Monday, June 13, 2016

Martinique - A Revisit to the Slave Canal

Patiently waiting for the right weather certainly paid off and we had a great sail south from Dominica down to St. Pierre at the north end of Martinique.  We averaged just over six knots for the nine hour trip and arrived in time to find a great spot to anchor on the narrow strip of sand that makes up the St. Pierre anchorage.  It was a regular parade of boats that made their way south with us and since we arrived on Friday, the parade has repeated itself each afternoon since.

With nothing else on the schedule - isn't life like this wonderful? - we decided to revisit our hike to the Beauregard Canal.  We hiked here with Brita and Jason back in January, so pics and details are available here.

What I missed on that posting was a map of the hike - I think I forgot to take the GPS on that day.  So here is the route that we used to get up there and back.

We took the southern route up which is a little farther than the northern road but a whole lot less steep on the way up.  The walk up to the canal is about 3 miles, the canal is another 3 miles each way but is almost completely flat - only a minimal rise on that distance.  Make sure to take lots of water and sunscreen since you are on open roads for the most part.

What was a great hike in January, was made even better with all the flowers and fruit along the way now that it is June - we had to have something to make up for missing Brita and Jason.  Hiking past the banana plantations and cultivated fields provides great views across the county-side and I have a confession to make:  we picked two plump, ripe, red tomatoes and munched on them as we walked along.  I was in heaven - I haven't had a sun ripened red tomato that tasted so good since I left Canada.  They certainly don't sell them like that in the markets down here.  We also found THE BEST mango tree ever just 200 meters below the start of the canal on the side of the road.  The mangos were tiny and sweet and had absolutely no fibre in them.  Needless to say we filled a bag and went home with a dozen and a half delectable little fruits!

Now what would a blog post be without pictures, so here are some of the pretty sights we saw along the way.

Entrance to the huge Beauregard banana plantation.

Fields of bananas stretched out below us.

I loved the archway entrance to this field.

Bananas are bagged on the tree ready for shipment.

Isn't this just the way - put up a sign against dumping garbage and just like that, it's the only place we saw roadside dumping.  Martinique is remarkably clean.

Heliconia - these flowers normally tower over us but we had the ground advantage here.

Another tropical beauty - this one was in a pot at the restaurant and I don't know what it is.

We had a wonderful creole lunch at the restaurant at the top of the canal.  Colombo curry coconut chicken, tomato bisque crawfish, rice, plantain, sweet potato and lentils.  Now we just need a hammock for a nap.  Henry is checking out a pack of hiking routes for Martinique - this pack had 62 cards!

The commonplace red ginger - never thought I would think such a beautiful flower was commonplace.

More Heliconia - this one of the downward hanging variety.

A quick glimpse of the canal and the narrow ledge we walked.

Most hibiscus are red - this pretty yellow variety with it's bright red centre is so delicate and exotic.