Martinique

14:30.344N 061:05.258W
Saturday, 5 May 2012
 
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Arrival in Martinique.  At last I discovered what is that funny blue flag with the four serpents on it.  We are back in France!
 
Our sail/motor from Dominica was uneventful and we arrived at St. Pierre in the North of the island.  The anchorage was another roadstead, but a good muddy bottom and not steep if you remain quite close to the beach.  There are 20 or so visiting yachts.  Strange to see so many in this little village when there were so few in Roseau. The history of St. Pierre is significant.  At one time it was the centre of the French colonies in the Antilles and was extremely wealthy and sophisticated.  The old remaining buildings have a flavour of Parisian architecture.  The town had a population of 30,000 and boasted an opera house.  Then in May 1902 the volcano exploded and the town was destroyed, killing all the inhabitants except one who was in the jail.  Photos of the event remind one of Hiroshima.  What remains now are the remnants of some buildings and a small new population.  We visit the museum, have a haircut, go to the laundrette!  There’s a nice market place and some restaurants.  We stay a couple of days and then move south to Fort de France.
 
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Thursday, 3 May.  Motor south to Fort de France.  We anchor in the bay under the ramparts of the impressive fort.    Although there is a very convenient dinghy dock next to the park, it leads to the ferry port, the bus station and so on.  Ashore its all a bit shabby with lots of shops selling cheap goods.  But there is a very good chandlery and I pick up a few bits and pieces.
 
Friday, 4 May. We rent a car and drive over the spectacular mountains to the interior town of Morne Rouge and on to St. Pierre again to visit the rum distillery of Depaz.  Very interesting and after a little degustation we come away with seven bottles of rum!  We lunch at the restaurant En Vague in St. Pierre (EUR18 menu, including punch!) then back to FdeF and LS by 1700.  Then we up anchor to find somewhere more salubrious and arrive at Grande Anse d’Arlet just before sundown.
 
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Saturday.  Remain at anchor.  Wet start to the day but swimming is good and a nice beach nearby.  Very calm.  I repair the spinnaker which had acquired a number of small holes while E bakes bread.  Mmmmm.  I couldn’t resist this photo of a unique craft – brought to you by the same folks that invented the Citroen DS
 
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