MARTINIQUE AND DOMINICA

Around 6 am, we found ourselves sitting on the back of our yacht drinking coffee and eating fresh cut fruit and warm cinnamon bread.  We were finally going sailing!  Giddy with excitement, we arched our backs and craned our necks, unable to contain our excitement for the open sea and the wind that would bring us to Martinique.  We stopped to fill up with gasoline before we left the bay.  And just as we were far enough from the bay that it didn’t seem possible that we could swim back if had to, Nim turned the boat 180 degrees, turned off the engine, and hoisted our sails up.  The wind quickly took hold of the large white canvas and pulled us towards our next stop.

We had each stuck on a motion sickness patch behind our ear, and were armed with a variety of motion sickness tablets.  None of us knew what to expect, so we figured that being prepared was our best strategy.  We all got a little queasy, and Julie spent about an hour or so not talking and just staring out the back of the boat.  Fabiola had prepared cool washcloths with ginger and lemongrass scent, which were known to calm motion sickness.  Julie dabbed her face and neck, and eventually, the nausea subsided.

For the next four hours, we sat on the back of the ship, just staring into the blue waters.  I thought of all my worries and stresses, and told myself to leave them in the sea, never to be found again.  Eventually, I found a calmness, a sense of peace.  I didn’t know it yet, but this feeling of ‘being at sea,’ or ‘being at peace,’ would only increase over the week.  This really was so different than my other trips, which were always packed full of this and that and checklists of to-dos.

Martinique is about 90 miles from St. Lucia, so it wasn’t long until we could see the island in front of us.  As we came around the top of the island, I wondered what the bay and our dock would be like that night.  I had a vision of lots of boats, and wooden platforms, all lined up perfectly against the space where land meets water.  And then, right there in a little cove, with only one or two other boats in sight, and not a building on the island or person to be seen, we dropped anchor and took the sails down.  It seemed that we were in a little valley, almost like a lake, surrounded by mountains on three sides.  It was the most peaceful and surreal place I think I’ve ever been.  Not a soul in sight.

Julie and I hopped into the clearest water I’ve ever seen, splashed around for a while, and boarded LUNA to watch the sunset.  It felt like we were the only people in the world.  The skies were clear, and the only noise, other than the music our boat played quietly in the background, was the sound of water splashing against the rocks on the shore and fighting each other in the far away distance of the ocean.  Fabiola and Nim made us an Argentinean dinner that night.  Steak, peppers, potatoes, and mini caramel cheesecake.  With full bellies, we fell asleep to a quiet rock of the boat.  Just the five of us for miles and miles.

~ ~ ~

We started the next morning in the same way – coffee, fruit, and warm bread as we prepared for another day at sea.  We were heading to Dominica today.  Dominica is a very poor island that was struck by a hurricane a few years ago and hasn’t been able to recover.  It was also about 90 minutes away.

I wish I could tell you that there was some sort of exciting adventure that happened on this day, but there really was not.  We did see some dolphins, whales, and a sea turtle, but other than that, it was another day where we flowed with the sea and let it take our worries be whisked away.

That night, we dropped anchor again in a small cove.  This time, there were about a dozen other yachts, and the coast had a few very rundown buildings lining it.  One of the buildings was a PADI dive shop.  We had planned to dive here but they did not have any openings.  From the looks of it, the shop itself might not have even been open.  Looking at the destruction that nature did to such a small and beautiful island was heartbreaking.  While these people were trying to salvage their homes, trying to get a roof over their head, I was having a five-star dinner on the back of a multi-thousand-dollar yacht.  I am so fortunate, so incredibly lucky that I was born where I was.  Traveling always reminds me of that.

Julie and I splashed around in the water again that afternoon, and finished the evening watching the sunset and dining on some of the best cheeses and an Israeli dish made by Nim.

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A boat in the distance as the sun set.  The only soul(s) we could see before we went to sleep peacefully.

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