|Church in Anse d'arlet|
Since arriving in Martinique, we have anchored in 5 different bays. The port of clearance was St. Pierre, which is a small town on the northern part of Martinique. The tourist office has computers for checking in and it was free! We love free! The anchorage in St. Pierre is deep and you have to go a few hundred yards from shore to anchor in 15-20 ft of water. There were northerly swells the night we were there which made it a bit uncomfortable!
The second anchorage was in Fort De France. It’s a relatively small place to anchor and it’s busy with ferry traffic. One night when we came back to take the dinghy back to the boat, we saw the crew of a Danish boat stranded without their dinghy. It was stolen from the dock, so we rowed them to their boat and showed empathy. Fortunately, I don’t really have to worry about Earthling 8.8, since most of the time there is no outboard on it and if somebody took it, they wouldn’t get far! Based on experience, there is more crime in big cities than small towns! I made a rule after our experience in Ponce, that anytime we anchor in an urban area, we have to lock up everything!
Our friend on “Margaret” recommended a visit to Anse d’Arlet. There is a Grande and Petite Anse d’Arlet and we anchored in the small one since the Grande was too busy! However, there was a reason that one was busier than the other! Petite Anse d’Arlet is not as protected and can become very rolly. We could not wait to wake up in the morning and sail to the next place! There is a trail from petite to grande over the hill, but you might get lost and end up on the cliffs and rocks on the other side, which almost happen to us! Easier route is to take the major road and walk 20 minutes on the flat surface.
The easter weekend, we were anchored in Ste. Anne, which is a small touristy town, with many small restaurants, bars, and a beautiful long beach. Ste. Anne was packed during that weekend with families camping, barbecuing, and partying on the beach. This anchorage was calm and comfortable.
Our last stop was in Marin and it is crazy how many boat are anchored here! Marin is definitely the yachting center of Martinique and the windwards! There are boat yards and chandeliers, but the prices are based on the European standards! I was looking for a small o-ring for the sink and it cost €2.50, forget about it! Furthermore, Marin is a hurricane hole and no matter how windy it is, you don’t move much. We checked out here a few minutes ago without being charged. The French Islands are great to check in and out of! You put all your info in a computer and nobody asks to look at any paperwork, passports or boat documents! With the exception of St. Barts, the French islands have the cheapest custom and immigration fees! It’s expensive to stay in St. Barts, the charge is based on the size of the boat per day, it cost us €8.5 per day!
The highlight of the visit in Martinique was the Easter weekend and Des Accras (Crab festival) traditional ceremony. The street stands serving fried crabs and other fried sea food have valuable deals; I bought 6 pieces of fried crabs in dough for 2 Euros outside the church in Fort de France and in Ste. Anne. Unfortunately Nico can not have any fried food because of his stomach issues (hernia)! On the other side, Nico is a great cook and since he joined Earthling, it’s been easier for me to give up the cooking responsibilities to him. I have to admit that the food served aboard is more healthy now! Some of the beautiful architectures in Martinique are the Catholic churches. During the Easter weekend, the bells were heard more often than ever, it is after all a peak season for the churches!
“Zero to Cruising” posted a great update about the Easter crab festivities in Martinique, check it out here!
I finally found time to finish installing the AIS unit purchased a few months ago. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and it works like a digital radar! It’s required by law for all large commercial vessels. It simply identifies and communicates with other vessels by name, speed, heading, GPS location, destination, classification, call sign, etc. There are receivers and transceivers. The unit installed on Earthling is a West Marine AIS 1000 transceiver and it’s connected to the Garmin Chart plotter. It has only one button, which is the silent mode, where you can receive and not transmit! In some waters in the world it’s necessarily to utilize that button to avoid piracy!
A common collision scenario is between commercial and pleasure craft at night or in bad weather conditions. AIS definitely minimizes that risk!
It’s important that large vessels see a small sailboat like Earthling, and if I’m single handing and asleep, it will beep till I wake up! The alarm can be set based on time or distance. Pleasure craft are not required by law to have this unit but I would recommend it to cruising boats that make long and overnight passages. In addition, it is fun to use it in busy ports or anchorages. This little project was accomplished with the help of Mike Sweeny!
The Island of St. Lucia is awaiting our arrival tomorrow.
Love from Martinique
View the photo album of Martinique here