St Anne’s – Fort de France in Martinique and home for Mal & Sue

Bruce & Gina at the helm

On Friday 3rd February we arrived at St Anne’s which is on the south-eastern point of Martinique. We had a great sail with Gina and Bruce sailing Wyuna by themselves in preparation for when they will be on their own. They did an amazing job and Wyuna responded to all the tacks beautifully. We passed between the mainland and Diamond Rock which is an imposing rock jutting out of the sea – very Gibralta-like.

Main square at St Anne’s

We went ashore to find another quaint little village with the church as the centrepiece of the town. That night was market night and Gina & I made some great purchases from a local jeweller, Anne Richards. More later. We ate dinner at La Dunette who had a Cuban band performing, Men in Black. They were good but were drowned out by the drumming of the “Carnivale” rehearsals. We were treated to an amazing display of what is yet to come at Carnivale time. Each country has a different date and Martinique’s is from 19-22 February in Fort-de-France so each village is practising. It was amazing – we watched three “teams” who were all colour-coded; white, red and yellow. Each group had band players and dancers and boy, could they dance! It went on for hours and the excitement it generated was to be seen to be believed. I feel really privileged to have witnessed the practice sessions given Mal & I won’t be here for the main gig!

The next day we decided to take a look at Port Marin; a marina very close to St Anne’s that can cater for over a 1,000 boats. It’s also home to a large number of charter boat companies so it’s very busy. We went into St Anne to catch the bus and waited, and waited, and waited at what we think was the “bus stop”. One came but told us we needed a different bus. In the end we grabbed a taxi and were there in no time. It was a fascinating marina and Bruce was able to purchase some items for the boat. Alas, we waited where we were told the bus would come but, again, a bus came and it was the wrong one. Not happy Jan! It was bloody hot and we were all getting a tad irritable. We finally found a taxi rank and travelled back to Wyuna in St Anne’s.

Grande Anse des Salines
Sue & Anne Richards

And now, a little more about our jeweller friend. She had agreed to make me a particular piece and so she came and collected Gina & I and took us back to her home. Wow, it was high on a ridge with the coolest of breezes and views; the Atlantic on one side, St Lucia to the south and Diamond Rock looking west. After making a few selections from her collection she drove us down to Grande Anse des Salines, the most highly regarded beach on Martinique. It didn’t disappoint; long sandy stretches with palm trees and beautifully clear water. She then took us through a raised walk in a mangrove swamp that was very interesting. She lived in South Africa for 18 years and has been on Martinique for the past 12. She loves meeting international visitors and showing them with pride her country. She was a charming lady.

Sunday morning we headed off for Grande Anse d’Arlets. Another wonderful sail; with the wind and not into it and we arrived at another beautiful little inlet. This one is more like a holiday venue and because it’s Sunday, the place is crowded with weekenders. Similar to Anse d’Arlets just one cove away, the water is about 7 metres deep and crystal clear. Again, there are lots of turtles and each of us had an opportunity over the 2 days we stayed to actually swim very close to a particularly large turtle that had sucker fish companions.

Tea Garden Cafe in Fort de France

Tuesday morning we head off for Fort-de-France where Mal & I are preparing to leave Gina, Bruce and life aboard Wyuna. We anchor a little closer to Fort Saint Louis this time and are thrilled to witness a colony of iguanas feeding. We head into town for lunch at Lina’s and some shopping and return in the evening for a great last meal together at La Baie Restaurant. A band of four calypso drummers out on the street really set the mood for a terrific finale to our Caribbean adventure.

Our LIAT plane

After farewells and amidst pouring rain, Bruce took us ashore and Mal & I boarded a small plane to Grenada via St Lucia and Barbados. It is much hotter back here in Grenada with high humidity. We’re boarding our flight tomorrow to Miami, LA & finally home on Saturday. We’ve had an extraordinary holiday and both Bruce & Gina know how much we appreciate the opportunity provided to us. Best wishes to you both in the continuing adventure, we look forward to following your escapades! Gina & Bruce will be using their blog address from now on which is http://www.bruceandginas.blogspot.com. Their first blog may take a little time so be patient and hang in there.

Also a quick note to Joe and Shawn, previous owners of Wyuna (nee Libertas) who we understand have been reading our blog. Hi to you both. We feel we know you quite well having sailed on your beautiful yacht over the past few weeks. You really created a home away from home and we acknowledge how much of yourselves you put into the boat. It has everything one could need and some fabulous little touches that really set it apart. Our hats go off to you!

Finally, thanks everyone for taking the time to follow our blog and hopefully we’ve provided some interesting insights into life aboard a 47′ leopard cat sailing The Caribbean. A bientot, Sue & Mal, xox.

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