Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
The anchorage at Sainte Anne is big and well protected and very popular with cruising boats. I managed to find a place a short row from a small floating dinghy dock and was happy there. Good swimming and old friends on other boats.
The village is picturesque and it was a pleasant stroll from the dinghy dock along a shady road to the small supermarket in the village. I was running rather low on provisions as I had thought I would wait to stock up in Martinique rather than Carriacou where the choice is on the limited side. What a treat to buy good bread, cheese and reasonably priced drinkable wine again. It was a short bus ride to Marin where there is a big supermarket and some interesting chandleries. It rained often enough for my water-catching system to keep the tanks filled.
A footpath follows the coastline and I had a leisurely stroll along it one day. A beautiful walk although there were some patches where I was slithering about, ankle deep in mud. I didn’t get as far as the nudist beach at Salines, in fact, I was only told about it a few days later. Ah well, another time.
After a week or two I felt the need to move on to Fort de France. Not as much of a holiday destination as Sainte Anne, but more convenient access to the supermarket and interesting shopping in town. Frequent ferry boats crossing to Trois Islets on the other side of the bay are a bit of a nuisance, as they create a ferocious wake as they pass through the anchorage regularly throughout the day. Thankfully they don’t run at night. On an impulse, one day when I was passing the ferry dock I decided to take a ride across to the other side to see where they went. Most of the other passengers were typical European holidaymakers, all suitably shod, hatted and slung with cameras for their Caribbean Interlude. A notable exception was a young rastaman with his wife and small son. As the ferry was docking at the other side, he took off his shirt, hitched up his low-slung trousers and casually dived over the side from the open upper deck where we were sitting. I exchanged delighted grins with his wife and kid.
On another day I took a no 24 bus out to the Jardin de Balata, a wonderful botanical garden up in the highlands of the interior. It was a green paradise. On the verandah of the old house that one has to pass through to enter the gardens, they had hung some bird-feeders filled with sugar water for the hummingbirds. I watched for a while as the birds enjoyed their treat. An opportunistic bananaquit also got his share.
Tearing myself away from the birds I wandered through the magnificent garden. An elevated rope walk high up in the canopy was irresistible and I bravely made my way along it imagining I was an intrepid natural scientist a la Attenborough. All too soon it was time to get back to the bus stop to catch the last bus back to town.
A few days later it was on again to St Pierre. A necessary stop for me as it is one of the few places that I know of where I can find spares for my Primus stove. The little corner shop was still there, but the stoves were all gone. The old man behind the counter allowed me to scratch through a box filled with bits and pieces that had been left over and to my delight I found a single new burner which I was very pleased to buy as a spare for when the current one gets too carbonned up to be useful any more. I do have a box of old used burners but having a brand new one in reserve is wonderful for the peace of mind.
St Pierre’s other claim to fame, is the fact that in 1902 it was totally destroyed when the volcano, Mont Pelee, erupted and the 30,000 residents were almost instantly killed by superheated gas that blasted down from the mountaintop. The bay is filled with the sunken wrecks of the ships that were anchored there at the time.
A weather forecast showing good SE winds for a few days soon had me getting ready for the next leg of my passage and on to Antigua.