Martinique:  January 10-18, 2009

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

We spent the second week with Tom and Phyllis in Martinique.   (Click here to read about the first week.)   Started out at Ste. Anne, and later moved to our favorite spot inside Cul-de-Sac du Marin (tucked in between shallow reefs on the south side of the harbor) where we were more protected yet quite distant from the maddening crowds close to Marin.   But the wind was blowing stink, and so we did have a number of very wet dinghy rides in to customs and the docks for shopping.   Tom continued to display his interest in tinkering, and I continued to take advantage.  His former vessel Cocoon had essentially the same water maker as Tusen Takk II.  When he mentioned that fact, I asked whether it was 220 v. or 110 v.  That lead to the surprising conclusion that we could probably convert my 220 v. setup to a 110 v. one, since the electric motors on our feed pumps were identical (except for the wire tie-ins which determine the functioning voltage.)  Surprising and stupendous.   Surprising, because I had formerly been informed by a certified technician that the conversion would be so expensive as to be prohibitive, and stupendous, because converting to 110 v. would mean that we could use the inverter to power the water maker while underway, and thereby avoid running the generator just to get 220 v. to make water after a long day of cruising when the batteries were already full and in no need of charging from the generator.   A quick email to the water maker company confirmed Tom's belief:  if we changed a jumper at the electric motor and changed the wiring back at the terminal box on the boat (so that 110 v. was delivered to the motor instead of 220 v.), no changes would have to be made in the water maker itself and we would have a 110 v. unit!   So we changed some labels in the breaker box and changed some wires in the terminal box and changed the jumpers on the electric motor, and holy mackerel we have a unit that can make water while underway without using the generator.  All of our cruising friends with water makers already have such a setup, so that is not the point.  The point is that we had not had such a setup, but were able to make the conversion at no cost (save a little labor) after being told that it would not be possible.

While still in the Marin area we rented a car and visited Fort de France, and then drove through the mountainous rainforest in the center of the island.  Popped out on the other side near St. Pierre to the north, where we visited the DePaz rum factory and the Pelée Volcano museum.   And then a drive down the west coast back to Marin where we had a wet and dark and long dinghy ride back to the boat, with extra interest added by the shallow reefs whose location had to be remembered/inferred.

Caribbean cruisers may be interested to know that the 2008 late-season hurricane known as "Omar" caused damage in Martinique; in particular the pier at Ste. Pierre lost (and continues to lack) almost all of its decking.   See photo below.   And the Marina du Bakqua at Anse Mitan lost its dock and suffered severe damage to its shore side building, and is now defunct.

Tom and Phyllis caught a taxi early Jan. 17 in order to fly back to St. Lucia, where they would board a bigger plane back to Miami.   It was a grand two weeks, filled with plenty of sights in two rather distinctly different Caribbean islands, and filled with plenty of moments of camaraderie and friendship.  We enjoyed their visit immensely, and look forward to the next time we can get together.  If all goes well, their search for another trawler will soon be successful, and we can look forward to being a guest on their Krogen.

(*) Photo by Tom or Phyllis

Switch-back path up the "Stations of the Cross" in Ste. Anne

(*) Fish market in Ste. Anne

(*) Diamond Rock off the coast of southern Martinique

Dock at Ste. Pierre now closed due to hurricane damage

DePaz mansion adjacent to the rum factory

Up the long driveway to the DePaz mansion

On the porch of the welcome center for DePaz rum factory

On the dock at Anse Mitan

Out of major projects, we attack the flashlights ...

... and score three successful rehabilitations