Travel Journey 7 | Martinique-Curacao

Travel Jorney 7 | Martinique – Curacao 

Time flies. We are already staying at Martinique for 3 weeks before we know it. We enjoy the nice weather and the simple things like getting fresh baguettes, French cheese and fruit on the market every morning. The nice weather has a side note, incidentally. Since our stay here in Martinique it rains at least 4-5 times every day. These so-called “squalls” bring a lot of wind and rain with you so that you are wet to the bone within a few minutes. Luckily there is the sun every time after a shower to compensate that you will be dry not much later. The rules we have drawn up on the Atlantic with regard to leaving windows open will still be enforced this week. When inquiring whether it always rains so much, it appears that this has only been the case for a number of years. Here they also notice that the climate is changing, except that nobody has any problems with this because crops grow better and the island is green all year round.

We rent a car to not only discover the island from the water but also to explore the interior. We drive to the north of the island and decide to walk through a piece of jungle in search of a promised waterfall. Just like every day I put on my walking flip flops. The trail where we arrive appears to be closed due to the large amount of water that has fallen in recent months. We would not be men if we decided to continue at our own risk. Initially we walk along a beautiful river with a lot of overhanging bamboo, but the higher we get, the wetter it gets and I start to regret my choice of shoes. The last hour we ascend, we walk along something that once should have been a path. Swearing on all the mud and the steep path I try to find my way. In the meantime I walk barefoot and I realize that we also have to go back. Our clothes are soaked with sweat and high humidity. Eventually we arrive at a waterfall under one of the most beautiful bridges I have ever seen. There are about 10 people under the waterfall who managed to find their way by car. We decide to go back and return to the car tired but satisfied just before dark. My feet would bother me for another week. Henceforth good walking shoes!

Zeilen Richting St. Lucia

 

Voor anker in Martinique

After 3.5 weeks on Martinique we head south. St. Lucia is our new destination. With the perfect north-east trade we sail to this English island in 4 hours. It is almost more work to prepare the ship for sailing than the actual trip itself. If we still have about 5 miles to go we are already being met by the first boat boys. With small boats with huge outboard motors, they are waiting for tourists to put things on top of it. I don’t know if it is due to our Dutch flag, but in addition to the lobsters and fish, marijuana also appears to have a permanent place on the menu of these intrusive males. Just as we were able to enjoy the hospitality and the no-stress Caribbean lifestyle in Martinique, we are annoyed by the increasingly brutal boat boys. After 1 day we will stop in Rodney Bay and continue to the southern Pitons, 2 high mountains where the local beer Piton is brewed. We still have about 4 miles ahead when we see something bouncing up and down at the foot of the mountain, leaving behind a white trail. It takes a while before we actually see what is coming our way with a rotten pace, but quickly recognize the contours of a boat that is more vertically in the air than it touches the water. Less than 10 minutes later Travis introduces himself to us. Travis is about 18 years old, has sunglasses, heart-shaped glasses, in the colors of the American flag and a boat that is just big enough to float with its 100 HP outboard motor. Travis also tries to sell one and the other but in a slightly more spectacular way. We thank Travis kindly and so Travis bounces on to the next boat a few seconds later.

We are moored at the Pitons next to the huge motor yacht Cyan. This ship appears to be from the Irish rock band U2 so we quickly grab the binoculars to see if Bono is on board. Bono is not on board, guitarist The Edge is. Around 11 p.m. in the evening, another boat will come alongside us. A brush is written on the boat RANGERS and scattered around the boat are bottles of Heineken. The two dark men come to collect money for the mooring. We do not trust this and say that we have no money. On the VHF radio, without calling our name, we call on the crew of the Cyan to ask if those rangers have been with them and how they have acted. After the crew members’ reply that they did not trust it either, a second message follows, this time from the Rangers. They also apparently listened to the radio, oops! They are “not amused” about the course of events and come to the crew to get the Zian story and then come in a straight line and full throttle towards our ship. Some word changes follow and if we have paid 10 euros properly everything will be fine again. No more response is given to our apologies to the Cyan crew about the VHF radio. The next morning we get up early to go to the next island. St. Lucia was not what we had expected, so we are once again looking for the true Carieb feeling at St Vincent and the Grenadines. After a day of sailing we drop anchor in a beautiful bay near Bequia. There is one restaurant on the beach with an adjacent dinghy dock and there is nothing else. Bequia is known for its whale hunting. They go whaling with traditional boats and spears. They are allowed to catch 4 whales per year. When they spot whales from the top of the mountain, the entire island sails out. The season is open for a month but no whales have been seen yet. Everywhere on the street, groups of men sit on the Moonshine from early in the morning, rum with an alcohol percentage of 80%. The atmosphere is cheerful and everywhere I pass men proudly show pictures and bones of whales from previous years. It is special to see them all, but the thought that those whales suffer a slow drowning death is sad.

The next island is Mayreau. We drop anchor in the Salt Whitle Bay, behind a strip of land 20 meters wide that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. A natural reef breaks the high incoming waves about 200 meters from the coast and prevents this piece of land, strewn with palm trees, from being swept away. Twenty minutes later I am inflating my kite, it is blowing a strong 5 Bft. In the splashing clear water I see fish shooting beneath me when I stand on my kiteboard a little later. When I take a leap I see our ship rocking back and forth less than fifty meters away. We are in a true surf mecca and the 2 weeks that we stay there it blows every day. I have muscle aches in muscles of which I had not known for a while that I had them and the kilos that have arrived are kicked off again. After the kite session I climb into a palm tree and with a few coconuts I go back to the boat. This beautiful paradise unfortunately also has another side. Where no tourists come, the beaches are covered with plastic. There is really everything, from tampon insertion sleeves to slippers, but it is the PET bottles in particular that marvel at the decor. I could have quit my profession as a doctor if I received a deposit of 25 cents for every bottle. Unfortunately deposit is something that does not exist here. We go out with a few large garbage bags, but within an hour we have collected more plastic than we can take with us. The only waste hump is on the other side of the island, a 4 km walk away. No wonder there is so much waste, we think aloud. The next morning we go to the only primary school on the island. We have arranged a lift to take the 30 kg shredder and the solar oven with us. It is 8.30 am when the first children, neatly dressed in school uniform, drip into the classroom. The interest is quickly aroused when the children see our recycling machines and fifteen minutes later Niels, Wessel and I give a presentation about plastic waste. When we finally clean up plastic from the schoolyard with the kids to grind it in the shredder, the kids are crazy. Like a kind of ants, they run everywhere around the schoolyard and come back to the home base a little later with a piece of found plastic. From the collected plastic a vase is made that now shows off a flower in it in the classroom.

 

Niels geeft les over plastic afval

 

 

Samen een vaasje gemaakt

 

Plastic verzamelen met de hele klas


I found out at Martinique that it is super nice to go snorkeling at night too. Fish are less shy and large ones are getting closer to the shore. In addition, lobsters come out of their holes and they stand out because of their luminous eyes through the underwater lamp. Here too I regularly pack my snorkel in the night hours, a flashlight in my left hand and a glove around my right. Lobster tastes really good, but due to their razor-sharp points, they are also difficult to catch. Moreover, they know better than anyone that they can hide well behind a sea urchin. It remains exciting under water because the only thing you see is in the light of the flashlight. You do not observe what happens next to you. When I swim towards the deeper part, I suddenly see a shark of about 1.5-2 meters. No idea what kind it is, but it doesn’t look dangerous. Moreover, he seems more frightened to me than the other way around and a dozen seconds later he has left again. A little later I swim in a shallow area behind a stingray of a meter diameter. He glides quietly over the bottom with his meter-long tail behind him. I remain at a suitable distance, bearing in mind the death of Steve Irwin. My fear later turns out to be a little unfounded, since only 2 people in the world have ever been killed by a stingray. (Source: Wikipedia)

After 2 weeks it is time to move on because we have an appointment in Curacao in a very short time. Just before departure we go out with yellow man. Yellow-man is a white man with considerably damaged skin due to the abundant sun. He works on this island at the resort and in particular does the landscaping. If we help him clean up the beach for an afternoon, he promises us some coconuts before we leave. With a long stick with a fork at the end we push coconuts, which fall with a dull blow, out of the trees. It turns out that it is not yet very easy to knock it out directly under a coconut without endangering yourself. With a large wheelbarrow full of coconuts we walk back to the boat. Enough to eat coconut in the coming weeks! Our next destination is Union Island. This island falls into the same category as Mayreau; Palm trees, turquoise blue water and a beautiful place for snorkeling and kiting. Unfortunately I broke a rib at Mayreau the week before in a hard crash during kite surfing. Right now, now that the wind blows well every day and we are in such beautiful places. Then go snorkeling. I swim with Niels in a bay that is so shallow that we regularly get stuck with our belly on the coral. It is full of small colored fish and it is becoming an ever greater challenge to move forward through the single-deep water. Kite surfers fly back and forth around us. I deliberately splash a little harder with my flippers in the hope that we will be noticed by the surfers. I can’t use a few fins through my back now, since my back is the only side I can sleep on because of pain in that broken rib. Our final destination is an island just off the coast with a bar on it and where there is absolutely nothing else. A cold beer is a wonderful change after all that salty water and a nice end to the day. We only stay 3 days on Union-Island and then continue via Petit St Vincent (PSV) to Carriacou. At Carriacou we met a German hitchhiker, whom we got to know at Cape Verde. Harry is happy to accompany us to Curacao to travel from there to Central America. Unfortunately customs clearance takes a day and we cannot really explore the island because we are leaving the next morning.

Voor anker bij PSV

 

Elektrisch naar de ankerplek varen

We leave with a setting sun and a wonderful 5 Bft towards Curacao. We are getting more and more handy with setting the gennaker and within a few minutes we are dragged forward with about 7 knots through the huge black cloth. At night we have a fantastic view through the full moon that gives the water a white glow. The gennaker performs all night, occasionally speeding well above 11 knots. After the first 2 days there is already 300 miles on the clock and the batteries are fully charged by our electric motor, which regenerates well at these speeds. The next day there are 2 nice tuna on the line. Sushi time! In addition, Harry has taught us how to make service with raw tuna. This is a method of preservation that we did not yet know. The tuna is cut into small pieces and placed in a marinade of mainly lime juice. With a few vegetables, you have a delicious salad with raw tuna. We were able to eat here for 3 days. We stay over 100 miles off the coast near Venezuela due to the very uneasy situation there. We sail without navigation lights, radar and the AIS is off. Pirate stories go through our heads. A ship recently washed ashore here in the area this year. The ship was completely looted, the 2 owners killed. If another boat approaches us just before sunset and calls us via the VHF radio, we decide not to respond. Then the wind becomes softer and softer and suddenly we are bobbing off the coast of Venezuela, the current moving us towards the coast. We decide to turn on the engine for a while because we do not want to take unnecessary risks. After 4 days of sailing we arrive in the middle of the night on Bonaire, the first island we encounter on the ABC islands. The next morning we leave without clearing or clearing. On the breeding we sail away from the mooring buoy and 200 meters the gennaker is already developing. We leave fully in style for the last 30 miles towards Curacao. That same day we sail into the Spanish water and decide to sail a round. What an enormous capital is being built here. Villas of DJs such as Afrojack and Martin Garrix are standing by the water. Just before dark we drop the anchor in the murky water. It is a long way to paddle towards the side. With a strong wind in our backs and waves we paddle towards the Pirates Nest. In Dutch we order 4 Amstel Bright while we try not to think about the spicy retreat towards our ship. The first night I sleep on 1 piece on the calm water. Still recover from 5 days of bumps.