Anna Marie and I said goodbye to St. Lucia and set sail for the short trip to Martinique. We had good wind for the beginning of the trip and were making good time. About mid way, the winds faded and we had to motor sail the rest of the way to Sainte Anne’s.
Checking in to Martinique is super easy and very different from the other islands we have visited so far. I dinghied into town, found the small cafe that offered the service, used their computer to input all of our information, paid the 5 euro fee, and that was that.
We came to Martinique to get some work done on the boat. We wanted to replace our standing rigging (cables that hold the masts in place) as well as a number of other maintenance items. Fortunate for us and other Amel owners, there is an Amel Service Center located in the marina (Marina du Marin) as well as an excellent rigger (Caraibe-Marine), who I wholeheartedly recommend. The Manager’s wife runs a pizza parlor off this catamaran. If anchored in the local bays, you can order pizza from them and they will deliver it to your boat. Thursday nights, they run specials on all pizza’s and drinks for Caraibe-Marine employees and anyone else who wants to stop by.
The rigging got done as scheduled and then we had to wait in line for Amel to get to us as there are a good number of Amels here waiting for work and a very limited staff. While we waited, we rented a car for a week so we could pick Daniel up at the airport (he was spending Christmas break on the boat) and explored the island by land. First we drove up the east coast to Vauclin in search of lobster (langouste in French).
We found the fishing port we were told to go to, but there was not much activity in the port or the whole town. It was Christmas Eve so we weren’t too surprised. We walked around and took in the beauty.
Lobsterless, we headed over to the west coast to Diamant Beach – a beautiful long stretch of beach nestled behind Diamond Rock. We picnicked, relaxed, and swam.
On our way home from the beach, we took a small detour to find these statues. They are part of the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. It was completed in 1998 to commemorate the 150th year anniversary of emancipation in the French West Indies. You can read more about it here.
Christmas day we drove up the west coast. There was little to no traffic passing through the capital – Fort de France as most were home playing Grand Theft Auto.
We stopped in a small town called Carbet and explored the beach – plage de coin.
We headed up to Saint-Pierre to explore the town.
Prior to 1902, when the town was totally destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée, Saint-Pierre was the most important city of Martinique culturally and economically. It was known as “the Paris of the Caribbean”. There was only one survivor of the eruption – one of the inmates of the prison, located behind the theater, was spared death.
We headed up the mountain in the hopes of getting to Mount Pelée. We stopped again in a small town where the volcano museum is – Morne Rouge. Of course it was closed, but we walked around this pretty town enjoying the cooler temperatures the higher elevation was providing. We stopped at this beautiful church – Église ND de LA Délivrande.
It was getting late so we headed back home. Mount Pelée was going to have to wait for another day. We ended the day stopping at a beach not far from the marina to enjoy the sunset.