December 3-10, 2010... Et voila, Martinique!

Friday morning we finally raised the anchor and headed out from Bequia. We had one of the best and fastest sails ever in Anhinga crossing the Bequia Channel. But once we were in the lee of St.Vincent we were becalmed. Motorsailing up the coast, we were again able to sail in the St. Vincent Channel to St. Lucia, but then a repeat...motorsailing up the coast. Saturday morning at daybreak we were in sight of Martinique and motored to Ste. Anne to anchor on the south coast a couple of miles from Le Marin.

Exploration begins; by kayak, dinghy, and on foot. So much to see (so much to eat!) The scenery here is wonderful and we could sit on the boat for hours gazing at the mountains and the beautiful water. But we try to counter our increased food intake (oh, the bread...) so we took a hike on the very well-maintained trail, the Trace des Caps to go to Salines beach. Gorgeous. We started the day in the wonderful town of Ste. Anne going up the switchback path of the shrine for more views over the bay. Ste. Anne is another of those picturesque French island towns with a dinghy dock, an esplanade and church that opens onto the town square. Restaurants and shops fan out from there to the market and fish market.

We challenged ourselves to long kayak trips, including one to the mangrove coves closer to Le Marin. There we were startled by a great blue heron -- first one we've seen in a long time. Every now and then we hear the distinctive call of the osprey and wonder if they are wintering here from the Chesapeake. Whenever we see or hear an osprey, we think of Annapolis.

It's hard to believe a week has already gone by. John starts each day with a dinghy trip to the bakery to pick up fresh croissants or pomme cannelles for breakfast, leaving Patti to sleep just a bit longer. It gives John a chance to practice some French, even though the baker responds in English! Returning with the daily France-Antilles newspaper as well, the day starts perfectly. We go through the days activities -- boat chores, provisioning, touring -- then watch the sunset. Does it get any better than this?

Ste. Anne, Martinique: 14d25.963'N 60d53.160'W

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