No bad weather predicted north of St. Lucia, so we decided this would be a good day to sail down the Martinique coast to Fort-de-France. Only about 15 miles, we figured a nice sunny morning like this, great! Started out that way...good beam reach and we were making tracks south. But, by the time we hit Case Pilote, just north of the Fort-de-France harbor, it was a whole 'nuther story. Squalls. At least four. Lots of rain...no visibility...complete white out. Don't know what we would have done without the chart plotter because even though it was midday, we could see nothing. Ran below to get raingear -- the rain was painful, like hail, and clad only in bathing suits, we were getting pretty cold. Coming into the harbor (which is about 5 miles wide and kicks up quite a bit in the fetch -- like Chesapeake square waves on a bad day) we hit one squall and the wind instruments headed up into the 30s, peaking at 39 knots. Yikes! Never did that before, DON'T want to do it again. Luckily we had had time earlier to reduce sail and were only on a reefed main -- the prospect of a knockdown felt so real. Finally, finally, we could see the end of the harbor and make out our destination of Les Trois Ilets, across from FdF and behind the headlands of Anse Mitan. Anchor down in front of the golf course, only cruising boat here. Whew!
Les Trois Ilets: +14° 32' 41.10", -61° 2' 28.38"