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ADDITIONS TO THE BLOG as of the 23rd June 2015 (NZST): Shamal and her Crew are cruising the east coast of the US * 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.




15 May 2015

Sint Maarten and St. Martin

035 Simpson Bay Lagoon











On leaving Dominica we do an over night sail up through the Leeward Islands.  We now have to by-pass many of them for this season, but, we will return.  The winds are light and we find we are motor sailing for most of this leg. It has become quite hazy, and it is warm and sunny.  What little breeze we do have is at least cooling.  Dolphins surf our bow waves and seem to enjoy swimming between the hulls. There are plenty of flying fish which get airborne as we approach and take off just above the surface of the water travelling quite long distances. We watch the different sea birds as they skim the surface in search of a meal. Also we still have huge patches of that golden seaweed around which makes fishing impossible.  I catch mounds of the stuff !!!!
 
003 Airport seen from Simpson BayOn the second afternoon we arrive at the small Island of Sint Maarten/St. Martin. It is no more than about seven miles in length, and width, with a large lagoon dominating the western side.  The Island is owned by both the French and the Dutch, hence both the names. It is possibly the best known holiday destination in the Leeward group. We arrived on the Dutch side of the Island and dropped anchor in Simpson Bay, just outside the lagoon.  You can take your boat into the lagoon where you can anchor, or pull into one of the marinas surrounding it, but we decided to anchor out as the waters are cleaner for swimming.  Also the temperatures are cooler with a lovely breeze blowing through the boat. It turns out to be a great anchorage for an ex-pilot as well, as the airport runs along the far side of the bay.

27 April 2015

Dominica

026 Roseau
IMG_1679











Hey Mon
 
Dis week we sail into Roseau, de capital of dis here Dominica.  De white mon boat is hooked to de mooring ball.  They speeke de English good but dems hard to understand some what dem say and makees us laff a lots !!!!!!
 
029 Roseau027 RoseauYes we have arrived in Dominica. We are sitting off the capital, Roseau. We didn’t know what to expect, and the main reasons we are stopping here this season is to have one of our gas bottles refilled as we are not sure if or when we will get our NZ bottles filled again.  Well we are so glad we made this stop.  Our clearance in was so simple.  You visit just one office, and if staying under two weeks you can clear out at the same time – wonderful.  We are able to drop off our gas bottle and pick it up the same day – that will be done the following morning.  After clearing in we wander the town.  A cruise ship is in port so everything is open.  The place is not crammed full of tourists which is nice, and the locals somehow no we are not off the ship.  Maybe we now have taken on that bronzed weather-beaten look that long-term cruisers get. Also we don’t run around in our designer clothes, just cool and comfortable.

24 April 2015

Martinique

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.