The whole feel of Martinique was very similar to that of France, just in a different climate; this was fairly comforting in many ways. They use the euro and speak french, which for Olivier was great as this is his native language. However, for Sam and I it was a bit more of a struggle. The cuisine in Martinique is termed creole, but to our uneducated selves, it seemed fairly french with mussels and french fries being the first meal we indulged in.
Our first stop in Martinique was a beautiful bay called Grand Anse. We managed to anchor in a great spot close enough to shore to allow us to snorkel off the boat. We saw many turtles during our time here; if it wasn’t whilst you were snorkelling it was whilst you were sitting on the boat enjoying the view. There was an abundance of starfish and when we went to snorkel on the outside of the bay there was amazing marine life on the underwater ‘cliff’.
Sam unfortunately managed to get the go pro water damaged whilst snorkelling which meant that our next movements were fairly dictated by where there was a UPS delivery service depot. This led us to Fort De France, the capital of Martinique. This was the only city anchorage throughout the Caribbean that we visited as they are notoriously unpleasant. Set in the shadow of a large fort this was a surprisingly nice anchorage. We used this opportunity to visit chandleries and stock up on food. We seem to manage to catch every island during their holidays and this was no exception meaning we had to wait around for another day for the city to open up again.Next up was Saint Pierre at the base of Mount Pele in the north of the island. Here the weather was fairly turbulent and rain was very frequent much to my dissapointment. We wandered around the lovely little vibrant town and then with the promise of a waterfall we set off hiking. However, there wasn’t a path and so we had to walk along the road. To add salt to our wounds, when we got there the waterfall was a man made one in a deep valley with a road bridge over it so there really wasn’t that much to see. We headed to the Depaz rum distillery in hope of rectifying our day. On arrival there were lots of little stalls set up selling all sorts of items. You could explore the distillery and taste the rum which pleased us all, the day was finished off by purchasing a large quantity of rum for the boat.
It was at this point, after two months we said goodbye to Olivier as he was off to continue his travels on a french boat. We celebrated with pizza and rum punch and looked back at what a fabulous time we all had and the memories we would cherish forever.
Sam and I returned to Martinique a couple of weeks later and explored the island far more extensively. We hired a car for the weekend and went waterfall mad. Anse Couleuvre was waterfall number one. We hiked for about an hour and a half up a well trodden path through thick rainforest like vegetation. At the end of the hike you were rewarded with a 150 meter tall cascading waterfall. We both took a dip in the cooling water before returning back down the trail.
Second on our list was the Gorges de La Falaise, an experience that health and safety would certainly not permit in the UK. You were able to walk, swim and scramble up the river at the bottom of the 150 meter high gorge, bats were flying over head and the sounds were incredible. On arrival at the waterfall the amount of water and the power of it was unbelievable.
Our final waterfall visit was to Didier Waterfalls. This was much more off the beaten track, to reach it you had to scramble along the stony river bank. With two waterfalls for the price of one this rounded off our weekend nicely.
Over the month of May Martinique has a variety of reggae events. We were lucky enough to be in Saint Pierre during one of these. There was a huge variety of stalls selling interesting Caribbean products, as well as music and a crowd enjoying themselves immensely. This was a very interesting taste of the reggae culture that is spread throughout so much of the Caribbean.
Whilst sailing down the coast of Martinique we were approached by the coast guard. This certainly made the sail slightly more exciting. After taking all our details and information across the radio whilst motoring alongside us they left us in peace to continue our journey.
Le Marin is a popular hurricane hole as the area is heavily surrounded by mangroves and therefore well protected. We spent a couple of days exploring however there wasn’t a large amount going on. We bumped into Olivier which was a welcome surprise and we visited the boat he was living on. This could only be described as a floating wreck! The great thing about travelling though is the experiences and differences you see and this was certainly an eye opener.
Saint Anne was our final stop in Martinique. This was a beautiful spot in clear waters with an expansive white beach. Ashore it was a lovely little town with a local feel; we visited a creole restaurant and had a delicious Blue Marlin dinner. Grand Anse de Salines was a beach 5km away from Saint Anne and was meant to be spectacular so we decided to take a hike down there. This was certainly worth the trip, when you imagine the Caribbean this is exactly it. We spent the day in the hammock and dipping in and out of the sea. This was an incredible way to wrap up our visit to Martinique.