Voyage of Traveler / Blog

January 19, 2010

Traveler Postcard from St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Martinique

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 5:41 pm

January 16
14-35.9N, 061-04.2W
Fort-de-France, Martinique

Happy New Year,

Much has happened since my last postcard to you from Tobago Cays in the Grenadines three weeks ago.

Mustique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dec. 29. This is a private island for the rich and famous. Among other celebrities, Mick Jagger keeps a house here and we heard he was ‘on island’ for New Years Eve.  Prince Andrew likes to vacation here too. This is where he got caught cheating on his wife, Princess Sarah (”Fergie”), with the exotic dancer Koo. Lots of mega yachts when we visited.  When we arrived there was a big surf break on a reef about a half mile off shore.  I dinghied out with Brian to watch him surf and I got caught inside on a huge set that came in.  I floored the dinghy out toward the oncoming wave, adrenalin pumping, worried that it would break on me and flip the dinghy.  It peaked just as I was at full speed on the face of the wave. I got launched riding in the dinghy about 8 feet in the air and came crashing down on the back side of the wave.  I cut my nose on the fiberglass floor board, bleeding badly. At first I thought I broke my nose, but it was just banged up. Barbara was watching us from Traveler with the binoculars at that moment and thought I went wave jumping on purpose for the thrill.  She said she couldn’t believe how high I was able to get the dinghy out of the water.  A few drinks on Traveler and then more ashore at the famous Basil’s Bar helped ease the pain.

Bequia, Dec. 30-Jan. 1. What a popular place for cruising sailboats, especially for New Years! There were over 100 boats anchored in Port Elizabeth on the Island of Bequia (pronounced beck-way), including a few yachty friends that we got to know from Rabat and the Canary Islands.  Also, Larry Ellison on Rising Sun dropped anchor near us. (Is he following us?) Barbara and I had a New Years Eve extended happy hour on our friends’ boat, Feel Free, with four other couples, then dinner ashore at the popular waterfront Whale Boner Restaurant. (That’s really the name of the place.) Big fireworks show at midnight. Then on New Years Day we watched Oregon and Ohio State in the Rose Bowl at a sports bar.  A one-man steel drum musician played for the bar crowd, bringing in the New Year with a distinctive Caribbean flavor.

Jan. 2. St. Vincent.  We sailed up to the gorgeous Chateaubelair Bay on the Island of St. Vincent. (13-18N, 061-14.2W)  This was another filming site for the Pirates of the Caribbean. We enjoyed kayaking, swimming and snorkeling around the boat, which was anchored at the foot of spectacular cliff.  Boat boys paddled out about a mile from the village to sell us fruit and bread.

Jan. 3-12. Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.  We sailed from St. Vincent 25 miles north to Vieux Fort, St. Lucia, and from there Barbara and I flew back to LAX, leaving Brian and Yansen on the Traveler alone for a week.  Barbara had to go back to work teaching after her Christmas break, and I had to go back for a trial in the Estate of Bennett. While in Newport Beach I also got my income taxes done (not much income, so that was easy), got my teeth cleaned and had a few things removed at the dermatologist. I got to visit with my sister Allyson and her husband Matthew as we watched their daughters, Hannah and Emmy, play their soccer games.  And I got to see my other sister Dana and her son George, in NB, where we spent the night on our brother Drew’s new yacht, Huck Fin, at the BYC.  And we got together again at our mom’s and step dad’s home in Rancho Mirage.  We saw three great movies: Avitar in 3D Imax, It’s Complicated and The Blind Side.

Jan. 12-18.  Drew flew with me from LAX back to St. Lucia to “live the dream” on Traveler for a week, and what a week it was. We saw three great Caribbean islands: St. Lucia, Martinique and Dominica.

St. Lucia.  The highlights were snorkeling at the Soufriere Marine Park near the majestic twin pitons–a World Heritage Site, and then spending the rest of the day and night in Marigot Bay, described by James Michener to be “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean.”  At Marigot, we visited with our friends Rob and Rebecca for happy hour on Bagheera (the ultra sleek Wally 80 race boat–Google it to see the recent article in Yachting World.) We then went to the Discovery Marigot Bay Resort, voted to be the Best Resort Hotel, not just in St. Lucia, but in the entire Caribbean. At the bar we saw the owner of the 312 ft. mega-mega yacht Indian Empress, Vijay Millya (net worth $1.2B), having a beer while two of his 20-man crew were playing ping pong.  Vijay was surrounded by his family, friends and bodyguards–an entourage of about 20, just having a good time.  (We later found out he is the richest guy in India and owns, among other things, United Brewery, Kingfisher Airlines, and a Formula One Racing Team.) Anyway, so Brian goes up to Vijay, introduces himself, they shake hands, and then Brian asks him if he knows how to play beer pong!  Vijay’s bodyguards were watching Brian very closely and not sure what to make of the situation.

Martinique. We had a great day-sail from St. Lucia 35 miles N to Fort de France, Martinique.  This island is just as much a part of France as Hawaii or Alaska is a part of the US.  Our first day we found only one person who spoke English.  She was French Canadian, ran the marine hardware store and handled customs and immigration.  (Earlier, in St. Lucia, we went through a great amount of trouble and expense to get a French visa for Yansen to visit this island, but she didn’t even check our passports saying it wasn’t necessary for crew on cruising sailboats.) We rented a car and drove around the island, seeing Le Carbet where Columbus went ashore on his fourth voyage in 1502.  Brian climbed up most of the way to Montagne Pelee, and active volcano.  In 1902 the volcano erupted destroying the-then capital of St. Pierre and killing all but one of its inhabitants.  The lone survivor was a prisoner in the city jail.  In 1762 the British conquered the island.  By the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the French had to give up Canada, which they referred to as “a few acres of snow,” to get back their beloved “Isle of Flowers.” Napoleon’s wife, Josephine was born on Martinique later that year.  A couple of months earlier and the woman who later became the Empress of France would have been born British! In a park in Fort de France, the capital since the ‘02 eruption, there is a statue of Josephine, the pride and joy of Martinique.  But in 1995 a travel guide book pointed out that Josephine had a large roll in re-instituting slavery on the island causing quite an uproar.  The island is 95% black and nearly all are descendants of slaves.  Someone beheaded Josephine’s statue, and it remains that way today.

My sister, Melissa, flew in to Martinique to join us for a week, so her holiday overlapped with our brother Drew’s for a few days. It was the first time the three of us have been aboard since the 2007 Newport to Ensenada Race (Brian was on Traveler for that race, too), and it was Melissa’s second visit on Traveler’s world tour–her first being in Moorea and Huahine two years earlier.

My next Postcard will be from Dominica (pronounced dom-i-NEE-ca) and Guadeloupe (guad-e-LOOP.)

Living the Dream,


  1. Your travels sound so eotic, we’re completely green with envy. Glad you and Barbara had a wonderful holiday together. I am sure it was hard for her to have to return home again. The stories of the warm tropics, snorkeling and swimming, really make us jealous now: We got 1′+ of snow last night and it has been snowing on and off for DAYS. We haven’t seen the sun for more than 5 minutes for over a month. It is cold. So, yes, we really are green with envy. I cannot believe it was TWO years ago we met you in Huahine. We sure wish we were there now!!!! Glad you’re still living the dream, it sounds so wonderful. Tell Barbara HI for us. Have a great continuation of the trip, love reading about it.

    Bruce & Denise

    Comment by Bruce & Denise — January 22, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

  2. Michael, any chance you’ll get to St. Barts? Been there twice with the family and it is quite an island. Lorie finally passed on after the 22 years of Alzheimers so it was a blessing!!
    Take care of yourselves and simply love the “post cards”!!


    Comment by Tom O'Loughlin — January 22, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

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