16 May 2012

Oak trees, Martinique and Alphorns

We left Les Saintes/Guadeloupe this Monday early afternoon for a night sail to Martinique. We kept Dominica for several reasons to port and decided not to stop at all. First its coast shouldn't be very nice and secondly it's well known for theft. Since we would like to spend a bit more time in the Grenadines a visit was out of question.

So we prepared for a 90 miles overnight sail to arrive early in Martinique. Since the forecast said just light winds with occasional gusts up to 20 knots we thought it would be a relaxed trip and we would even be able to catch some sleep. During an overnighter one steers for a few hours while the other one can catch up with a nap, either in the cockpit or down below. At least that was the plan. 

Things went a bit different. First of all, we had a very steady and brisk wind between the islands, up to 25 knots, permanently. Even with some 2 - 3m waves from the side we had an amazing sail. We did up to 7, 8 knots - it was a dream. In the lee of Dominica the wind died, so we had to run the engine, until the wind picked up again. The constant reefing or furling sails out again made it impossible to sleep. Habibi needed four hands in the cockpit all the time. 
Then after Dominica it happened: The waves picked up again and for the first time I was fighting with a really bad seasickness. No idea why then. Sadly enough they're saying that the only cure for seasickness is lying in the shade of a hundred year old oak tree. Since it's hard to find any oak trees on a boat I opted for some help from a Swiss pharmaceutical company.  Not sure what's in there, maybe some oak tree shade for your mind, at least it makes you very tired and it helped right away. After one hour, I was able to help Rahel again. Still, very unusual, I guess it may be related to our last evening with friends in Les Saintes.....

We arrived as planned early morning in Martinique, but we looked like Zombies. No sleep for over 24hours by now. After immigration (which is a blessing on French Islands) the now scary looking Zombies decided for a lunch (no human brains - just a simple Creole dish) and some short sight seeing. We opted for a small local restaurant in a market hall. During our lunch things turned wired once more. I heard some Alphorn sound! I mean you're sitting in this big market hall in the middle of the Caribbean and there is a Swiss Alphorn playing? Not sure if this was a side effect from the Swiss Drug (Caution you may hear Alphorns???), the Ti Punch which was offered from the bar or simply my tiredness. Nevertheless it did not stop playing and since all the locals gathered around another table we needed to check. Amazingly there was really a guy sitting and playing his full size Alphorn in the middle of the restaurants to the amusement of the whole local community. We did not bother to ask him anything, but he played like a pro. Our waitress told us afterwards that she heard that for the first time and she loved it. When she explained that this is a Swiss instrument from the Alps I was tempted to say anything. But I simply had no energy left....we went to bed at 5pm or so.....

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