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ADDITIONS TO THE BLOG as of the 17th May 2015 (NZST): Shamal and her Crew are cruising the Northern Islands of the Caribbean * Previous voyage maps will now be under the heading "Maps of Previous Voyages". * Should you want to contact us you can do so by clicking on the Contact Us tab below. * We recommend that you subscribe to the Blog, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox.

17 May 2015


Bonjour To You All Again
003 Someone checking up on yachts arriving We have a lovely sail across to Martinique with a reef in the main and jib, as winds were gusting up to 30kts. We also had two heavy showers of rain, so SHAMAL got a wash.  As we were approaching the entrance to the huge harbour at Marin, we we buzzed by a helicopter a couple of times with him flying very low over us.  He seemed to be checking out all yachts coming in.  I waved out and took photos. We have just read in the papers that a yacht falsely flying an American flag, with two Spanish and one Venezuelan on board, were stopped and boarded by the authorities in Martinique waters, who found a hundred million US dollars of cocaine on board !!!!!!  A couple of tons of the stuff. That is the second boat which has been caught in these waters in the last six months.
We have now arrived at our first French Island, but the last of the Windward Islands. The Caribs who lived here at the time Christopher Columbus sailed into these waters, called their Island Madinina, which means Island of flowers.  The French colonists were the first to settle the Island in the early 1600’s, clearing the forests to make room for the sugar plantations. The native Caribs retaliated, but by 1660 the majority of them were driven off their Island. Those that survived lived in the Mt. Pelee area, but were later wiped out by the Europeans, but, not before calling on the mountain to take its revenge !!  Once again the British got in on the act, but only occupied it for a short period, between 1794 to 1815. With the French back in control they faced a down turn in the sugarcane market due to the introduction of sugar beets on mainland France.

30 April 2015

St Lucia

009 Looking back on the Pitons Hello Again
St Lucia – another gorgeous Island in the chain, but this one really grabs your attention as you sail towards it.  The south western end has two quite spectacular volcanic mountains close together that rise from the ocean dripping in tropical rain forest. These are known as the Pitons. Gros Piton - 2600ft, and Petit Piton - 2500ft.  In fact the they are depicted on their national flag, one gold and the other black rising from the blue sea.
026 Tropical Flowers
St Lucia is a teardrop-shaped island only 27 miles long covering an area of 238 sq miles. Banana plantations ( alongside tourism ) form the staple industry for the island. It is also home to beautiful hibiscus and wild orchids along with many other tropical trees, shrubs and flowers.  It is a little sad as today only 10% of the Island remains covered in rainforest, though you would not think so from the sea as it appears so lush and tropical, but what remains, is now set aside as a nature reserve,  When it was under British colonial administration much of the forest was harvested for its timber. 
Tropical FlowersOur point of entry was to be the town of Soufriere, which sits in a bay just to the north of the Pitons.  “MOONDANCER” arrived before us, and having done a quick reconnaissance of the anchorage, decided to move further north to the bay at Marigot. We followed.  In hindsight this was a bad decision as it was now Good Friday when we checked in which involved overtime fees to do so.  We had forgotten that Easter was upon us.  Strange how time moves on and we forget what day it is. Never mind, Marigot turned out to be a beautiful anchorage, and the perfect place to spend the long Easter weekend.

13 April 2015

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

031 Green Island in Clifton Harbour
Hello Again
St. Vincent is the most northerly and largest Island that make up this country, but Bequia is the northern island in the Grenadines group. We entered St. Vincent and the Grenadines from the south, at Union Island.  This was the Island our son-in-law, Dan, was based on for a time flying a piper-arrow.  Our daughter Brigitte joined him for a short stay.  Neither were impressed with the Island, but it was summer at the time and they had no air-conditioning in the house.  Also the mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” were so bad that they were eaten alive.  For us, well we had a completely different experience.  For a start it is the winter months where temperatures are perfect.  You always have a lovely breeze out on the water, so sleeping at night is not a problem, and as for the bugs, well they are not around yet !!!