May 26, 2023
Today was a full day, and so fatigue is met with excitement. The excitement is that we had an excellent opportunity to take some amazing photos. Some are shared below.
After spending a night at Fort de France, we made our way south to Marina du Marin where we will remain tied to a dock for about a week. As we start to slow the boat (every new stop is just 3-5 hours away!), we have time to share some of our activities.
Call it ignorance, but we also had no knowledge of the history of Mount Pelee, which erupted in 1902 and wiped out Saint-Pierre. It was one of the most devastating eruptions in recorded history with 28,000 dead on the first big eruption and 2,000 further after aid was well underway. I did get a chance to get the drone up and get a bit of video of this cute little town under the volcano. (Also see the stand alone post of fisherman at work from Wednesday.)
During our stop in Saint-Pierre, we were not too excited with the little town, despite it’s ‘cuteness’. I guess we have seen so many towns now, that things are starting to blend. Checking into Martinique was fast and cost three Euros. Definitely affordable. The dinghy docks in Saint-Pierre were very nice making the whole process even easier. The anchorage was surprisingly busy, and due to the underwater cliff, anchoring close to land was a must . . . the road was pretty noisy. Still, it was better than many of the reviews but I wanted to get to the marina where I can ride a bicycle!!
Jinhee had some calls on Thursday, so we also stopped in Fort de France for a night. A driving force here was that we weren’t impressed by the baguette we picked up at Saint-Pierre and thought maybe Fort de France would offer better choices. Unfortunately, Fort de France is a cruise port and most of the businesses were centered around patisserie rather than boulangerie and so we were again disappointed by the baguettes.
Despite an intellectual understanding for the size of Martinique, we were surprised by the size of the town. It’s very large. There is a ‘skyscraper’ on the waterfront, that is 105m or 21 stories tall, there is a robust commercial centre and the highways and streets are big, modern and well kept. Of course it isn’t all beautiful (there is a lot run down), but still much bigger and more diverse than we imagined.
While Jinhee participated in her meetings, I took some time to walk around, finish reading a novel and do some work on the boat. It was a very relaxing stop really without any big expectations and a lot of spare time.
That lead us to the south of the island yesterday and I/we will remain here for a week. In reality, Jinhee travels for meetings next week, while I stay here and ride my bike, clean the boat and work to prepare the boat for a summer on the hard.
Marina du Marin is a vast and bustling harbour. Again, ignorance is the byword, but there is a lot of action here, a massive number of boats, on the dock, on moorings and at anchor. Probably over 500 boats altogether. That means there are services too. The first that we have enjoyed is a car rental.
Today we ventured to a private garden for a tour and wow. We saw so many beautiful plants and animals during the tour (about an hour) it was fantastic. Our guide didn’t speak English, so we suffered along trying to understand his French with our limited vocabulary. Of course so many names and words are completely unfamiliar to us, so we really focused on the pretty things we were seeing. Here is a sample.
To begin . . . note that I finally got a video of the hummingbird at work!! That made my day all by itself.
After our visit to the garden, we drove to Mount Pelee, intent on climbing up to see and walk around the crater. Unfortunately we left it too late, and arrived around 2:30 in the afternoon and the walk is expected to take four and half hours. As the clouds rolled in, we decided to turn back around 3:30 secure in the knowledge that walking straight up a mountain, in a cloud, while the sun is going down is only slightly better than going down a steep mountain in the dark and enclosed in clouds. I may try again while Jinhee is away.
Still, we found so many interesting things on this mountainside. The snails may have received the most attention, but there were a lot of pretty birds, flowers and vistas to enjoy.
I am sure you are bored by now, so this is the coup-de-grace on the sleep aids . . . the best snail video you will see all day today.