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16th November, 2014

Fort de France. Martinique

To all intents and purposes we were back in Europe, the currency was even the Euro, but of course physically we were not. Martinique is a Department of France, and the locals speak French, but that is really the only similarity. The temperature was still 28 degrees at seven in the morning when the pilot sprang on board, a lady of diminutive stature and looking about the same age as my junior watch keeper, with a radio casually slipped onto her belt. I handed over the con to her and she confidently took the ship through the channels towards the berth where I took over again to put the ship alongside. During the process she told me that she had been a pilot for four months, and that her name was Veronique, a native of the other French island, Guadeloupe.

It was a fine day to start with, but some beefy showers kept coming down through the mountains to give anyone outside a good soaking. Our intention was to take a walk the fifteen minutes or so to the small yacht harbour and walk along the esplanade. We managed the duty free shop on the quayside which we stepped into for shelter, but didn’t make it any further. Those who went on the snorkelling tour were of course unaffected, and those on other tours enjoyed the scenic countryside.

Veronique returned for our departure, no doubt causing a slight stir with the passengers looking down from the deck.

Captain Philip Rentell

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