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Last update Februari 27 2012.

Finally, after a long close-hauled sail from the Surinam, JoHo reached the azure blue waters of the Caribbean, in Carlisle Bay in Barbados. We looked out over white sandy beaches -and the Hilton hotel. The Bay was great. We could swim around the boat and every day we woke up with bright sunshine. Here we also -finally- caught up with Jamie and Seth of the catamaran Slapdash. Together with them andn their friends we have a really good time. Sundowners with beer from Barbados (Banks beer), site-seeing in Bridgetown, to the horses races (typically English) - erh, well those horseraces we haven't seen as unfortunately the last race was run the week-end before we arrived. But every day we see the race horses swimming in the Bay between the boats, a very particular sight.
Yes, we've have plenty of Fun in the Sun in Barbados.

But all good things end, so on Sunday, February 5th we sail with a tangy breeze to Alleynes Bay, a Bay mid-way through the island. Intention was to stop for the day and leave later that evening for the hop to St.Lucia. Slapdash participated and we did have a farewell party on the Slapdash, but the anchorage being rolly and we hate long goodbyes so we left a bit early that afternoon to the island of St Lucia. JoHo sailed very fast - too fast if that's possible - for we arrived in the dark at the southern tip. That means no stop, but we sailed on behind the island.
At dawn we did see the Pitons, impressive and beautiful. Picking up a mooring at the Pitons is not an option when we see how the boats are rocking and rolling over there, so we go on to Rodney Bay. Rodney Bay is totally different than the anchorage in Barbados, green mountains dominates here and the beach is not as beautiful. In Rodney Bay we saw Steve from SY Christina Pearl again, long time no hear or see so we had something to talk about.

February 9th, we sailed to Le Marin on Martinique, along with Steve, which is a small hop of approximately 25 NM. In Le Marin we have more chance to find a Zodiac dealer, as our dinghy is in dire straits and badly needs an overhaul. In order to get that done we have to buy special glue and new PVC to repair our dinghy, and therefore need a Zodiac dealer.
When we entered Le Marin bay we were shocked to see so many boats (as well in the three marina's and on anchor). This place is increadible, so many shipchandlers and supermarkets. We felt instantly at home, the atmosphere being relaxed and friendly. And the anchorage is very good.
Long story short, we found our Zodiac dealer, he sold us the stuff we needed and now we (=mainly John) had a big job to do on our dinghy. After two days we (=me included, woo and misery) had the blisters on our fingers of getting rid of the old gunk that the last owner used to patch it with (old sika, or 3M or whatever, it didn't do the job really). Finally the dink being bold, clean and pathetically odd with the whole bottom peeled of from the tubes, the real work can begin. Gluing her back together with (what we hope) the right glue.

Le Marin, Martinique

With the dink halfway ready we decided to continue sailing on februari 13th, but before we could leave, Mac from SY Morwenna surprised us with a visit. We know him (and a song about him, don't we children...) from Mindelo, Cape Verdes. He comes alongside for a cup of coffee and we chatted about when he got there and who-does-what of all the people we both know. Now he was on his way to St. Lucia to pick up his girlfriend from the airport. Later that day we sailed to Sainte Anne bay.
Sainte Anne is a friendly small village only 2 NM away, but even that open anchorage was also packed with boats. In the afternoon we went ashore and walked through the narrow streets. The atmosphere is really French and everyone speaks French as well. Not so odd when you're in the Caribbic department of France, but still, proper French, not some patois or Creole. But it also means delicious fresh baguettes with French cheeses - jummy.

After only one night we sailed on to Grand anse d'Arlets, another bay on our way to Fort de France. The surroundings are shockingly beautiful. The water is clear with occasional a swimming turtle popping up its head... gorgeous. Here we enjoyed a beautiful sunset from our boat with a drink in our hand. What a life.
February 15, next day, we went to Fort-de-France, the Capital of Martinique to enjoy their Carnaval. The weather is not good and we're surrounded by numerous Rainbows and rain. We have to motor to Fort-de-France because we have NNE wind, on the nose. The amount of boats here is smaller, we could easily find a nice anchor-spot. The town is cozy with the Fort on the waterfront and in the background we see the green hills. Our dinghydock (they have one at every anchorage here in the French islands) is situated right on the boulevard with La Savana, a neglected city-park across the street. From JoHo we looked straight up at the St-Louis Cathedral.

Between our arrival and Carnival we still had some days to spend, so we go by bus to the other side of Martinique. The bus drives through the Central Plains where we see banana and cane fields. We get out in La Trinite where we walk through town to admire the reefs and the sheltered bay. From the small centre we walk to the peninsula Ile la Caravelle, lovely to use the right expression. From La Trinite we have a sight-seeing drive back towards Fort-de-France.
In Fort-de-France carnival started on Saturday February 18th with a mini parade of the carnival-Queens in the traditional attire of the island. The queens here ranging in age from 8 to 80, quite a sight.
On Sunday morning at 05.30 (!) there is a drum parade throughout the Centre. To early for us, but we enjoyed the music from our bed. In the afternoon there is the Grand Parade, a three-hour spectacle (see our short YouTube movie on that). Groups in traditional clothing, carnaval cars sponsored by McDonalds, Orange and Ax, lots of men in womenclothing, a superb parade with rhythmic Caribbean music, we love it.

St Pierre, Martinique

Monday 20 February we go on again, JoHo sailed us to St Pierre. St Pierre was destroyed in 1902 by an eruption of Mount Pelee. We have a magnificent view over the whole area from the cockpit of JoHo (as you can see in the picture above). Green rolling hills which reach out to the water. We enjoy a small local parade with lots of music.
That evening we made our plans for the coming weeks which we followed (surprisingly, even to ourselves) up and until today, February 27:

Tuesday we made the trip to Dominica, where we stayed only one night. We will probably come back here on our way back down anyways.
From Dominica we sailed to the Les Saintes Islands (part of Guadeloupe), stay there for the night and then on to the Mainland of Guadeloupe, leeward (west) side.
Basse Terre was our first aim, but in the western part of Guadeloupe you find many small anchor bays, so we ended up in Anse á la Barque.
In the Northernmost Bay, Deshaies, we stayed a couple of days. The anchorage is great, good holding, so we relaxed and enjoyed this part of Guadeloupe.

Now we leave to Montserrat as we upload this update and will continue to Nevis and St.Kits further up.
In short, in small hops to St.Maarten where we hope to meet up with our friends we really missed long time, Pat and Darnell of SY Island Dream and of course those we miss already, for apparently we're the first to arrive in St.Maarten (save for SY Schorpioen who will just have left to the BVI's when we arrive).
Hmm, we didn't plan this all, did we?

If you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS, BERMUDA, MALDIVES or BONAIRE have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.


Current position

JoHo is at anchor at Deshaies, Guadeloupe at 16°18,4' N - 61°47,8' W.


To go off again and sail to less explored areas and generally nice cruising grounds, maybe begin the start of a circumnavigation (although to circumnavigate is not the goal).
JoHo will be our main address, floating office and home for this year.
till we'll have to work some in between where and when possible, we may compile a few cruising guides on our way.

John and Jolanda