June 15, 2009


We have spent the past week in Martinique covering three anchorages, St. Pierre, Fort de France and Marin. St. Pierre was the most interesting though somewhat exposed. For history buffs, they will remember that in 1902 Mt Pelee erupted burying St. Pierre, killing between 30,000 and 40,000 people leaving just one survivor, and jailed murder convict. The ruins of the theater and the jail are well enough preserved and very interesting. The convict was then taken by an American circus operator so that he could be displayed in the freak show with all of his burns. Not sure if jail would have been better in the Caribbean.

Fort de France is one of the largest cities in the Caribbean, very busy with traffic, shops and restaurants. The anchorage is right off the downtown quay side so is rather neat, though you suffer through many ferry wakes during the day. One day was sufficient for a walking tour and some play in the park.

Marin is on the south east coast and a bit of beat to get to, but once in a very well protected bay with much anchoring room and alot of boats. We rented a car for a couple of days and drove through the islands rain forest, stopping for a couple of hikes. One to a set of waterfalls and the other to summit Mt. Pelee. Unfortunately the Pelee hike was about 5 miles each way, so long for the kids in any event. The hike was also very difficult with very little but straight up including a scramble for 100 yards up a lava flow that was very steep. The clouds were blowing all around sending cold winds and rain on us. The kids were very upset that we turned around, they were having a blast and wanted to make it to the top. Rae and I knew there would be a breaking point on the way down if we went too far so we came back down with everyone still in great spirits if not exhausted. All the people we met on the trail told us in French we were crazy for hiking this trail with children. Of course since my French is terrible, they could have been saying "Hi" but their body language betrayed their amazement.

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