Tuesday, 5 April 2016


Our previous experiences of Martinique have been limited, due to it being shut for Easter in 2014, and then last year having to swim ashore due to dinghy problems. So we decided that we should spend some time exploring places we hadn't been to before. So we left St Lucia and headed towards St Anne's on the south coast of Martinique. The journey over was bouncy, Sarah quickly understood why it had been referred to as a washing machine and it was a relief to anchor in the big bay off St Anne's.
Glassy calm at St Anne'sThe wind dropped significantly and we had a few days of glassy calm seas and bright blue skies as we explored the area. St Anne's is a small village, where we cleared customs in a local bar. As we wandered up the hill Darrell was taken by the rows of beach huts. On closer inspection we found it was in fact a cemetery. (Anyone who is approaching pensionable age and whose biannual eyesight test is overdue can easily see how such a mistake could be made!)
St Anne's 'beach huts'

Despite the delights of St Anne's the main attraction of the area was Marin, a 30 minute dinghy ride further up the estuary. Here there was not only the ubiquitous Carrefour supermarket but several chandleries where Darrell was allowed a short amount of time to look around. They were certainly better than the ones on the other 'non French' Caribbean islands. Worth remembering for the future, but not a particularly attractive place to visit again. We did have some entertainment from the 2 local High school's pupils who were obviously finishing term before their exams and engaging in a street fight involving wearing scarves over their faces and hurling flour bombs and eggs at one another. The police did eventually intervene!
Our sail north ended up as a motor sail due to absolutely no wind allowing us to pas close to the famously Diamond Rock (HMS Diamond Rock as named by Admiral Rodney) Not an easy place to occupy so close to French held territory.

We spent one night at Anse a l'Ane opposite Fort de France, another pretty 'French' resort which was obviously very popular with the residents of Fort de France who were occupying the beach until just before the last ferry back to the capital city.
The following day we were away straight after breakfast and had a very pleasant sail to St Pierre where we arrived in plenty of time to find a good anchorage close to the town quay and were able to clear out before a pleasant afternoon tea in our favourite Alsace Bar. He now even does Nespresso coffee much to Darrell's delight and there are always some very nice cakes, much to Sarah's delight.
Our relaxed state ended in the early evening just as darkness was falling when a small French yacht anchored very close to us and then promptly went ashore. We were monitoring how close he was swinging to us when Sarah suddenly realise that the perspective of all the surrounding lights was changing meaning only one thing - our anchor had been lifted by the French boat as it moved. Panic Station! Well only momentarily. Anchoring in the dark is not nice at the best of times, but when the strong wind is swirling around and other yachts are dragging their anchors and trying to re-anchor it is a nervous time. Anyway we managed it without hitting or upsetting anyone but decided, due to the conditions to mount an anchor watch with one of us in the cockpit all night. It was quite entertaining watching yachts dragging and wondering how long it would be before anyone on board noticed. One yacht ended up about half a mile out into the bay by daylight.
We did not have an early start that day, but after a lie in and a breakfast we set sail for our favourite island, Dominica, pleased to be leaving St Pierre.
Monte Pele with no cloud cap as we left Martinique

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