Despite my inability to pick a "favourite" island a few days ago, Martinique definitely ranks up there and we've made Ste. Anne our home for almost a month now. What on earth could we have been up to that would keep us in the same spot for so long? Well, as you may know, I have a fond spot for Pain Chocolat, and certainly enjoy a bottle of French wine now and then, but to be honest it is just the laid-back atmosphere here that is so easy to love. Add to that, Le Marin is THE place to buy bits and pieces for a French boat and if they don't have what you're looking for in the chandlery, they just order it in for you - from the motherland, across the pond. 24 hour delivery - no problem!
So we've spent our time completing a few little projects, but mostly watching fellow cruisers come and go as they hurry south to make haul-out, visitor arrival and/or insurance deadlines. We've joined in beach BBQs, multiple hikes and then watched quite a few of the Euro 2016 soccer games in various bars around the bay.
We caught up with old friends from last season in Grenada, we made new friends on Sula (Lesley & Stu) and Indigo (Kathy & Greg) and last but not least had a reunion with some of the first cruisers we met back up in the BVI in the spring of 2015 - Notre Vie (Sunny & John and their guest Dave).
|Enjoying the view from the lighthouse on Cape Caravelle.|
|Sitting rather precariously on the ledge - boy was it a long way down!|
|We've now walked miles of coastal paths, especially up the wind-blown east side of the island.|
|On one expedition to the east side, we stopped for snack and self-picked mangos. We had a fairly global contingent here: Tracy & Wayne (South Africa), Lesley & Stu (New Zealand), Peter (Denmark), Kathy & Greg (US) and of course us (Canadian).|
|Beach casting with big long rods on a Sunday morning.|
|The beaches at the southern end of Martinique have picture postcard white sand, palm trees and plenty of space for everyone.|
|Hiking with Kathy & Greg from Indigo - couldn't resist posing with this one!|
|And a cold Lorraine after a hot hike never goes amiss.|
|Unlike many of her neighbouring islands, Martinique is also very pastoral with large herds of cattle in fenced fields.|
|Getting in one last hike around Salines Beach - this one we like because there's a beer stop not far from the end. Cold beer, a bit of exercise and great camaraderie - this is what life down here is all about!|
|Getting the wiring installed inside the davit tube, ready for installation of the panel.|
|And there it is, nicely mounted over our davits and angled back just slightly to capture the later afternoon sun.|
|Of course we're getting into the rainy season so we're very glad of our wind generator that helps fill in when the skies are like this.|
Picking up bits and pieces, and keeping the boat stocked with all the French goodness requires trips with the dinghy. It's about two miles over to Le Marin and if the wind is blowing we either have to pack dry clothes or bundle up in hot rain gear to stay dry. Nothing worse that standing dripping salt-water all over the chandlery floor!
|Join us in the dinghy on this little excursion into Le Marin...|
|We drive over some crystal-clear waters as we leave the Ste. Anne anchorage - this is one reason why we like it here so much.|
|In the bay at Le Marin you see all sorts of neat nautical things - including this submersible dock that can lift a catamaran out of the water to have it's bottom painted.|
|The grocery store, Leader Price, has it's own dock. There's another dock on the other side of the bay if you prefer to shop at Simply's and another up a creek where you can visit other shops. All geared to the boater.|
|As we zip across the bay, we avoid the sailing school Hobie-cats. These are local kids learning how to sail, not tourists from a resort.|
|Can you see the boats for all the masts!! There are hundreds of boats on moorings, at anchor and at docks in this bay.|
|Arriving at the marina dinghy dock - blue building is a well-stocked chandlery and there's a great bar with TV and wifi just to the right.|
|Yep, here we are at Mango Bay with Bill & Wendy and James & Pam testing out the beer during the Euro soccer match.|
|After all our provisioning we trundle home back to Mowzer. Lorraine beer is a must-buy on Martinique.|
|Returning to Mowzer, and the last photo of her without her new solar panel on the back.|