Thursday, April 3, 2014

Martinique

stpierre

We left Dominica after a few days and headed down island to Martinique. We had some warranty parts being shipped from France to the marina in Le Marin at the south end of Martinique and didn’t want the package sitting around too long. First stop was the city of Sainte Pierre. Its claim to fame is that the volcano behind it erupted in 1902 and wiped out the 28,000 residents. The photo above is just after the eruption. A couple of days before the eruption the mayor made a speech letting the residents know that there was no longer a risk of eruption – at least that’s how the story goes. He was kind of right. It wasn’t the lava flow that got the town, it was the super-heated gasses that killed everyone except a prisoner locked up in the local jail. This guy later had a good career touring with the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

martinqueIMG_4822 The town is repopulated, but a little on the sleepy side. The capital was moved to Fort de France. We took a bunch of pictures of the old remains – none to be shown here as we’ve experienced some more electronics failure. The Canon zoom lens we bought at B&H camera in New York last summer is dead. Bummer.

martinqueIMG_4820 I”m not really up on my French gang tags, but we thought the art work on this beach wall in St. Pierre is pretty good.

 

martinqueIMG_4846There’s a lot of deep water diving at St. Pierre. The water is very deep till you are almost at the shore. A few days before the eruption a tsunami hit the bay and sunk a bunch of cargo ships. Most ended up in fairly deep water. Take a look at the gear in this photo. On the right is an old bronze diving helmet, on the left on the dock is a 50’s style dive suit and in the upper left is a two person hand crank air pump. These guys were doing a dive off the pier using this old equipment – I assume just because they could.

martinqueIMG_4853 A north swell really picked up overnight. We were anchored close into the beach – about 250 feet off in 17 feet of water. The swell just didn’t make staying there seem like a smart move.

martinqueIMG_4858 We headed off on a light wind sail toward Fort de France, the capital. Part the way down the wind was totally shadowed by the high mountains. We saw this red German flagged steel-hull boat doing 360’s and then saw them jumping into their dinghy. We went over to see if they were OK. Here’s me earning my sailing kharma points for towing them toward the wind. Chris censored the other photos as not blog appropriate.

martinqueIMG_4869 We spent a night in Anse Mitan across from Fort de France. The dinghy dock was untenable due to the swells and its location right up against the rocks, so we took off in the morning and continued on to St. Anne, at the bottom of the island next to the bay that had our parts. This is sunset with Martinique on the right and Diamand on the left. Sorry, no green flash.

martinqueDSCN2159 We got in a little snorkeling near the entrance to Le Marin bay. Seascape with abandoned fish trap.

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There was some great sponges. Look at the size of the one at the center bottom compared to Chris’ head.

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Not sure if this is Global Warming related, but there was an iceberg floating in the anchorage.

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Gingerbread filigree on a local building.

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And the real reason to go to any French island – fresh baguettes.

We’re off on an overnight sail to Bequia (pronounced beck-way)this afternoon.

Paul

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