Chris Draper · Cruising with kids · Sailing · Travel

Not all plain sailing!

What a week! The top of the week saw us do a bit of island exploring here in Martinique. We hired a car & drove an hour & half to a science and earth exploration centre at the base of Mount Pelee volcano, but it’s shut on a Monday…doh!

On the way there my scheming kids decided to give me a little hair cut with pocket knife scissors!! As you can imagine I was utterly delighted to find a chunk of hair missing…..Just wow….I gave birth to savages! I guess I’ll get my own back by cutting off Harry’s Liam Gallagher “do” one day soon mwhahaha!

To be fair the car journey to the shut science centre was a novelty. There were dual carriageways involved, traffic near forte de France and everything! We affirmed that whilst boarding school sounds like a solid option in the kids immediate future, a return to full civilisation is not currently appealing. As we headed further north the hills got steeper and the vegetation denser. Then we glimpsed the Mt. Pelee volcano through the clouds.

We did manage to visit the volcano museum in St.Pierre and see some relics from the eruption of 1902. Harry’s photo diary was left wanting as there was a no photo policy, by order of the mayor apparently but not related to preserving the objects…maybe the reason was lost in translation. Think I mentioned my French is crap.

I couldn’t convince anyone to do the epic sounding 5 hour hike up the volcano, so we crossed to the east of the island in search of waves. Tartane was the spot of the day. My mothering pride returned sufficiently to be super pleased for Harry catching some waves on his Dad’s board.

Tuesday saw a bit more homeschool trauma then we headed out on a kiteboarding adventure towards Anse Travaud. The road was a bump fest and then you pay to cross a guy’s land. A bit more bumping and head butting surfboards, a navigation across quicksand and we finally arrived to a deserted beach and Chris had a quick kitesurf. I stumbled past a few palm trees with the kids and across a naked Frenchman. Not a problem. But a) where do you look? and b) where do you look?

The later part of the week we had a few more dinghy rides into Port Plassainse at le Marin to ogle a plethora of chandleries and chat boat bits. We were blown away by the number of boats moored up there & in the Marina’s! Reminded me a lot of Cowes week. I was quite taken by the ingenious Pizza oven on the back of a Cat in the harbour, it even does deliveries!

The skate park was a nice 15 minute jaunt from the dock at le Marin. The kids were having a great arvo until Daddy cool went splat! Safe to say he came off worse than the ramp.

Friday saw us fill our water tanks from the sky and hot foot it to Saint Pierre. A speedy downwind leg with some decent waves and probably a bit more sail up than we needed. Chris forgot we weren’t in the 2nd leg of the Volvo and giggled to himself as he got our home up to 15.4knots! The scenery up the West coast is green, lush and mountainous. So nice to get some pace and be heading downwind.

After a 4 hour sail and a half an hour walk up the base of Mount Pelee Volcano we arrived at the Science and earth museum that was shut on Monday! We learned all about the 1902 eruption that devastated Saint Pierre and killed 30,000 people. The term “Nuee Ardentes” was coined by Mr La Croix who extensively researched the type of eruption that occurred in Mount Pelee. It was a fantastic interactive spot with loads of learning opportunities, particularly if you are fluent in French! The kids did get a lot out of it though & the “make your own animation” zone kept them entertained until we got kicked out at closing time.

Fair to say we had a rough week with the kiddos, which had has trying not to call in the yacht brokers. They pushed us to the max with attempts at school and fought like billio over everything from Lego to fishing bait. So frustrating at times. Boggles my mind the tantrums, tears and resistance at a few tasks (not all the tantrums were mine). As much as we try to engage Harry in the process on a project he likes, the act of writing is painful for him. Video projects where he spontaneously writes his own notes or writing letters to his friends does get a pen on paper. Lily pretty much makes up her own work and we attempt to gently steer her occasionally, much to her big brothers dismay! Resurrecting the old star chart, whilst it didn’t bring my locks back, brought back a tiny bit of sanity to the ship. We’re on the lookout for some other boat kids in Martinique too!

We had a chilled sail back South to Grande Anse. We had 6 to 20 knots in a matter of mins which kept me on my toes. A mini bar hop for sundowners in the chilled picturesque bay was the perfect end to the day.

Yesterday we beat 4hrs back upto St.Anne. Our main agenda this week is battery replacement and surf….probably not in that order!

2 thoughts on “Not all plain sailing!

  1. Still looking amazing H, hair or not !! Tell Lilly that Perdie has a new mini pony at her disposal, his name is JAFA and is super cute. Perfect Lilly riding size!! Xx Team Thorpe

    Liked by 1 person

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