Location: St. Pierre, Martinique
The crew awoke swiftly this morning and began to prepare for a full day of sailing. We needed to be free of the moorings and making way to our first French island by 0700hrs, so we set our efforts into stripping sail covers and lashing down loose items. We dropped the lines at 0705 and motored out of the anchorage. Breakfast emerged from below and made its way up onto the deck as we reached the mouth of the channel. We turned north and continued to motor out from under the lee of Saint Lucia, which gave us a chance to eat a calm breakfast before raising the sail. We sped through clean-up and promptly hoisted all the sails that Ocean Star’s rig could bear short of the fisherman sail. It was a light day, with a gentle 10-12 knot breeze out of the east, striking us right on the starboard beam. With all sails up on those conditions, Ocean Star makes about 6.5 knots. We shut down the engine and listened to the rhythmic sounds of wind over sail and water rushing past the hull. It was a glorious day and a fine passage to Martinique, and luck was on our side. Early in the voyage, pilot whales were sited about 300m off the stern, much to the excitement of all aboard. As it is proper to do when moving from one sovereign nation to the next, we ran out the French courtesy flag and the quarantine flag on the starboard flag halyard. When coming under the lee of the southern tip of Martinique, a military helicopter circled the boat and waved hello to the students. There were a few French warships in the area, and we suspect that we may have been incidentally involved in a drill because the helicopter continued to leave and return several times. Each time the pilot and co-pilot would circle and wave hello, much to the cheers of the students, and a photographer in the back snapped a photo and gave a thumbs up. About 8 hours after we had left Saint Lucia, we put down a hook in a quiet spot in Saint Pierre, Martinique. We have a volcano hike and a wreck dive or two ahead of us, but we will have to save that for tomorrow’s trip log. That’s all for now!