17th –26th Feb 2012
Departed St Lucia last Sunday after a couple of nights at anchor outside in the bay there were so many yachts at anchor, there is a Sandals resort on the beach which wasn't too far away.
The crossing to Martinique was quite good apart from the swell, it took about 4 hours. Entering the mouth of the bay could be a little tricky as there are reefs everywhere so thankfully the pilot books and the electronic charts kept us out of trouble mind you it is quite well marked.
Well what a different place, in fact as you approach Martinique you can see its very lush with plants and trees, the colour of the water is lovely, so our first impression was good. So we wound our way through boats and markers we dropped the anchor in what we thought would be the best protected spot not too far away from the mangroves. The whole place seems to be full of boats, hundreds, some huge catamarans down to tiny monohulls with people living on them. After being at anchor for a couple of days the wind increased and having made wet trips with the dinghy into Le Marin Marina we decided to take the boat into the marina for a couple of days.
Martinique is French and uses the Euro, both of us do try our best at times and so far we haven't come unstuck, most of the marina staff speak English and the customs and immigration checkin was easy, you just do it yourself on the computer, click print, hand over 5 Euros and the paper that’s it! Eaten out a few times nothing special yet and a surprising lack of fresh fish, we have seen snails on the menus and frozen prawns that had come from Indonesia. Prices are more expensive for everything I think, I won't even go into the internet rip off.
So far from what we have seen the people seem much more affluent, the roads are better and we haven't been asked for money unlike St Lucia. I guess by the amount of puddles and mud in some places they always have enough rain.
The marina is huge, 750 berths I think, the office is at the other end from us so its a long walk from the boat but at least its quiet at night, although the kids on wobbly skateboards are beginning to drive us nuts on the wooden pontoon.
One of our trips into the marina was lets say choppy, the waves and the wind touching 20 knots decided they would half drown us so it ended up an expensive trip to buy dry clothes and a pair of flip flops. After lunch and few hours checking out the place we collected the dinghy so we could go to the dinghy dock close to Carrefour, well we didn't make it that far, someone had not checked the amount of fuel had he, and then the engine decided she wasn't going any further. Picture this, there we were, no where near the shore or the boat, traffic going in and out was heavy and the sea was lumpy. Don said he would have to row, oh heck it was a dreadful thought, as Don started to take out the oars thankfully another dinghy came by with 2 very kind french guys took our lines and started to tow us back to the boat, well now first boat with 2 hefty elderly guys one driving and steering, the other holding our lines by hand tied to us. Their dinghy stacked with cases of wine and bags of food from Carrefour, their engine was only a 4 HP going at full speed so he could plough through the increasing wind and sea. Then trying to explain by hand signals as neither of us speak French no its not that boat its way over there, I half expected their engine to run out of fuel too. There's me in a new dress, (Don said you will be fine we wont get wet on the way back) oh and never mind the torrential rain that decided at that moment to saturate all of us great!
|My dress after the soaking in salt water, oh did the colour run.|
Wednesday 20th Feb: Walked about a mile to a bus stop and waited for the bus to Saint Anne, its on the south side of the approach to Le Marin, in fact we passed it on the way. On the bus we passed fields which have huge cows some with calves all very pale skinned which are not at all like ones in the UK.
|St Annes church inside a little plain compared to most|
|We were anchored just outside this pretty lagoon, I think the hotel nearby made this.|
The anchorage looks very wide and very pretty, real picture postcard stuff. There is a small market everyday that sell spices, rum, fresh fruit and vegetables and gifts.
|Chocolate smells so good|
|So many to choose from the smells were fantastic|
So we moved on to Saint Anne and had a couple of nights at anchor just went ashore twice to look around and bought some of that fresh vanilla peppercorns and choc but have to figure out how to use it now.
Friday Moved on to Fort de France and although the bay is huge there are lots of reefs and ferries tearing about at silly speeds finding a sheltered place with enough space to swing can be difficult but tucked ourselves in a corner away from the swell. We caught the fast ferry to Fort de France main anchorage close to the fort which is a naval base.
|Don on the ferry wondering how to take the ferry out, this tiny marina is packed|
While ashore we met an smashing American couple who were on the boat next to us, they very kindly asked us onboard for sundowners and nibbles. While we sat there watching the sun go down no sooner than I asked Ruth if they had seen the "green flash" (very famous google it) she said they had seen 3 and all recently the sun appeared to have a green tinge and looked surrounded by green, I thought it must be my glasses but I wasn't wearing them. I can hear you all saying it must have been the cocktails, NO it wasn't the drink I had hardly touched mine by then and Ruth saw it too! So I thought that ones for the blog! Pity I didn't have the camera with me
|Fort De France anchorage in front of the fort where we are anchored|
|Don and Mr Grumpy, he stole Dons hat!|
|Not sure if Don is saying "look into my eyes" or the big guy|
|Didn't really suit me but it did cover my ears and matched my bra colour|
|Well what do you think did he buy them?|
Went to a mexican place for fajitas and loved the sign.
|Come on do you get your fruit and veg delivered like this, the bananas were the best I have ever tasted.|
|How this thing stays upright and in 20 knots of wind is amazing. However someone said he rolled over in the marina and fruit was floating everywhere|
Tuesday: Moved into the anchorage inside Fort de France and went shopping by dinghy twice to re provision and pop into McDonalds so we could use the internet and of course a mac flurry, nice sitting under the air conditioning but by the time I came out I was frozen and it was way up in the high 30's outside.
Next an overnighter to Dominica so I guess we won't be updating the blog or be in touch with anyone for a few days so don't worry.
Just loving the life!
Don and Glenys