Martinique again too ! Bike rides and Euro-sophistication

Thu 27 Mar 2008 01:19
14.29N 60.52
Tuesday 18 March sailed up to Martinique again; we were here for new year before we sailed down to Barbados.
The sail up was great - we overtook a couple of other yachts and we realised that Syd wasn't just trying to look cool, helming with one hand most of the time - when Annabel tried it she was much better, using the other hand to balance herself on a fixed point.
Marin is another of those long inlets full of anchored yachts, this one with a large marina and associated shops, chandleries and bars at the head.  It all seems so European(well, it is a French departement, Euros, baguettes, French lingo and all) and sophisticated to us now, after 3 months in the Caribbean!  We've stocked up on decent meat, Syd's had a haircut (cost £10 ugh!) and we've got the SSB radio fixed at last. It hadn't worked since Las Palmas - no sound at all - apparantly just corroded electrical connections.  So now SHOULD be able to get decent weather reports(unfortunately usually early morning), listen to some cruising 'chat' networks and, most importantly, receive hurricane warnings in the summer season.... All still to be proven .. and last time Annabel said something was fixed, it immediately wrent wrong again  (the fridge!).
There's a lovely low dinghy dock too, so it was easy to take the bikes ashore and we braved the Easter holiday crowds two days running !  Annabel thought it was fab riding on smooth tarmac, and even a cycle path at one stage; Syd enjoyed the footpaths we rode on round the coast - apparantly they were quite 'technical'(i.e. rocks, tree roots, deep sand, narrow gulleys) in places !  That meant Annabel lost her nerve and walked a lot too.  We got lost a couple of times - yesterday we came back in a circle to the start of a path when we thought we should have been further up the coast.  A lot of it was like cycling in European countryside on green lanes and farm tracks, but with some different vegetation [(those thorns again)... just another technical twist to the trails ... low lying cactii had to be avoided just as much as the cog breaking rocks ... but as always Syd found one (cactii) just after completing a really technical stepped climb with loose stones betweeen ... 3 inch off the line and there it was  . ... a laid over over cactii .. too late .... 3 punctures later and 3 more afterwards .. all in the front tyre .. managed to stop before the rear tyre ran over it as well!!]  ... and much much hotter !  The photos show some of the terrain and a typical Atlantic coast riding track (and that was an easy bit).. er beach .. whatever  - fabulous, but we didn't fancy getting salty and sandy for a swim .. So just rode on to the first eatery and got cokes juice and yet more more water!!!   The owner was gobsmacked by where we had just ridden from!