Arriving in Martinique was quite easy. We sent in a form by mail, booked a pcr test and anchored in what they call the hurricane hole outside Saint Anne. The next day we were tested ( for free), checked in on a pc and, eventually, got a berth in the marina.. Vive La France!
Le Marin is not the most beautiful harbour, but a well-equipped one with all the necessary shops and necessities for a boat owner, and, of course, a variety of restaurants. The main reason for getting here was to get Tinius to the airport in time for his flight, of course, snd the day was getting nearer despite the captain’s effort to block away from all thoughts of it. We made the best of the days. The co-captain had prepared well for Christmas so we decorated the boat with lights, the smallest tree in Martinique, and baked gingerbread (“pepperkaker”) and the smell and sense of Christmas came alive strangely enough. To celebrate the holidays in 30degC is very strange for us Vikings and we didn’t expect to get the Christmassy feeling…but we did!
Tinius got a burger as his last dinner in Le Marin and he claimed it was the best burger he had eaten! And this is not an easy task as he has tried the burgers through Europe, Cape Verde and Saint Lucia the last 3 months! We enjoyed the last evening and tried not to think about the next day to much. The captain got his Christmas gift and card from his kids and he is now a happy owner of a weight belt to b used after he has done his diving training. We went to bed happy, stuffed with gingerbread and a strange feeling that something was coming to an end.
The next morning we picked up a rent-a-car at Europcar in Le Marin. We have rented cars many places on this adventure but I feel that the easiest company to use is Europcar (and I’m not paid to say this). Efficient pick-up and return, never any hassle where they claim for any small scratch and ok prices. And always a nice upgrade if they for some reason don’t have the car you ordered, never the other way. So again, this was fast and easy, despite all the scratches the car had (most of the rental cars in the Caribbean have quite a few). After Tinius favourite breakfast with eggs and bacon, we drove to one of the most beautiful beaches in Martinique, Les Anse d’Arlet had lunch and jumped in the sea for more than an hour. We played, laughed and enjoyed ourselves, not thinking about the departure later the same day. But of course, in the end, we had to leave for the airport.
Arriving at the airport we met Ingeborg and Marie again. They would fly together with Tinius on the way home, a great help for us. In short, the check-in went fast, and after a rather long security line, off they went. I have no trouble admitting that the drive back to the boat was painful and I dropped a tear or three. But, to be able to sail over the Atlantic ocean with your 11-year old son, experiencing night watches together, swim in the middle of the ocean and getting so much closer than before, has been a fantastic experience. Tinius was never afraid, did his homeschooling and participated as a crew as much as we allowed him to. Of course, an 11-year old boy doesn’t always like homeschooling or getting up in the middle of the night but when we asked him to, he did it. I hope that he remembers it with as much joy and pride as we do. And, of course, he will return later!
Getting back to life with only us two onboard took some time, however, we soon got some very good news. Our buddy boat SY Emelin would join us in Martinique for the holidays! And later also the rest of the Norwegian ARC+ fleet. We relocated to Saint Anne, a beautiful anchorage outside Le Marin. Saint Anne is a small beautiful village, of course with nice bars and restaurants. The first evening we anchored there we were invited to the Dutch boat Ningyo, a bota from the ARC+ fleet, and enjoyed a great evening of dinner and drinks.
We reunited with SY Emelin and enjoyed a reggae jam session, local rhum and believe it or not, a karaoke session where Erik and myself performed “Shout” by Tears for Fears and “Knocking on heavens door”, the Guns’n Roses version, so good the locals clapped and wanted more…at least in our memory…
The rest of the Norwegians joined and the social life began again as Christmas closed in. The day before Christmas eve we had porridge onboard SY Emelin, with the traditional almond-prize, won by Jill. The price in Norway is usually a marzipan made pig, however, the Caribbean version was a coco-nut!
Scandinavians celebrate Christmas on Christmas-eve and the celebrations start with a great breakfast. Jill made a fantastic meal, as usual, we facetime’d our children, grandchild and my parents and had a great day, despite a tear or two that had to be whipped away sometimes.
The evening was celebrated on a beach closeby, with a barbeque, lots of people and a bonfire. This was a Christmas eve never to be forgotten for all of us.
Christmas day came, with a small headache for some reason. We had looked forward to this as we had ordered rib’s from the local butcher and would try to prepare it the Norwegian way in the boat. Jill had made red-cabbage from scratch and together we made the rib-steak. And it was magnificent with crusty pork-rhine on the top. It tasted like home and the evening ended with “Love actually” on the TV. Xmas was complete!
We had been to anchor in Saint Anne for some time. It’s a great place, but the wind can be quite rough and we decide to move a bit north towards the nice anchorage at Point de Butte. This is a nice, touristic area where the hotel we were staying at after the ARC in 2017 is located. A nice sail up the coastline and once again the anchor was dropped. Jill had contacted the hotel to ask if they had any special new-years dinner and celebrations planned. And they did! A 7-course meal and entertainment were booked, and most of the other boats chose to join us as well. And what a new year’s celebration we had! The day started with beach games with Kubb, a Scandinavian game, that made the locals look strangely at us. Then some rest before we all dressed up and went to the hotel. All of were placed on two tables next to each other, a meter apart due to covid restrictions, a meter that got shorter and shorter as the evening went. The food was magnificent, both in looks and taste. Clearly with a Caribbean twist and accompanied with good wines and rhum punch we soon all danced to the local singers, mostly performing French songs we never heard before! The evening ended with a magnificent fire works and then it was 2021!