Goggles


I have new swimming goggles. They are snazzy, declaring 180 degree vision, an adjustable nose piece allowing minute alteration measured precisely to the space between my eyes, a tool for said adjustment plus a spare rubber strap. My only desire was to have a pair that didn’t leak. Do customers really need all this ‘features and benefits’ malarkey? Is the world a better place for having swimming goggles which allow the purchaser a complete bespoke service? How much research and development, time, money and energy went into designing an adjustable nose feature?

Do I have a case to question this? Probably not. I could in fact just be being hypercritical as I purchased these snazzy googles as opposed to the cheap and cheerful €3.99 pair which may have done the same job. Keeping the water out.

Why am I wittering on about swimming goggles? We are anchored off the small town beach in Fort de France, the capital of Martinique. For the past few days I have been swimming to the shore and back. My swimming is improving, with the help of new goggles, so my challenge before sundowners tonight is to swim front crawl back from the beach to the boat without stopping. I’ll let you know how I get on.

We had a hire car for one day this week and headed out across the island for a Helen Hike around Pointe de Diable on the east coat of the island. It took us around a promontory in an area of national park. Not a massive walk, maybe 3.5 hours through mangroves, along cliff tops and beaches. The sun was pretty intense by the time we’d got back to the car so a cold drink was the order of the day. We headed back towards La Trinite, stopping a small restaurant overlooking the beach and treated ourselves to the menu of the day. Dave had massive prawns, and I had barbecued grilled fish and what with a starter and sweet thrown in, it was very good value.

From there we headed to the rum museum. The St James site is still a functioning factory too. We watched freshly cut sugar cane being picked up and deposited into a machine which chops it up and crushes the raw cane to remove the juice. We learnt about the rum making process and the different between Rhum Agricole and Rhum industriale. The museum was free to wander around, some exhibits indoors, others on the site outside. We ended up in a Colonial Building which housed an exhibition upstairs and a shop, in the style of a bar downstairs. Museums don’t always hold my attention, but this one was thoughtfully put together and fun to wander around. And free too! Guess they know you’ll buy some rum at the end of your stay.

The day was not done. To make best use of the car, we went to Decathlon on an out of town trading estate, for the purchase of swimming goggles then onto Super U for a Peter Kay ‘Big Shop’. By the time we got back to Pointe de Bout where the boat was anchored it was about 8.30pm, the sun long gone, the dinghy tied to a wooden dock adjacent to a posh hotel. Dave reversed the car to where the road ended next to the entrance to the posh hotel. A security guard politely said we couldn’t park there. In my best O‘ level French ( I have two as I failed A ‘ level French and was given another O’ level just for trying) I explained about our big shop and getting it back to the boat. Kind man, he then said, bring your dinghy round here to our dock and load all your shopping up there, saving us several long walks with bags. Thank you.

We saw the same guy and exchanged pleasantries at 6.45am the following morning as he was knocking off work. Last trip before the car went back, we were heading to Marin to the riggers with a large heavy piece of bronze as the track, car and end pieces are being replaced on our main sheet traveller. The car broke as we left Tenerife and we’ve managed with a bit of old abseil rope until now. The abseil rope cost nothing. The new main sail traveller set up, considerably more.

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