During our last few days in Bequia we did a fair bit of walking and saw some more of the island.

Tucked back behind a fence we found this house that clearly belongs to a local seer, but we couldn’t make much sense of the slogans!

The 'Seers' house. Unfathomable Truths!

The ‘Seers’ house. Unfathomable Truths!

After a fairly strenuous climb, there was a great view from the old battery on the top of the hill overlooking Admiralty Bay.

Looking down on IK in Admiralty Bay.

Looking down on IK (bottom right) in Admiralty Bay.

The day before we left we walked over to the much more rugged east coast of the island and stopped for lunch at this small hotel, in a sheltered bay and right on the beach.

Lunch stop at  Sugar Reef Café.

Lunch stop at Sugar Reef Café.

Driftwood Chic!

Driftwood Chic!

Relaxing before our trek back over the hill.

Relaxing before our trek back over the hill.

The view across the bay from our calm and shady spot.

The view across the bay from our calm and shady spot.

We could have stayed longer in Bequia and it is definitely somewhere we can strongly recommend for anyone wanting a stress free relaxed time in the sun. Who knows when we will be round again, but ‘We’ll be back!’

We set off from Admiralty Bay at lunch time on Tuesday, having worked out that the trip to Martinique should take 16 hours…….26 hours later we dropped anchor in St Anne on the SW of the island!!….. Needless to say the winds and currents were very fickle and at one point, as we cleared the north of St Lucia, the wind went from 25knots to 8knots in the blink of an eye and shifted through 90*.

We didn’t stop in St Lucia on principle, as this is the island where our dear friend, Roger Pratt, was killed. As we passed we were able to listen to the morning Cruiser’s Net on the VHF radio and during the ‘comments’ slot, broadcast the reasons for our boycott. The perpetrators have still to be brought to trial, over 14months after being arrested……delayed justice is no justice for Roger’s wife, Margaret!
It was good to hear the discussion that followed. Roger and Margaret are not forgotten, but I wish more cruisers would vote with their hulls until the authorities do more about the level of poverty, drugs and crime on the island and make their judicial system much swifter.

Approaching Martinique, we saw the sailing cruise clipper that anchored near us in Union Island.

Clipper Royale. All sails reefed by furling gear......no hands up aloft in this era of health and safety!

Clipper Royale. All sails reefed by furling gear……no hands up aloft in this era of health and safety!

The history of the Caribbean is so closely linked by the sea to its European colonial masters, so ships like this must have been a common sight as they transported people, raw materials and, shamefully, slaves around the trade wind triangle.
A romantic fortnight of fun today, but a hard and brutal life 150 years ago!

Martinique is the largest island in The Windwards and it is a department of France and it looks and feels like it.

My French is being exercised daily, but luckily we find that in the ‘technical shops’ there is usually someone who speaks good english.

This is a very popular anchorage amongst cruisers and we have met up with three boats that we’ve met before. Getting the local ‘knowledge’ about services and places to eat, visit and avoid makes for an easier time.
We took directions for the car hire office…….’along the beach ’til the end and turn up the path to your right. You can’t miss it!’…….needless to say, with directions like this, we got totally lost and we ended up wandering through what used to be a palm plantation and now is a very chic ‘Club Med’ resort.

Club Med grounds. Did they use palm plantations for oil back during the industrial revolution? If not....what were they for?

Club Med grounds. Did they use palm plantations for oil back during the industrial revolution? If not….what were they for?

Car rental office finally located, but by the time we found it, it was closed for the two hour French lunch break. We decided to return the following day and try again.

Having said Martinique is the largest island, we were still able to drive around the island in a day, avoiding the rush hours. Apparently there are more cars than people….500,000 cars v 400,000 people.
These are some of the sights……

Our Trusty Stead for the day.

Our Trusty Stead for the day.

Looking across to Mount Pelé that erupted on May 8th 1902, killing 30,000 and wiping out the entire capital city of St Pierre. Only 3 survivors!

Looking across to Mount Pelé that erupted on May 8th 1902, killing 30,000 and wiping out the entire capital city of St Pierre. Only 3 survivors!

St Pierre. Some of the scorched buildings still stand under the shadow of Mount Pelé.

St Pierre. Some of the scorched buildings still stand under the shadow of Mount Pelé.

Our Lunch stop spot in St Pierre.

Our Lunch stop spot in St Pierre.

A total surprise. Down a cart track we came across a huge water sports centre. No sign posts....purely for those in the know!

A total surprise. Down a cart track we came across a huge water sports centre. No sign posts….purely for those in the know!

On Good Friday, we were back on foot and walked out along the beach and woodland trail to the south of us ……

On the beach and woodland trail to Les Salines on the south of the island.

On the beach and woodland trail to Les Salines on the south of the island.

……..and discovered en mass ‘wild camping’. All along the beach, families had set up their camps including generators, domestic freezers, sound systems aswell as tents, shelters and gazebos for the four day Easter break.

Le camping sauvage sur la plage. Wild camping on the beach!

Le camping sauvage sur la plage.
Wild camping on the beach!

There must have been over a thousand people, but there were no cars in sight and no children whining or screaming and no raised voices. So unlike British campsites………maybe it’s the sun that chills everyone?

On Friday evening we were invited aboard ‘Madéo’ for a barbecue, we first met Patrick and Florence in Jacaré and then again in Trinidad.

Chez Patrick et Florence sur 'Madéo'.

Chez Patrick et Florence sur ‘Madéo’.

Patrick helped sort out our refrigeration. He speaks very little English, but he and Marcus can talk for ages…….you just have to sit well clear of the gesticulating arms!

So ……… Martinique is a refreshing shot of Europian civilization, but we are planning to move on to the next island, Dominica, on Wednesday. Another English speaking island, sandwiched between the two French islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe, but probably one of the poorest in the chain. We have been told it is beautiful and ‘unspoilt’, so with our newly exercised legs we’ll be ready to explore.

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