Sun 9 Apr 2023 12:23

Martinique was fascinating in so many ways.  Our first experience was the Cul de Sac le Marin, a large bay similar in size to Falmouth Roads but sheltered from the prevailing weather. We arrived on March 31st and anchored  overnight.  Le Marin is the charter boat capital of Martinique with literally hundreds, probably closer to a thousand yachts based there. The largest proportion of them were 40 plus foot charter catamarans.  As a result the facilities for yachts were impressive: large marinas, immigration clearance, well stocked chandleries, restaurants and shops, post office, ATM, fuel and water, and the language was French.  We went ashore the following morning to deal with formalities  and the next day we refueled and watered and moved on to the Bay of Forte de France. 

The Bay Forte de France is enormous and the weather whistles through; it is big enough for rain on one side to miss you completely on the other side and vice versa. We anchored in the south at Anse Matin for a night having made a lunch stop at Anse Dufour on the way and poked our noses into a crowded Anse Noir afterwards.   At this stage we had made contact with Dennis and Martha on Fishcake who were approaching Fort de France from the north having visited Dominica.  The following day, on April 3rd, we crossed the bay to the city of Fort de France, the capital, and anchored close to Fishcake just west of  a fort which had some similarities to the Citadel in Plymouth.  We all went ashore to a smart dinghy dock adjacent to a well-kept park which, we were informed, had hosted show jumping the previous day. The city could have been anywhere in mainland France -amazing shops, beautiful people in chic and colourful clothes.  We had the Fishcake duo over for dinner on board in the evening after a walk around the city.  Martha is flying back to Germany imminently to get a job and Dennis is going back to Grenada sailing single-handed to lay the boat up before returning to Norway.   The following day, Cilla and I took a bus up the coast to Case Pilot and Le Carbet to explore a bit. Le Carbet is where Columbus was supposed to have landed but we found no reference to the event except, possibly, a sculpture of a square rigged ship.  In the evening we were invited to dinner on Koka Chin by Linda and Peter who had arrived that morning.  The anchorage off Fort de  France was charming.

The following day, April 5th, we left for a short hop up the coast to Saint Pierre, 14:44.45N 061:10.64W where we could clear out through immigration.  The office for this was supposed to be in the Office du Tourism but had been relocated to the Bar Alsace where, after printing a form generated online, the proprietor stamped the document and charged us three Euros. Saint Pierre was a charming spot too.  The following morning we made an early start intending to sail fifty miles in one hop to Portsmouth on the north west of Dominica in one hit but, in the event, diverted to the Capital, Roseau, in the southwest, after a feisty sail. In Roseau, on Thursday 6th, we able to clear in and then out for the following Monday/Tuesday at the same time because of the Easter bank holidays.

All best, Tony, Brian and Cilla



The library in Fort de France named after the politician Schoelcher who ended slavery on Martinique
Possibly a nod to  Columbus at La Carbet
Le Marin  showing the vast yachting industry there.
Forte de France