Saturday, March 14, 2015

French Island Madness

Club Med II cruise ship visiting us in Dominica before we left for Martinique.

Mount Pele, Martinique.  In 1902 the volcano erupted and killed everyone except for 1 person in the town (St. Pierre) in the lower right of this picture.

The infamous HMS Diamond Rock off French Martinique.  The British placed cannons on this rock and harassed the French, something they still like to do! 

St. Anne, Martinique with just a few of our sailing friends!

Maria trying to connect to the internet on Martinique.  That is difficult on good days!

The Boat Boys on Dominica gave Maria this lovely bouquet of native flowers.  Dominica is our favorite island in the Caribbean.

Sailor friends having drinks (where are the drinks???) one evening on the catamaran Cat Tales in St. Anne, Martinique (Dawn and Laurie on Cat Tales, Al and Michele on Tarentela and Lorna and Brian on Peace and Plenty).

S/Y Aspen – March 14, 2015 – Log #129
Aspen Position: 14 degrees 24’ N  061 degrees 00’ W
Martinique, Caribbean

The Island of Flowers is what the Kalinago called Martinique, long before Columbus arrived in these waters.  Everywhere you look there are flowers popping up from the bush and trees that carpet the velvet green landscape.  Of course these flowers need water and guess what?  Yes, it rains a lot on Martinique.

We put Aspen's anchor down at St. Anne, in the southern part of Martinique, and watched squalls march by on their way west.  The rain washed our salt from Aspen's deck and we were squeaky clean once again.

Ashore we have bakeries to buy baguettes and assorted other French goodies, not to mention Martinique rum that is very potent.  Ti Punch is a favorite drink here and just a couple small glasses guarantee a good nights' sleep, rocking in the Caribbean Sea.

Maria and I, along with several sailing friends, hiked the fantastic trails in this part of Martinique.  One day we hiked to Saline Beach and what did we find at the end?  A French beach restaurant of course.  Ah yes, the French have it right.

Yet even in this paradise there are problems.  It seems Martinique was left behind in the digital world.  Our usual array of internet options fail here and it is necessary to find a data provider to get a connection.  Once we are online it merely takes about 20 minutes to get only a few emails before we run out of money or the internet goes into hiding.  The French islands are notorious for poor internet connections for some strange reason.  Maybe France doesn't want the island to be that modern after all.

As I run past open pasteur lands every morning I see the hunched figures of men gazing intently at strange small wooden boxes scattered everywhere in the fields.  Rats???  Are they looking for rats in their traps?  You never know with the French since snails and frog legs are still staples in their diet.

But no, the traps are not for rats.  The hunters are emptying their traps of land crabs!  Crabs are a delicacy in Martinique and in many parts of the Caribbean.  Crabs, geese.  Who would have thought?

But now it is time to sail to St. Lucia and enjoy the island where we closed our circumnavigation loop.  How bad can a 4 hour sail be, I keep telling Maria as the forecast calls for strong winds and elephant size seas.  Hmmmmm.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

(The book, Voyage Into Hell by Steve Siguaw can be found at too)

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