Position 14:28.20N 60:52.10W

Julian & Anne Whitlock
Sun 21 Nov 2010 21:19
Marin/Martinique 12-15th November
It has been some time since we last explored Martinique so we pulled into the marina at Marin
on the south east corner to hire a car and renew our acquaintance. We soon recalled the horrendous
driving standards peculiar to this island and the traffic jams but as we progressed further north the
roads became less busy although the driving no less aggressive. Our first stop was to do a hike in
virgin rainforest near Morne Chapeau in the Pitons du Carbet. Having not used our legs for a week or
so climbing nearly vertically up for over 1000ft in 85f proved quite a challenge. However it was worth
while and we felt ok at the end. Important because our real challenge was the next day when we set
ourselves the climb up Mount Pele. We had done this climb 5 years earlier when Natasha and Tim
were with us. It was particularly gruelling because there in no shade and when one finally reaches
the first caldera you see that you have to descend steeply again 300+ feet before tacking the next
stage - an even steeper 500ft ascent. Even that is not the end - two further mini calderas require
you to descend before once again climbing. The summit is at 4600 ft and whilst you start the hike
at 2000 ft the additional ups and down mean you feel as if you have climbed the lot!  Well after
an early morning start we reached the summit in 2 1 /2 hrs. Fortunately we started in cloud so
it was not too hot but we felt a massive achievement that two, recently become 60 year olds, could
still get to the top. We felt totally exhausted by the time we regained the car and don't feel we will
be doing another climb like this for a while. We did take a number of photos to prove we achieved
the summit but alas - whilst in Antigua a week later and before downloading the pictures our camera
was stolen off the boat so for the foreseeable future our blogs will be sans pictures...