Le Marin

‘Where is your premises?’ Jack asked. Heavy French accent, English words. This is how Jack speaks French. We call it Frenglish.

For us listening, it is both an intensely mortifying, yet hilarious experience. Jack isn’t joking either. This is how he does it. With his quarter French genes, inherited from his paternal grandmother, Frenglish doesn’t phase him at all. He was on the phone, trying to find the sail loft – apparently the biggest in the Caribbean. Despite this, the sail loft wasn’t proving easy to find.

On our close-reach to Martinique, we discovered there was stitching coming apart on both the genoa and the staysail. We dropped the sails first thing in the morning and this led Jack to be on the blower. It wasn’t even 8am.

Things start early here. We’ve been looking at hiring a car for a couple of days – oh the luxury 🤓 – but you have to be up with the larks to do it. Car hire companies open at around 7am and tend to close before midday. The rest of the day is for rest, chores and relaxation. Not bad, hey? I wouldn’t mind running a rental car company in Martinique 😊.

We are anchored in Le Marin, a huge sheltered bay at Martinique’s southern tip. We’ve been here twice before – the last time we also came for sail repairs. Le Marin yachtie-wise is an enormous parking lot with a never-ending anchorage and two large marinas. The last time we came here, we went into the marina.

There was no swimming pool though. It was surprising – most marinas in the Eastern Caribbean have pools, since these sheltered location tend to be hot hot hot. Paying for a marina usually gives you this lovely perk, even if the pool is tiny like in St Lucia. Kids don’t complain. Perfect afternoon, post-school hangout spot.

I don’t know why there isn’t one here in Le Marin. I suppose I’m surmising – but perhaps the French are perfunctory about tying a boat up. That the only reason you tie up is to fix, provision and repair. Relaxing? Settling in? That would stop you leaving and setting off on a long, epic adventure which sailing French people are born for. The smaller the boat, the better. And with the minimum amount of anchoring chain.

We’ve just arrived in Europe, for all intents and purposes. It’s surreal to say at the least. Martinique is known as an actual Department of France. As though France is an office building and Martinique takes up the fifth floor. No pool on the 5th floor though. There’s a way of doing things and it’s up to us learn it.

Eventually, Jack put the phone down. Not unhappy but still non-plussed as to the location of the sail loft. No matter.

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