We have arrived in French territory! Martinique, with its famous port of Le Marin, of which we have heard stories told again and again in conversations with certain friends. It is a bit like a required stop for all travellers to the Antilles.
We arrived in the Bay of Sainte-Anne, a large anchorage just before the port of Le Marin. It is truly the fist time we have seen so many boats at the same anchorage... between 150 and 200 boats, and this is half as many as in December, apparently!
Here, side-by-side, we found catamarans for charter, a few local boaters, travellers like us – whether for a short or a longer stopover – and people living all year long aboard their sailboats. We even found a big catamaran that had been converted to make take-out pizzas! It was an entirely separate population that, at the end of the day, had very little contact with locals.
The first thing that we did, as soon as we touched foot on land, was to find a REAL bakery to buy good, buttery croissants that we devoured as we were just leaving the shop. We did not miss out on the deliciously crusty traditional baguette, either. It was pure pleasure to enjoy good bread, again!
In the marina of Le Marin, everything is at your disposal so that you do not have to leave: laundry, bar, restaurants, souvenir shops, tourism office, post office, bank, supermarket, doctor and nurse, marine hardware store, upholsterer, rigger… and even a Leader Price, with its own dock, enabling you to unload your groceries from the cart directly into the tender.
It’s really practical!
We rented a car for several days, which enabled us to visit the island of Martinique. We visited old rum distilleries. We hiked through tropical forests and visited tropical gardens donning a thousand bright colours. We wandered through the local markets with their colourful accents and spices. Then, of course, we sailed from cove to cove, passing from a fine sandy beach to jumping over the bow in pursuit of sea turtles and multi-coloured fish.
Blanche enjoyed having her godfather, who had come for a visit, there to help her try to swim. Together, they jumped and dived. Blanche forgot that she was not wearing the water wings, and she learned to swim! She and Gabin astonish us with the growing confidence they show from day to day.
One evening, while we were at a café terrace, the children saw a little boy their age seated at the table with his parents. Without waiting a second, they dashed off to meet him, and soon, there they were in a discussion with the parents of the little boy. Seeing this discussion go on for some time, we got up to make sure that our children were not bothering them too much. They were impressed to see the confidence of this little three-year-old boy who came to tell them all about his life aboard our sailboat, Zanzibar. To the question, “where do you live?” he answered: “I live on vacation.”
We spent several more days in Martinique, where we met up again with another boat, “Pouplier,” friends we had met in Casamance. Then, we continued on our way to Dominica.