MARTINIQUE - GUADELOUPE
We left Forte de France and made an easy 4 hour sail to St Pierre. This Is an interesting little town and from the sounds coming from shore as we went about the business of anchoring the boat, they were also still in full carnival mode. We could see hundreds of people dressed in black and white and the steady throb of drums as the music played on. We secured the boat and hopped in the dinghy to see the last of the Martinique canival 2011. The narrow streets were lined with people watching the parade as it made its way through the town, clearly it was not as extravagant or as elaborate as we had seen in Forte de France, but you could see that everyone had made an effort either to participate or to watch. Just about everyone there was wearing black and while clothing. Now, it was interesting to see the guys – it had been somewhat of a novelty to see so many men dressed in womens clothing back in Forte de France, now, we barely took a second glance, it did not appear to be weird at all. Were we getting used to this after just a few days of watching parades? – even Joey had very little to say on the issue, and Joey usually has plenty to say!!
St Pierre is an old town that lies beneath Mont Pele – a volcano that erupted back in 1902 virtually destroying everything in its path and killing thousands of people. Legend has it that only one man survived, he was accused of murder and he was locked in a dungeon.
There is still evidence of fortress walls that survived the volcano and other buildings have been erected using parts of the old fortress walls. Its very interesting from an architectural point of view. The beach is a black sand and the water is so clear. At sunset the colouring of the landscape was amazing.
We went back to the boat and enjoyed a BBQ and a bottle of french wine that only cost 2 euros! The following morning we left fairly early, the anchorage was quite rolly and it makes for an uncomfortable sleep. Joey sleeps on deck, under the table that is covered by a large tarp. It looks like a fort that kids make using the kitchen table and a blanket when they are about 6 years old! But, it works for him – he stays dry.
From St Pierre our next stop was Dominica, beautiful Dominica. We had another uneventful beautiful sail that took about 5 hours. We arrived at Portsmouth, a large easy anchorage and found a spot for the night. We were approached by several ‘boat boys” offering anything from fruit, to laundry service to tours. Some of them recognised us from our last visit about 7 weeks ago. I love Dominica – The town of Portsmouth is situated around a large bay. Its underdeveloped and shows many signs of poverty. Its not a typical tourist town, but its becoming more popular with the cruisers. It is recovering from a negative reputation that kept people like us away five years ago. We had heard it was incredible beautiful but not very safe – boats were boarded and electronic items and dinghy theft were commonplace. Local authorities and the community are working together to make this a safe place to visit. We had spent almost a week there before we reached St Lucia, we had such a fantastic experience and met some great people that it is now my favourite island. I will write more in separate entries describing our last experiences.
Dominica is an all about natural beauty. Its rainforest climate and rich furtile soil make it’s the perfect place to grow produce, and every thing is so fresh and tasty. The streets are full of local vendors selling their produce at great prices. We bought huge tomatoes and cucumbers, lettuce, mangoes passionfruits, papaya, grapefruits the size of watermelons, and the list goes on.
We had become friends with Cobra, a very colourful and animated tour guide on our last visit ( more about him later), so we were anxious to see him again. We met up at cocktail hour in his bar Blue Bay, he was happy to see us, glad that we were back and came back with us for supper. Well supper turned into more drinks at his bar that led to us going into town, it was Friday nite, Jump up nite, every Friday a certain section of the main street turns into an open air party, with food and drink vendors and music blaring loudly from speakers. The party goes on til the wee hours of the morning. Its quite a sight to behold. Definitly not a place where tourists would go alone, just like in St Lucia’s jump up, you need locals to be with you otherwise you are likely to be somewhat harrassed! Anyway, we made it back to the boat in one piece after having a great night out.
We left Dominica after staying for two nights, Cobra had been back on the boat with us for supper the prevous night, but he made a meal for us. A delicious concoction of local crab cooked is an incredible broth – a local speciality served with rice and lentils. It was a great way to end our short visit to Dominica. We raised the anchor again and left around 9AM. Next stop, Des Saintes in Guadeloupe.
We have been island hopping as we make our way to Antigua. Some of my family are arriving on the 18 th March from England, they will be with for 10 days, bringing the number of people on board to 10!!
So, the Saintes, my happy place. We enjoyed the short sail and found a spot in our usual anchorage beneath Pain de Sucre, a large rock formation the lies below the fortress Mount Chamois, ( which, incidently looked quite small compared to the Piton in St Lucia – we had hike up the fortress a couple of months earlier and considered that quite a strenuous hike, but after the Piton…..). We snorkled for the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings. Rob and Lauren joined us for a couple of hours, they are a delightful couple we have enjoyed spending time with , he is from Australia, she from Florida. We met in Martinique. Rob is a very outgoing guy who wears pareos instead of shorts and his hobby is going around the boats in an anchorage introducing himself to those on board. He has met so many people this way. He calls himself the Mayor! They are slowly making their way to Australia, very slowly. Its taken them two years to get to the carribean from Jacksonville in florida! In his words they are meanderers not cruisers., and they are just enjoying letting life unfold. So on this beautiful sunny Sunday sunset hour, we spent our time sipping champagne and watching an incredible sunset. We did spare some thoughts to those we love who were blanketed in snow!!
The following morning we enjoyed those delicious croissants and coffee delivered to the boat at 7AM by Felippe, a local entrepaneur who visits the boats at anchor in the late afternoon, where he take orders for freshly baked goods and delivers them early the next morning.
We said goodby to Des Saintes and made our way to Deshaises, arriving at around 2PM. We were surprised to see the anchorage so full of sailboats at this hour. We found a spot and dug in.
Jamie later rowed us to shore where we stocked up on that great french wine that is so cheap, and also the great cheeses and baked goods. We love the french islands for these foods, the bries and blue cheeses are so good and so resonably priced. Then it was pizza for supper and an early nite. The next day should find us back in Antigua.
Posted by Amoeba Sailing Tours on Tue, March 15, 2011 at 05:29 PM