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Update: Martinique, Feb 2002
We had waited for the weather to calm down before leaving Bequia and made the most of a lessening of the swell to leave one morning. As we got into the Bequia channel it was rough with big waves and we both got drenched, but once we got about 2 miles north the seas calmed down, although we still had 20 - 25 knots of wind most of the way. When we got near Rodney Bay, St Lucia we had such good wind for heading to Martinique that it seemd a shame to stop, so taking 2 hour watches we continued until we got to Ste Anne. In the light of the Full Moon and with the additional help of the forward looking sonar, we found a safe place to anchor and dropped the hook around 3 am.

Left: cloudy skies over Ste Anne anchorage

The following morning, Pete & Von arrived on Island Moon with their liferaft inflated! It had come adrift from its mountings in some heavy seas, but fortunately was still secured to the boat. We helped them to get it packed up again, and then we all went in to  Fort-de-France to the service agent. We enjoyed strolling around the town, and had a mouth-watering sandwich at Lina's, using Euros for the first time. The countryside of Martinique seems very cultivated after the more southerly windward islands, with grass and cattle as well as the more common sugar cane and palm trees.

It was a pleasure to be back once again  in the land of excellent baguettes, good wine and cheese. The weather was still unseasonably cloudy with showers. But with good friends, a safe anchorage and plenty of shops nearby, whose complaining?

The carnival activities started the week before Mardi Gras itself, with parades and fantastic drumming and concerts in the town square. A lot more low-key than Trinidad, but very enjoyable and probably closer to its origins. There are several themes - black and white; black and red; devil masks; local costume featuring madras fabrics and just generally dressing-up! Whatever, it was always accompanied by percussion instruments. On many days the drumming continued long into the night, and as the climax approaced, with the ritual burning of Vaval, there were noisy fireworks and even noisier car engines, roaring along the usually quiet roads.

Ste Anne anchorage is one of the great places for sunsets, and we saw a green flash on two separate occasions, but have so far been unable to catch it on camera.

Left: Overstreet at sunset
Below: an evening regatta

Cruiser's notes: Ste Anne is a charming town, with a couple of small supermarkets, at least two bakeries and  an open air produce market for fruit, veg & fish. There is no self-service laundromat, so we had a our laundry collected and returned from the jetty, although they had a problem one day which meant that we had to leave with a bag full of dirty washing. There is no internet cafe, but there are several restaurants. We had enjoyable meals at Le Sud and Le Tamariniers.

For major provisioning we go round to Le Marin, where there is a huge Annette supermarket. There is internet acces at La Carene boatyard office, and also upstairs at the main marina building. There are good chandlers and many services. 
To get our propane tanks refilled, Graham got a bus from Ste Anne to Californie.

There is no charge for clearing in or out of Martinique.

For more information about Martinique see the page from our previous visit




All photographs copyright Graham Berry, 2002. Images on this page have been size reduced and compressed.
High quality digital images available by arrangement - please contact us by email

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