatty buys a red bikini, encouraged by a large rum punch from the beach bar. This is Martinique, very different from the Caribbean islands we have seen so far.

We feel very lucky to be back in the warmth. Last week we landed in the UK in thick snow, such a contrast after three months away. It was great to see Tom at home and then a trip up to Liverpool to see Jamie. Board meetings over, tax return filed and it was off to Gatwick at 6am on Saturday morning. We had arranged for our regular taxi driver who delights in the name of Roosvelt Monrose, to meet us at the airport and by 5pm St Lucia time we are back on board Juno in Rodney Bay marina and ready for sundowners. A couple of days of cleaning and provisioning and we set sail for Martinique, beating into 20 knots of wind and a big sea but three hours later we are here in this peaceful anchorage.  A bowl of guavas, mangoes and papayas gives off a wonderful aroma every time we come up and down the steps of the companionway.

This morning we wake at seven to a still and cloudless sky and we take our dinghy, skimming across the calm water of the anchorage and around the point, to our favourite beach at La Salina. It has no shops, restaurants or facilities and is a 2 mile hike by land along the coast. The only mad-made construction is a disused concrete shack, shrugged deep into the sand, which appears to have been a make shift restaurant at some point in the history of the beach and which is crying out for development into a cool beach bar. Normally inhabited by only a handful of determined sun bathers, at this hour of the morning we have the beach entirely to ourselves. We anchor the tender in three feet of water in the sandy lagoon and walk along the beach, our footsteps printing on virgin sand, washed overnight by the waves that pulse around the headland from the south and sweep the beach clean.

At the northern end is a flat area of soft sand where Fatty leads a Pilates class with me as her only, and rather clumsy pupil. Yoga Sun Salutes in the early morning on a deserted beach, in the shade of coconut palms, facing into the warmth of the rising sun seems just right, followed by a swim to rinse off the sand. We dinghy back into St Anne, tie up to the dock and buy fresh baguettes then amble to the local market where we buy a bottle of Planters Fruit Punch and some spicy Creole marinade before heading back to Juno for a long overdue breakfast in the cockpit.

Soon we need to firm up our plans for the coming year; do we stay another season here in paradise or sail up the East coast of the US? Alternatively take a deep breath and head for the Panama Canal and the Pacific beyond, or return to Europe and back into the Mediterranean? The Caribbean is wonderful with perfect sailing winds and beautiful anchorages on picture postcard beaches. It sounds rather churlish to say, but having seen lots of lovely beaches and beautiful anchorages it makes us feel rather indolent and we miss the depth, history, variety and education of the Mediterranean. The Pacific is just too big an adventure for us at present with the boys still at university so we will return in a couple of years and maybe join the Oyster world rally in 2015. The US coast would be fascinating but it does mean that we would be a long way from the UK for another year and with my business commitments, my mother, Fatty's mother and the boys all in the UK we have decided to return across the Atlantic and enjoy another year exploring the culture and maddening idiosynchrosies of the Mediterranean, maybe heading further East this time towards the Greek islands.

So the real decision is whether we should sail Juno back from Antigua via the Azores to Portugal or ship her back on a freighter in May to Palma, where she can have her bottom cleaned and polished ready for another hot summer in the Med. Now, if I were to sail back I would need a crew - any volunteers?


  1. How lovely to read this when the rain drizzles on and on and on in Ireland! Happy travels. The Ossies

  2. Would love to help bring Juno back to Portugal, haha.

  3. If I get fired from Musoni I am on - just sitting down to England Ireland

    Amazing skies

  4. Rugby over for another weekend....and snow on the way again......put me down for the return trip!