Le Marin Martinique Photo blog

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Fri 6 Feb 2015 21:10
Dear Family and Friends,

Friday 6th February

We arrived at the anchorage of Le Marin, SW coast of Martinique, on Wednesday. After an exhilarating time in fabulously stocked chandleries, (no trace of irony here) we hired a car to do a tour of the island. It is the largest of the Windward Isles and like Dominica has volcanic peaks reaching around 4,700 Ft. Much of the terrain is mountainous, with little grading on the roads which go straight up and down at terrifying steepness. There are some gentler slopes to the South and much of the available land is under cultivation. Bananas are grown on a commercial scale in plantations all over the island, sugar cane is also popular and there are many rum distilleries here although we didn’t visit any. Apart from those crops coconuts/copra are everywhere, mango, orange, grapefruit and bread fruit tees are grown in gardens. The locals do not seen to have the same aversion to growing things as they do in Antigua, a left over of the slave era I am told.

We visited the volcano Mt Pelee, under its frequent cloud cap, so we walked a little way along the trail but didn't attempt the 2 hour trek to the summit. We took in both the East and west coasts, finishing at an ethnographic museum. Fort de France is a modern capital city and cultural centre and it is clear that the greatly improved infra structure owes much to Martinique’s connections with France, there is much more obvious prosperity, but it still has a certain Caribbean feel to it. The shops close for lunch, on Sundays and whenever else they feel like it, when requesting services “for later" read tomorrow or the day after, but people are mostly helpful if asked. There are markets but not the spontaneous just about anywhere food stalls of Antigua. They have adopted speed bumps , but at least there is road signage to warn you and towns are a mixture of the French/Martinique investment and the shabby and derelict. Outside, in the country, although there are buses many people own 4 x 4’s and trucks, living in lovely bungalow chalet houses perched on a hillside with fabulous views, all this with baguettes and croissants, whats not to like?

We will be catching up over a dinner invitation aboard Sofia, with Anne and Jonathan, Gavin and Georgie tonight, (possibly the last time we will see them as our paths and timetables draw apart, so a celebration and a bit sad too, but its always Au revoir not goodbye). We will be leaving tomorrow for a nights stopover in St Lucia before again pushing on to Bequia in the Grenadines. So we should reach there by Sunday, all being well. Unfortunately time so now measured by when we need to be in Panama for a transit through. It is most definitely quite a formality driven part of our itinerary, (read expensive fees) and we are in the canal authority and our agents hands so we need to be there in good time.

Here are some photos for you:

Lucky picture of Mt Pelee from St Pierre Bay, it is very rarely without cloud!

Merchants shops and houses ruined by the volcanic eruption of 1902.

Solitary confinement, jail in St Pierre, not usually thought of as a lucky place but the prisoner in here was one of only 2 people to survive the eruption.

Old cobbled street, the masonry at a strange angle fell from the church above the wall during the eruption and is now supported on makeshift pillars (why?)

Bread fruit in a backyard, St Pierre

Colonial style town hall rebuilt after the eruption, St Pierre.

These beauties are mangoes, again a tree in a backyard. Just imagine how great that would be!

More photos in next blog,

All our best,

Lynne and Alan