Pages

Friday, May 27, 2011

UNIQUE MARTINIQUE ...........



There is something really magical about the French island of MARTINIQUE ....... It is hard to describe exactly what it is ...... There's a recipe that works in Martinique that's missing in the other islands ...... Of all the former colonial powers that took over the Caribbean islands, it is the French that seem to have made it work ... There have been the English, the Dutch, The Norwegians, The Danes, The French and the Spanish ........ And of all of these, only the French islands have stayed part of the original so that indigenous people are now French, and fully French citizens, and the respect is visible everywhere...... Recently even the former Dutch Antillies have decided by referendum, to once again become fully Dutch, instead of independently self governing ....... New rules to be adhered to, but at least the bills get paid ........ But in MARTINIQUE every step is up and you are gently led by the hand ........ The oh-so-French stripes and the oh-so-martinique madras outfit ...... too cute for words .... Do a double-click on the photo and see that look on 'petit mademoiselle's' face ..........



On a passage between Fort-de-France and St. Anne we passed 'Daimond Rock', the neck of an extinct volcano, with water 700 feet deep all around it ......



We left Fort-de-France after doing some shopping and sailed on to Saint Anne and Le Marin at the southern end of MARTINIQUE to anchor for the night .......... Le Marin has a huge marina basin and is a superb hurricane anchorage .......... We have been moving at quite a pace, highly unusual for us ....... Three countries in three days ..... At that rate we could be in Australia by late next Friday...... Best to slow it down a little and smell the frangipani and this one that looks like pink coral .......



There is a 'CLUB MED' in the bay near Le Marin with beautiful beaches and all the water sports ....... The French are also avid sailors, many of whom fly annually to Martinique and leave their yachts here permanently ........... Double-click on any of the images to sharpen them and see the details .....




We needed to pay for a huge bag of laundry that required 'Euros' and thus a walk to town was in order .... Walking makes you see so much, like this roadside fish market completely without flies ....... Fresh tuna by the kilo ....... Or the half-kilo ........ We made it to the bank though they no longer exchange dollars ......We got by, thanks to VISA ........ School seems to finish at 1pm and there were masses of students everywhere and all in uniform ......... With a French government-funded education, health and welfare system, the island of Martinique is so far ahead of its neighbours like Dominica and St. Lucia who struggle with even the most basic of services..... Oh, and these colour-matching flowers were only a hundred metres from the fish seller ...... Colourful place ............ Bloody colourful you might say.....



Now if you can make it up this winding street to the top of the hill, you'll find a church, or better still if you can make it a 'little higher' to say HEAVEN, then your 'Earthly remains' will be put to rest in one of these elaborate ornamental crypts ..... Some even have shade covers ...... We are obviously not French and obviously not very sensitive, and thus too figure out the logic may take a little longer ......



Fishing goes on all the time and the shallow waters are inundated with plastic bottle floats marking the fish traps ...... The French love their catamarans but hauling them out can be a problem on a standard slipway....... Now here's the solution .... A dry dock in the middle of the bay, ..... " C'est magnifique " ......... Even has its own pressure washers and power supply .....



Along the foreshore were plenty of these brightly painted wooden sailing boats called 'yoles', but little did we realise that an hour later, with our sweet-smelling washing now safely onboard the dinghy, that we would witness some adventurous 'after-school' sail training ......



Now that's got to be fun ................... The teachers are the ones wearing the sun glasses .......



Up again early in the morning and sail from MARTINIQUE to ST. LUCIA, a passage of 30 miles past Rodney Bay and on to Marigot Bay, a small opening in the towering cliffs with a beautiful palm-lined beach and a tranquil anchorage filled with excited 'rastas', who come at us as though they have waited all their lives for just this ocassion ....... Some with a handful of bananas, some with a a message of where to anchor and one who told us "I've come for lunch" ........ We just go with the flow and smile a lot ........ We ask them if they thought we were born yesterday, and that seems to do the trick .......


Bananas.... always welcome, then there are tomatoes, passionfruit, limes and herbs and we are sure that the other more exotic herbs would also be available ........ Whatever floats your boat ......

1 comment:

Magda Lundh said...

Hello! I saw one of your blog-posts from when you visited Saint Anne in Martinique and I was wondering if I could ask you for some advice.

I’m visiting Martinique in January and I want to stay in the town of Saint Anne. From what I have seen, most accommodations (apartments etc) are located either 700m north or 700m south of the town’s center. With “center” I mean where the church, supermarket and stores are. The area located north of town is called Belfond and is closer to Club Med whereas the area south of town is called Caritan and is closer to two smaller beaches (Anse Caritan and one other next to the hotel “La Dunette”).
Since I have never been to this town I really need some advice from someone who has set foot in Saint Anne! I really understand if this makes no sense to you but I thought it was worth a shot emailing you after I saw your blog, since there is no recommendation for either area on TripAdvisor or similar pages…


Best regards

Magda Lundh