Sailing the Caribbean – Leaving St Maarten – 3rd to 6th June 2010

St Martin to Grenada – Part 1
Preparing to set sail from St Martin for 400 miles of Southing.

Leaving La Flibuste

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ong time friend from the Forth Corinthian Yacht Club in Scotland, Iain Gray, arrived from the cool of an Edinburgh summer on the evening of 3rd June after a few false starts and leaving his mother in hospital just out of intensive care!

He got acquainted with IBIS over a few glasses of wine and the next day we went through a few engine checks, changed the oil and stocked up on one or two more spares in preparation for the next 350 miles Southbound. Luckily for me, Iain’s right into engines and gave me a few tips with IBIS’s 60hp Volvo.

Iain has recently retired from the Fire Service and just passed his RYA Yachtmaster Offshore with Hercules Sailing in Gibraltar, having had his own boat for many years.

[pullquote_left]”we spent an hour or so poring over the pilot books from St Martin to Trinidad”[/pullquote_left]We spent an hour or so poring over the pilot books from St Martin to Trinidad making a shortlist of places we’d like to visit en route, quickly realising, however, that it wasn’t going to be possible to visit all of them in the next 25 days! Plan’s would have to be scaled back….but we’ll take it one step at a time and see where the wind takes us…. time to set sail!

St Martin Billfish Tournament

Strolling down the waterfront in Marigot, we were lucky enough to catch the 4th day’s landings for the St Martin Billfish Tournament. The biggest of the day was 495lb (pictured in the middle right), the biggest of the week was a new Competition Record at 810lb and netting the captors USD$20,000 in prize money ….sadly we missed seeing that one, which was landed a couple of days earlier, but surely it was a monster if it was nearly double the weight of the one in the middle of the picture!

I made a comment about Marlin being on restaurant menus right across the island for the next 3 months, but it seems these giants are cut up and distributed amongst the hospitals and old folks homes. I’ve had some marlin kebabs and they take a lot of eating….I’m not sure how weak stomachs & dentures will cope!

[pullquote_right]”it was with a little sadness that I said farewell to St Martin”[/pullquote_right]Although setting out on my next big adventure, it was with a little sadness that I said farewell to St Martin and all the friends I’d made there since last December.

Flirting with (the married, and too short even for me) Antoine over a game of pool in the Geminga Gang Hut became a regular evening ritual and I’ll miss speaking bad French all the time and the evenings spent with Daniel, Noel, Marc and Helene over drinks at La Flibuste or dinner at Dureche. Everyone always made me feel welcome and my company appreciated.

Iain kept asking me how I was feeling about leaving, and actually I hadn’t been thinking about it an awful lot; Noel & Marc will be heading South, too, and I’ll see them in a few weeks, and in any case I’ll be back this way next season to catch up with everyone else.

So I drank a lot of rum at La Flibuste and woke up ready for change the next morning. After a brief cheerio to one or two friends and armed with fresh baguettes and croissants for the first leg, we raised the main sail and lifted the anchor for Grenada.

Read what Iain had to say about his trip….

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