Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday 15th March

St. Pierre

14 44.437 N
61 10.675 W

The alarm went off at 06.00hrs and we were up and dressed minutes later. We spent the hour until 07.00hrs getting ready to leave on the next part of our voyage of discovery. We were sailing further down the Caribbean chain to Martinique. Our trip was to be 50 Miles for the day and we had high hopes of being able to sail most of it. As we hauled our anchor up I radioed Gypsy Palace to make sure Dale and Lorie were up as we hadn’t seen them yet, they said they were ready and would be right behind us so we began our motoring out of the harbour. As we went we hoisted the main sail, with one reefing point in place. The wind was very light; not nearly enough to blow your hat off never mind fill the sails so we motor sailed for a while. Then we unfurled the jib and watched as it flapped about all over the place for a while until eventually it began to build up and we were finally able to sail. The motor was turned off and we had an excellent sail down the coast, reaching an average speed of 6.5 knots. At one point we even saw 8.1 knots which made Gerry ecstatic. I suggested that we throw the fishing line in the water as we were doing a good trolling speed, Gerry wasn’t keen but I did it anyway. For the first 2 hours we just watched the line do nothing, I then hauled it and changed the lure for the plain piece of cedar plug. It also had no effect for the next hour so I gave up on the idea of fresh fish for lunch and fixed us some cheese, pate and crackers. Just when we had finished lunch and given up all hope of ever catching a fish our advance warning system went off with a ping (this is a clothes peg holding part of the line to the safety line) and the remainder of the line shot out into the water. We were so excited; it was our first ever bite! Gerry continued to steer whilst I gently pulled at the line, it had a very definite resistance to it and as I began to pull it in suddenly the resistance eased and I knew that whatever was on the line had made its escape. It was very disappointing; I’d already planned how it was going to be cooked! I hauled the line in to check that the lure was still attached and found that whatever had taken the lure was now missing a tooth as one was firmly embedded in the cedar plug – I had proof that this one got away! I threw the line back in the water but there was to be no more strikes, just as well I had Turkey breast already out for dinner. About 5 miles from our anchoring spot the wind died on us and the rain clouds began to gather. We furled the sails away and closed everything up just as the rain began to descend on us. We motored around the harbour area for a while so that the boat got a fair soaking – free water is always good to wash the boat down with! Then finally when the rain clouds passed we motored into the anchorage, chose a spot, dropped our anchor and hoisted our Q flag – we weren’t going to check in here. I set about preparing dinner whilst Gerry anchor watched to make sure we weren’t going to drift. A quick look to see if there was an internet connection found us checking emails and phoning Abigail on the skype network phone. It was lovely to be able to chat with her and make sure she was OK. The only sad note was that she told us that she had been forced to put Charlie, our pet dog, down just the day before. We knew he was in failing health and that he wouldn’t be for this world much longer but I had hoped to get home in time to deal with this and relieve Abigail of the burden of having him put down. In the end Abigail did the right thing for Charlie and we are very glad that she looked after him so well for the years we haven’t been there. We know it was a hard decision to make and much as we will miss the stinky puppy we are glad he’s not suffering. After chatting with Abigail it was time to type up notes, make some water and settle in for an early night, we have a 35 mile trip ahead of us in the morning.



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