Petite and Grande D'Arlet
13:02.11, 14:29.95N 61:05.28W
We had a good few days in St Anne's - it is a nice little village with a few shops, some tourists but not too many. Every evening a local lady stood outside her house with a big pot of something creole cooking (it was meaty so we didn't look to close) and a queue of people waiting in line with tupperware etc to buy some food . Just up the road is a huge beach which is very pretty but a few too many French tourists on it - not packed but busy enough. We went in the dingy up to Marin to have a look round the boating shops and to get a replacement for some of our rigging, it did well on the crossing but one piece was starting to wear so better to be safe than sorry so a day was devoted to going up masts to remove bits of rigging and getting a replacement made. Marin is apparently a 'hurricane hole' where boats can hide - hmmm - we saw 3 wrecked yachts on reefs.
Marin is in a bay with a narrow entrance, you have to go straight into the wind and waves to get into the bay and we got drenched. .. . we ended up having to make 3 trips there so were getting used to getting soaked and doing the trip in swim stuff, taking some shorts and t shirt with us.
We also did our first dive in Martinique about half a mile from the anchorage on a little reef which was very pretty with lots of life - but not a patch on the reefs that we have dived since. . . .. .
This is St Anne's waterfront
After a few days in St Annes we set off round the island to a bay - Petite D'Arlet. The sail took us past diamond rock which is a rock (surprisingly) that sticks up 175 metres from the sea and is pretty sheer - it is fairly impressive. What is more impressive is that when the British were attacking the French on Martinique we hauled cannon up to the top of Diamond rock to fire at them on the mainland. Perhaps we should have tried to retake the rock for the UK.
Petite D'Arlet (and Grand D'Arlet where we are now which is just around the corner) are beautiful little bays - surrounded by hillsides covered in woodland and each having a little quiet beach with palm trees just in front of some cafe's and restaurants - restaurants is in the loosest sense of the word, a few guest houses and a couple of small food shops.
In Petite D'Arlet we stayed 2 days - each day we saw a pair of turtles swimming about the bay from the boat, I got lucky - went in the water to see if I could see them - found one munching on some sea weed about 10 yards from the boat, sorry it is another turtle picture but this one is better. Usually if you see something from the boat and dive in the water to find it - it ends up in lots of fruitless swimming about.
In both Petite and Grand D'Arlet bays we have been spending our time diving!! - there are reefs on the headlands, all only about a 5 - 10 minute ride in our tender. The diving is very pretty - lots and lots of reef fish, not so much coral but fantastic reefs of huge sponges, I haven't seen anything like that - the colours are amazing - not drab and brown but bright blues and oranges. Some of the barrel sponges are bigger than me. The days have vanished as we have been either getting kit ready, diving or filling our tanks again. The water is pretty clear and we have both had some good dives.
Last night we decided to do a night dive from the main boat since we're anchored about 200 metres from a rocky shore which is meant to be good for snorkelling - highlight was a squid, I have never seen squid before - the one we found was busy eating a crab or something and stayed for about 5 minutes eating his crab before shooting off with a plume of ink (ummmm, I assume it was ink - it may have been his way of showing disgust at having dinner interrupted by us)
We did a small wreck dive today - only a small schooner sunk to form a reef but ok for a look around - and no other divers in sight so that was good.
Some pics of the dives. . . . . .Reef Squid at night
Stern of wreck - starting to be covered in sponges
Mega Barrel Sponges on a rock
Superbright sponges and things
Today is Sunday - lots of boats have pulled into the Bay and are anchored - there are some bands playing music - actually nice quiet French-ish folky and Jazz things so I am writing this and listening to that (Adam is filling dive cylinders so working much harder!)