A squall hid around the corner of The Saintes. Really? No rain for ten days and as soon as we left a black cloud was touching the horizon.
I expected Horatio to get all the sails out, like he was shaking a blanket. But he didn’t. The wind was fairly slight and we kept motoring. We missed the squall.
6am became 7. 8am arrived and the girls woke up. We were almost across the channel. Another squall loomed – and we missed it again. Quest steamed like a train. We charged our devices. Turned the water-maker on and made water.
At the tip of Dominica, the water flattened out into silky smooth. Jack went below and made breakfast – scrambled eggs and beans. Two pots of tea later – it didn’t feel like a sailing day at all.
Meanwhile, we were on the lookout for whales. There’s a well-known resident sperm whale population who live off the coast of Dominica. The sea floor plunges just off the shore and produces a rich upwelling of nutrients.
Sperm whales are at the top of this food chain. We’ve never seen the pod before, despite always looking and hoping. Many cruisers have. Some have even stopped their boats to swim with them. Crazy cruisers. We’d be happy just to have a glimpse.
Ha! Lucky we have Ellie with us. I’ve watched this kid stare into the solid distance for hours now. She didn’t disappoint either. She saw a sailfish jump clear into the air halfway down Dominica. Then the first whale spout – some distance away.
We all took turns looking through the binoculars. The whales were moving at some speed, their dorsal fins rising and falling steadily between their spouts. Jack started to turn the wheel towards them.
I shook my head. ‘Let’s not hassle them. They’ll come to us if they want to.’ So we watched, and they didn’t.
We entered the last channel – to Martinique. We could see the huge Mt Pelée volcano far in the distance. Four hours done – still another four to go.
Finally, Horatio motioned to take our flappy things out. By this time, it was nice to turn the engine off – it is a good engine for sure, but it likes to make itself heard. Ahh, quiet just as we came into the channel.
Despite what we could see, we still looked cautiously around us. Would there be sudden screeching of wind? No, it turned out that we had a beautiful 15knots of wind. The magic wind number to skim along at 9knots without needing to reef the sails.
We carried on, narrowly missing yet another squall. Nobody said the word ‘luck’ in case we lost it. Eventually the wind did turn against us and we had to motor the last hour or so in. No matter. What a day.
St Pierre glowed in the sunset as we dropped Quest’s anchor. A huge wahoo fish jumped out, chasing a flying fish. Cloud rose above the volcano’s crater, as if the volcano toyed with the idea of smoking again.
‘Welcome back,’ it seemed to say.