Family Time

We have a sign in our salon that reads “Friends welcome, Relatives by APPT”. Cruiser friends laugh when they read it as most assume we discourage, or at least put obstacles in the path of visiting relatives. This is completely not true. The fact is that “friends”, specifically “cruiser friends”, can and do drop by any time they drop anchor in the same harbor where we are. The longer we are down here, the more we run across these fellow cruisers no matter what harbor or anchorage we are in. No APPT needed to share sundowners, just dinghy on over!

Relatives are equally welcomed. However, the difference is that they live thousands of miles away, book air tickets weeks in advance and have to know when and where, we will be. The latter is not easily discernable far in advance. This is not by design, but it does depend on air currents, weather and sea conditions, and in the general direction we are traveling. So APPT’s are definitely needed, so that we both arrive on the same island at the same time.

Dave and Melanie at Ste Anne

Our oldest daughter Melanie and son-in-law Dave flew to Martinique just on schedule. We sailed up from St. Lucia as mentioned previously and we were at the right place at the right time to greet them. It so happened that the week before, when we were at a beach BBQ, a fellow cruiser had his daughter and boyfriend on board. They happened to be flying back to Montreal the day our daughter was flying in from Montreal. He was also expecting his brother on that same flight from Canada. That made arranging one taxi to the airport to transport family to and from convenient.  All went well and nobody got lost in the shuffle.

We stayed in Ste. Anne a day so that Melanie and Dave could get their feet wet and hike around to Salines Beach. The next day we sailed around Diamond Rock up to Anse Chadiere. We did encounter a good 30 knot squall just before Diamond Rock that tested their commitment to sail but other than some black and blue marks, we survived and carried on.  

Chadiere is just south of Les Anses D’Arlet and is a good snorkeling spot. The weather was fine for that and then we had a late lunch at one of the many beach front restaurants. Back on board we looked forward to showing them a Green Flash sunset. This was not to be, as “feather canyons everywhere…got in the way”. A minute fine green flash may have occurred, but it was not convincing. Well, we had four sunsets to go.

The next day we sailed up to St. Pierre. Melanie and Dave are hikers and so they set their sights on Mt. Pelle. The night before we had dinner at L’Alsace a Kay, a great French/German restaurant with a great view of the setting sun. The dinner was great but, again, clouds got in the way of a Green Flash.

On Wednesday they set off by bus to the trail for the climb up to the top of Mt. Pelle. Actually, the bus stop is a considerable distance from the trail head, but they managed to hitched a ride for part of the way and then they hiked the trail to the caldera. The weather was great for the hike, no squalls and good visibility at the summit. They did admit it was not a walk in the woods. More like a Goat Trail and more of a challenge than expected but they had a great time. The view from the top was clear all the way down to St. Pierre.

Mt Pelee in the background

That night after another disappointing No Green Flash Sunset, Mexican Train dominoes and Rhum samplings were had. No, the rhum does not enhance the sighting of the Green Flash. The next day we went to the Depaz Distillery to resume the sampling.

Waiting for the Green Flash

By Friday we sailed (motored) back to Fort de France. Since it was Good Friday, the town was deserted, and everything was closed. Clouds descended and no Green Flash would be seen that night either. But a JAM and Train session was had on our final night together.

Saturday, breakfast ashore, which took an exceeding long time at a small kiosk by La Savanne, completed the visit from Melanie and Dave. A taxi arrived and they were off to the airport and on the way home.

It was a great week that we all enjoyed and hope that we can continue to arrange these APPTs for relatives. Now only if we can arrange a Green Flash APPT!  

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