With loads of our boat jobs out of the way (but many more to be done) we decided that we had had enough of Marin. It is great for repairs and provisioning, but the water is too dirty to swim and it is very touristic and crowded. So with Thomas’ birthday coming up, we were headed for some white beaches!
The windlass (little electrical engine which pulls in the anchor chain) had a very difficult time hoisting the anchor with many kilos of mud on it. We navigated carefully out of the ‘cul-de-sac’ as we had seen a catamaran run onto a reef the day before. We were trying not to repeat that! So with one eye on the chart plotter and one eye on a second opinion from Navionics we carefully manoeuvred out of the bay. During the sail we were joined by a large pod of dolphins, singing an early happy birthday to Thomas.
Grande Anse turned out to have everything we hoped for: white beach, clear water, turtles swimming around and plenty of room to anchor. Later we even found a tap to fill our almost-empty water tanks and the birthday weekend could begin! We hung around, ate cake, read books, chilled in the hammock (hello hammock, we don’t spend nearly enough time together!) and sipped beers on the beach.
The only little drama (there is always something) was that we seemed to have lost Thomas’ wallet.. After a couple of phone calls we found out that it was in the marine store in Marin. What a relief! The next day we tried to get there by bus, but we didn’t have any luck. We did find a legit looking bus stop filled with old ladies enjoying the shade. They laughed hard when we explained what we were up to. It would be faster to go on foot (30 kilometres!). After a fruitless minute of trying to hitchhike we decided to give up and head back to the beach. We were planning on going to Fort de France anyway and the wallet wasn’t going anywhere in that marine shop.
We had heard that there is a very cheap marina just outside Fort de France, the capital of Martinique. Our water tanks were almost empty: a good excuse to check it out. It was so new that it wasn’t on our charts yet, so we had to sail there the oldfashioned way: looking at buoys and water colours. It almost went wrong as we had to take a few sharp turns before entering the harbour, but Thomas noticed just in time before we would have run aground.
It was true what the internet told us: this marina was the cheapest ever! It was just a 1,5 hour stroll from the city center but we were not complaining (ok, maybe I was). There, we found the bus to Marin, collected the wallet and even found a Decathlon on the way back. The SUPs there had been calling our names for ages and we finally gave in. We both had birthdays after all!
Our last stop in Martinique was Saint Pierre, a village known because of an unfortunate history. During a violent eruption of the volcano just outside of town everyone died except for one prisoner. His cell walls were thick enough to keep the boiling lava at a safe distance.. Back in the days it used to be a busy harbor, but now only a small amount of yachts visits the town. It is a pretty laid-back town with a few pretty beaches around the corner. Needless to say we played around with the paddle board and even made some friends!