Martinique ~ the Eastern Side
Announcers Voice: “Previously on s/v Let It Be….”
Seriously, it has been a while since our last blog because we have not had sufficient internet to publish, so as a reminder, our last post was about Guadeloupe.
Due to wind directions we chose to sail from Guadeloupe along the eastern side of Dominica to Martinique. Although we didn’t have a guide book that covered the eastern side of Martinique, we wanted to take a look and see if there were some decent kite boarding spots. I know; color you shocked!
With all charts up and running, we decided to enter Le Robert, a huge bay near the middle of the eastern side of Martinique.
A view of Le Robert from the top of the mast.
Watching our depth closely since there were no markers and the depth changes significantly, we scouted out an isolated spot and dropped anchor. There were no other boats, but the area was pretty and we thought we would take a look around.
Captain was in favor of stopping right here!
Well it turns our, we had anchored near a popular, protected island.
I have tried to do a bit of research about the area because reading the French signs didn’t go well this time. From the bit I have been able to translate, it appears we anchored near a fairly famous French area called Ilet Chancel.
After we anchored, several day boats, inflatable boats and kayakers arrived.
Ilet Chancel is the largest and northern most ilet in Le Robert. It is a popular stop for folks touring on day boats because it has the remains of an old sugar processing area. The site has not been restored, but there are many partial walls, former kilns and supposedly a dungeon. Since the site is not well marked or restored and all information is in French, we allowed our imaginations to fill in the blanks.
Perhaps an old kiln or oven?
Not sure what this was, but of course we walked up the steps.
Nature reclaiming a wall
So many people mentioned the iguana! Apparently the Delicatissima Iguana is endangered and this little island is a perfect environment for them. The other visitors were very quick to point them out. So many pictures were being snapped of the iguana that I thought we were all paparazzi!
Looks like the one from Petite Terre
I am not a herpetologist, so I couldn’t spot why this iguana was special, but we took the obligatory picture!
While anchored by Ilet Chancel, we were able to help some locals who had some trouble with their inflatable RIB. We enjoyed chatting with Olivier Melissa and their daughter Anna. More about them later!
After enjoying the quiet of Ilet Chancel for a few days, and completing a couple of items on our project list (new lazy Jacks for the sail bag, changing out our main halyard, etc.) we motored just across Le Robert to Ilet Madame. This small island is another French marine park where locals enjoy spending the day hanging in the shallow water and picnicking on the shore.
Sunset behind Ilet Madame
We anchored behind a coral reef between Ilet Madame and the Pointe de la Rose. This shallow area provided nice wave protection but allowed plenty of breeze. These were ideal kite boarding conditions and Frank and I took turns enjoying the beautiful wind and water.
Nice air, Frankly!
My turn: no air.
Although Frank was at the ready in the dinghy, I was able to kite without support both days. I cannot say I am willing to kite without help available, but I see improvement and I am having more fun with the sport. It isn’t tennis, but it is a lot of fun!
Remember Olivier, Melissa and Anna Egloff? Well they agreed to go sailing with us and joined us on our sail from Le Robert down around the southern point of Martinique and into St. Anne. It was great fun spending the day with this delightful family.
Anna is a doll and can I just say, wow, girls are a little different than boys! Anna happily entertained herself with her stuffed animals and was happy to stay in one place instead of climbing all over any obstacle she could find. At first I wondered if she didn’t feel well, but nope, this little doll was perfectly fine, but also happy just to play quietly in one spot.
Olivier has plenty of sailing experience and helmed most of the trip.
The Egloffs, originally from France, now live in Martinique. We learned a lot from them including that the world surfing tour has now had a stop in Martinique for two years in a row. Olivier shared some amazing photographs he took at the event. He is an excellent photographer and you should check out his photos!
photo by Olivier Egloff.
We completely enjoyed our day with Olivier, Melissa and Anna and are so glad they were willing to share their time with us.
The next day, Frank and I moved the boat to La Marin. As luck would have it, some friends we met in Union Island, Grenadines, had some business to conduct in La Marin so we were able to get together. Turns our Greg and Lynda Jo are looking for a boat and Greg was in La Marin checking out a few boats on their “possible” list.
Future home for Greg and Lynda Jo?
When Greg told us he was pretty serious about one boat called, “Aquatauris” we had to take a look too! She is a beauty, at least from the outside, and Greg tells us the interior is even better.
Greg joined us for dinner on LIB and we spent the evening discussing pros and cons of various sailboats. The evening could only have been better if Lynda Jo had been with us. Hopefully by the time this is published, Greg and Lynda Jo will be owners of their future sailing home!
Our last full day in La Marin, we rented a car and toured Martinique. It was a national holiday so nothing was open, but we still enjoyed seeing this beautiful island. The variety of the terrane is fabulous and makes a driving tour constantly interesting. Here are a few views from the car.
My favorite little town was Morne Rouge. It is a pretty town with a fabulous view, lush vegetation and a beautiful old catholic church named Notre-Dame of the Délivrance.
Main street Morne Rouge
Notre-Dame of the Délivrance
Notre-Dame was first completed in 1867. In 1891 a cyclone severely damaged the church but it was quickly restored. Mount Pelee erupted in 1902 and again in 1929. Both times the church suffered damage but remained standing. Interestingly, a statue of the Virgin Mary which was sculpted in 1953 still stands in the church, unharmed.
Notre-Dame of the Délivrance is a popular pilgrimage spot for inhabitants of Martinique.
And my final photo for today is just to make you smile. BTW, I did stop in. I wanted to get a diet coke with extra ice, just to have the ice!
On our way to the McDrive!