Saturday, 29 May 2010
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In another episode from our popular “I’ll get you green with envy” series, this week we feature a trip to Martinique.B165

As you can probably imagine, in a hotel with an attached marina you occasionally meet people who operate boats and yachts. Thus, one day I meet the charming Chad and Dawn from South Africa who operate a new 53ft Catamaran as a charter for trips around the Caribbean islands. B118a

To date my naval experience had consisted of various car ferries between Belgium/France and England and the Hebrides islands west of Scotland. There were also various day excursions on lakes back home and on vacation and in Curacao, as well as some rafting and dinghy trips down Bavarian rivers. Nothing of those ever included an overnight stay on a boat.

Over time the idea formed that a sailing trip would be something worth checking out and so it was eventually decided that we would sail to Martinique for the night. I can’t remember why Martinique exactly, other than it being the next island over and that you can sail there in 5 hours. Initially there was 4 of us going but it ended up just being the crew of Chad & Dawn and Miss M and me – a private charter. As mentioned, the boat is brand new and quite luxurious. It can accommodate up to 12 people, but certainly do 4 in style.B032

It has a washing machine, a dish washer and an ice machine and fridge back out on deck. It is awesome and made for partying. I hope the pictures can tell the story better than I do.Martinique Cruise March 2010 020

So, one early Saturday morning we boarded the Fennessy and were out of Marigot Bay pretty much at sunrise. Once we had motored out of Marigot Bay the main sail went up and we were off along the St. Lucian coast up north towards Martinique.

I’m sure many people will tell you otherwise, but sailing (at least the sailing we did) is not particularly exciting. We went along at a steady 6 knots, which by all means is not very fast. As a passenger you have nothing to do and so you can admire the seas, the coast and the occasional flying fish. You can of course drink as well, but I have not yet reached the point where I start this at 7:30am and with Miss M present it was out of the question as well.Martinique Cruise March 2010 027

The crew is relatively aware of this dilemma and as even for them there is not that much to do, they break up the journey into various meals. We enjoyed a delightful breakfast and I had South African cereal for the first time ever. There was also a nice lunch just before setting off to the shore!

At these speeds, from Marigot Bay it takes you about 3 hours up north until you leave the St. Lucian shores behind and about another hour before you spot the shores of Martinique.

We eventually arrived in the yachting center of Martinique in the south of the island (Sainte Anne) and anchored just off the coast. There is a beach there and a big Club Med resort with lots of water sports activities.Martinique Cruise March 2010 047

We took the dinghy ashore and set off exploring. I had intended to check out the shops in town in the hope they would be a bit more decent than in St. Lucia but as it turned out the center was about 40 minutes away by taxi and the taxi dude wanted a very ambitious 115 Euros for the trip or 200 Euros return (can you imagine?). We were also told that everything would be closed from 2pm and so we refrained from doing so and walked around Sainte Anne for a while.

Now, while St. Lucia (like most other islands around) is a former colony but now independent (people have St. Lucian passports), Martinique is French. People are French, have French license plates on their cars, flights to Paris are considered a domestic flights, they use the Euro and they are generally as disagreeable as the French back home. Should you have any other money than Euros or try to use any other language than French, be prepared to be ignored. So, for any purchase, I had to dust off my French, which apart from the most common swear words is somewhat limited. As it turned out though, the swear words would do for most occasions. It was not sufficient to figure out if, like their European counterparts, they also think they won the Second World War when everybody knows that the female German Volleyball team could have handled the French. But I digress…Martinique Cruise March 2010 050

Back to Martinique. I would have to admit that the infrastructure certainly seems in a better condition than here in St. Lucia, but then surprisingly, I did not spot one girl that I would consider pretty. In a moment of madness I even pointed this out to Miss M and she agreed! Caribbean folks usually produce pretty attractive offspring so I’m not sure what’s going on there… In any case, the European French do not seem to mind and one thing is for sure – if you like middle aged and “more experienced” pale European French people in tight Speedos, Martinique seems the place to be. ALL of them are here.

Anyway, when the time came to meet to transfer back out to the boat, I was glad to leave. So much in fact that the original plan of having dinner somewhere on the island was scrapped. This was somewhat against original plans. Martinique Cruise March 2010 049

It is at this point that I would like to praise the improvisational skills of our hosts. In 15 years in and around hotels I have come across a few unexpected situations, but none were solved so charmingly as by Dawn & Chad. We had lots to drink, enjoyed a wonderful sunset and then burgers on toast. Yes really. And I tell you what: It was really nice!

We sailed “home” the next day and it was equally exciting as the outbound journey, but it does not matter.Martinique Cruise March 2010 054..

So, while sailing might not be for everybody, I do not see how you can not enjoy drinks, sunsets, music and good food with nice company. I would do this again tomorrow.

Hopefully I will some day soon…

Saturday, 29 May 2010 18:11:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |