When we arrived in Martinique it was the first time that we had been attached to land for 7 weeks. The normality of Martinique – very European – has been most welcome.
We spent the 10 days in Le Marin marina sorting out repairs and some boat improvements. This is the home of catamarans – they are just everywhere. Julian has been impressed with the chandlers – you can get nearly anything here albeit at a price! Additional stuff has been purchased – but not too much as the boat is rather full. Prize purchases to add to our comfort are a new BBQ and lights for the cockpit. Using candles and hurricane lamps every evening was getting a little tedious so we can now just switch on!
Amazingly we meet fellow members of the RNIYC – Phil and Norma of Minnie B who have sailed around the world for 9 years in the marina. We had supper with them and they were most helpful giving us some great ideas and introducing us to the world of the Ocean Cruising Club. We also met up with fellow rally mates Chris of Pogo frame, Luna Bay, Infinity and Finally.
We hired a car for the weekend and did some hiking in the Jungle. This is very different and closer to climbing than walking. The fauna and flora is quite amazing – the scale of the leaves enormous.
After leaving the marina we have travelled to various anchorages:
- St. Anne’s by Le Marin – lovely but very busy.
- Fort de France – the capital but not our sort of place.
- Grande Anse D’Arlet – a lovely Bay and very socialable as many of the rally boats had migrated here and we met up with OCC members. We had a great walk among Mangroves and saw many orange crabs who lived in holes and darted in the minute they heard you coming. Great Snockeling.
- St Pierre – St Pierre lies at the foot of Mt. Pelee volcano. Mt Pelee erupted in 1902 and killed 30,000 inhabitants in 3 minutes. There were 2 survivors – a cobbler and Louis- August’s Cyparis who was imprisoned for murder. Many ruins still remain. The volcano is still active and presents a magnificent setting although the summit does always seem to be in cloud. We also visited a rum distillery – Depaz and now are the proud owners of a bottle. Rum is definitely the whisky of the Caribbean and a visit to a distillery is a must. I have to say the setting was magnificent and it had a chateau just like in France. In case you are curious Depaz rum is unique because of the volcanic soils were the sugar cane is grown!
Other surprising things
- It seems to rain everyday and it is torrential. We have bought an umbrella! Apparently the dry season is coming and we are looking froward to this.
- There is a new form of sailboarding akin to flying!
- Fishermen putting sugarcane in the water – not sure what that is about.
- Every cow has an accompanying white heron/egret even inland.
- Bananas are grown in plastic bags – I guess this is for bug protection and an alternative to polytunnels.
- We met Kevin from Sussex who sailed from UK in a minimalist 50 year old, 26 ft Nicholson boat with most things broken and even survived hurricane Marie anchored of Martinique – some people are just tougher and braver than us.
- Boats that look under the water have to look weird – it just goes with the territory.
- The green flash that you can see when the sun goes down- I have seen it once.
- Wine boxes of rum. Rum punches are a potential bad habit we really do not need.
- Large Pelican- like birds diving for fish. Very similar to a gannet but not as elegant. Julian is tasked with taking a picture.
- And finally sitting on our anchorage, watching the sun go down, listening to some great jazz from the shore which is now at the right volume for us to enjoy.
We are now heading to St Lucia to pick up Helen Philips and then to the Grenadines.