Since our last post of 10th June, we spent more time in Martinique, while waiting for islands to the south of us, to open their borders. A large number of yachts departed to Grenada, where conditional entry with two weeks quarantine and Covid-19 testing on completion, was put in place.
On the 14th June we sailed north to Martinique’s capital, Fort de France, with “Nimrod” and “Purrr” for a change of scenery. We used the FdF anchorage as a base and rented a car to reach some trails on the island.
Sailing to Fort de France.
Our first 10 km hike was the Canal de Beauregard near St Pierre in the north. This 5km long irrigation canal, fed from the upper reaches of the Carbet river, was built by slaves in the 18th century. The canal clings to the side of the mountain and in sections near the end, has a sheer drop of hundreds of metres down into the valley of the Carbet river – absolutely breathtaking.
The next hike was high up in the central mountains, to reach the Didier falls. This walk takes you through a 150m long tunnel. Afterwards, we visited the beautiful “Jardin de Belata”, a few km’s further up the valley. These gardens were established in 1982, by the horticulturist Jean-Philippe Thoze.
Our last hike this week, was along the “Trace de Jesuits” a trail established by Jesuit priests along the Lorrain river. This walk is in the rainforests and lived up to its name – we walked back in the rain, on the way back to the car.
Back in Fort de France, we visited the Schoelcher library. This library was shipped from France after a Paris exhibition in the 19th century and rebuilt here piece by piece.
We woke up on the 18th of June, to a dust storm blowing in from the Sahara, over thousands of miles of Atlantic Ocean. We thought we had seen the last dust storms in Egypt and Cyprus. The dust blanketed out the sun for three days. With the following rain, our boats looked like they had a mud bath.
A surprise awaited us when we tried to start the engine to sail to Anse Mitan at the three islands, to join a group of friends for lunch on Saturday the 21st. The 5-year old engine battery died suddenly, as they sometimes do. We motored back to Fort de France on the Monday and bought and installed a new 70A/h starter battery, before sailing to Petite Anse d’Arlets in the south.
In Petite Anse d’Arlets, we joined Chris and Sue Jones on “Nimrod” for their 20th wedding anniversary dinner and party, with these yachties – a jolly evening and a late night affair, with lots of dancing.
Word reached us that St Vincent and the Grenadine islands to the south, will accept yachts from the end of June, subject to an application submission and a Covid-19 test on arrival, which if negative, will allow the crew to enter after 24 hours. We immediately submitted our application online and got approval on the 25th of June. We sailed back to our previous anchorage at St Anne to do our laundry and check out of Martinique on Monday the 29th June 2020. So, here we go at last, after an unplanned four months in lovely Martinique, to travel south to St Lucia and on to St Vincent and the Grenadines. We’ll keep you posted – until then, Cheerio!