Martinique

What to do in Martinique? All of a sudden we were in Europe once again, and it showed. At least Martinique is a close copy with a Caribbean twist on it. We did get to shop in a normal supermarket, with more than a few things imported from the U.S., which was nice

We got here on a Thursday afternoon meeting both Navajo from Viking Explorer and Serenity a German boat we have met quite sometimes so far. We anchored in the city anchorage right outside Fort de France, the Capital of Martinique. We had a nice welcome from Serenity and were invited for a nice barbecue on board because their oven was being repaired. After some food with some rum punch and a lot of catching up, we got back pretty late.

Now it was Friday and time for Michaels last day on board, he was flying home on Saturday. We were a bit tired in the morning and got into town to take a look around at 10 am and walked around in the warmest city we been to so far. The sun gassing and no wind blowing through the town and after seeing most of the city center we stopped in the shade for a beer. We then asked Michael what he wanted for his last day and after a lot of no discussion, we tried to get tickets for the big Fort in the town but we were at a loss if we did not want the tour in French. So we decided to rent a car and go around the Island instead. So we started walking to the closest car rental place guided by google. We walked and got to see kind of another side of Martinique and a community with a lot of differences. Neighbours where one has a house with a roof that is falling down and right next to it was gated house with a new Range Rover. After 40 minutes of walking we arrived but google had gotten the opening hours wrong, so it was closed. A quick Search gave us the next rental place only 11 minutes away so we started walking again. But once there, there was nothing even close to a rental place. In good spirit trusting in Google we continued. After 2 more places without any sign of rentals we finally gave up. We gave Google a last chance on a roof top bar on the way but there was of course no sign of that one either. So we headed back home again and would like to invite Google to visit Martinique together with us.

Later that night when we had gotten past our experience we got treated to a real nice dinner by Michael in town. After dinner we headed for a couple of beers at a local car inspired pub just in Michaels honor. On Saturday it was finally time for Michael to leave us. He been with us since Las Palmas and done an ocean crossing, although being a very calm one. We thank him for his company and hope he will come visit us again.

We had one more major thing to get done while being in Martinique that we saved until getting here. The starboard spreader on the mizzen mast was broken. The end cap of the spreader holding the stay in place had corroded and cracked. So you could say that the wire was hanging on by a thread. This made us less willing to use the mizzen sail while under way. We had planned on getting a new spreader here in Martinique but after taking it apart we decided to repair it instead. So we got an aluminum workshop to manufacture a new end cap to the spreader and after a few days it was all back in place again. Both quicker and cheaper than planned.

In the meanwhile we decided to make the most of the time here and make a full working week. So I started sewing a new bimini with a full enclosure out of some canvas fabric that we bought in Sweden before we left. It is not all done yet but at least the bimini is in place and the 2 sides are done. The rest will have to wait for a while until we have the urge to work again.

Hanna and Anders also made new trim around four of the windows that missed this in the saloon so now the saloon almost look respectable. Anders also had an adventure day going to Ducus, a close by city, where there was a diving shop who was a dealer for Coltri, our dive compressor. So we had ordered the parts we needed a month ago via email but they were not the best at answering and ordering. They thought they had the parts at home but that was not the case. So we ordered them again and it was going take about 10 days.

So after finishing the work week we were a bit tired of fort de France and left for St Pierre on the northern part instead and waited for the parts there. St Pierre is a city that was completely destroyed in 1902 by a volcano erupting with only three persons surviving in the city. There is still a lot of half destroyed houses showing so we got a bit of history sightseeing done. St Pierre was also a good point for hiking so we took a full day trying to go to a waterfall. When we got there, it turned out to be a big tourist attraction with entrence fees and a guide, not really what we were looking for so we continued walking towards the top of Mount Pelee, the volcano that erupted, instead. But when we got to the start of the trail we were a bit tired after walking the whole day it started to get a bit late. We did not want to walk back on the road though. Instead we found a small path leading from the track towards the town, only parts of it where showing on the App maps we had, but after some satellite imaging we found a small overgrown path. We climbed up and down a rather big ravine and after some more bushes we found a nice track and got to say hi to some cows on the way. After walking this track for an hour or so through a lot of different types of terrain everything from small bushes, rain forrest, open fields and sugar cane plantations, we arrived at a rum distillery, which of course had free tasting of its products. We had a well-earned break at the distillery and did buy a couple of the tested products. We then walked the rest of the way to the dinghy and pretty much crashed when we got back to the boat.

After almost a week in St Pierre with snorkeling, diving and hiking, we only had one more thing to do, bunkering food. We rented a car in St Pierre to be able to go to the bigger supermarkets closer to Fort De France. But first we decided to take a tour of the Island. We drove all around the island in a car that sounded like it where going to fall in to pieces most of the time. But finally at around 10PM we had finished with all the shopping having to go 2 times to be able to fit stuff in the very small car, Citroen C1, and also got the parts for the diving compressor. After storing everything and cleaning, we were off for Dominica on Sunday

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