Exploring Martinique: Sailing to Saint-Pierre

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 11/19/2023 – 11/26/2023

Bonjour! Have you seen our latest YouTube video?

I apologize for not writing last week; I felt a bit overwhelmed. Along with the freedom this lifestyle provides come lots of decisions. With something as serious as an ocean crossing on our horizon, the pressure is on. It would be easier to delay or give up entirely, and admittedly, we’ve considered it. Our timeline and budget are tight. We need to be safe and responsible, and we want to be confident and comfortable. So, what spares do we really need, and how many? What’s the most reputable brand? What boats ship things to what island, and how long does that take? Who is the best installer? What can be done in the water vs. what must we haul out for? How much will all of this cost? Where do we want to be in 2025? because I need to apply for the appropriate visas now… Does this even make sense anymore? Is it worth it? My brain hurts.

We are anchored in the beautiful French Caribbean island of Martinique. Tuesday night was the first night in months that it was cool enough to sleep with a blanket. After a summer in Grenada, it’s a privilege not to wake up in a pool of sweat. 😅 We took the dinghy to shore the next morning to get off the boat and get some perspective. We visited a nearby bakery for coffee and croissants, then ventured out on a hike. We marched our way up a steep trail to an outdoor Catholic Church. Catholicism is the main religion on the island, and there seems to be a church everywhere we turn! It was closed when we reached the top, but the view was beautiful.

We walked back through town and stopped by the store to pick up a couple of bottles of wine, a block of butter, and a fresh baguette before heading back to Sabado just in time to catch another spectacular sunset.

We spent the day Thursday tackling some boat projects. I worked on organizing the purchase and shipment of some equipment for our crossing, and Ray made us a new anchor bridle out of our old mooring lines. We both did some cleaning then got dressed up for date night! Rather than cooking a Thanksgiving feast in our tiny galley, Ray arranged for us to have a chef’s choice meal ashore. We went to a restaurant called Kube, where the only decision we had to make was how many glasses of wine we wanted. 🍷 There were five tables in the entire restaurant, so if you want to go, make a reservation beforehand! We were served eight courses made with a variety of locally sourced ingredients. Here are some photos😍:

We went home feeling very thankful (and very full).

Friday afternoon, we made the long dinghy trip into Le Marin for provisions. We stopped at a large grocery store for fruit, vegetables, and dairy. I’m assuming we went on their restocking day because every single aisle was half-blocked with stacks of boxes and crates. As a result, no one could bring their cart down any of the aisles. It was a disaster, and we got out of there as quickly as possible! 😂 We stopped by a butcher shop on the way back to the dinghy to get the last of what we needed. I was so proud of myself for ordering entirely in French! The hardest part for me was the beef. I didn’t know how to say the different cuts, so I just asked for “filet de boeuf” and crossed my fingers. I’m still not sure what I came home with… 🤷🏼‍♀️

By Saturday morning, we were ready for a change of scenery. We pulled up our anchor and set sail toward Saint- Pierre. Our trip began in calm conditions, with ~12kn of wind, and a pod of dolphins paid us a visit! 🐬

As we made our way up the coast, the wind started to pick up. We reached 20-25kn as we passed Forte De France; our SOG was 7.5kn! We were having a blast and enjoying the sunshine.

We sailed within a mile of our destination before we lost the wind, started an engine, and dropped our sails. We anchored off of Anse Turin Beach, at the base of Mount Pelée, and watched in awe as the clouds turned pink over the volcano while the sun went down.

Saint- Pierre was known as the most economically and culturally significant city in Martinique and was commonly referred to as “the Paris of the Caribbean” until Mount Pelée erupted in 1902. The eruption was one of the most deadly in recorded history, killing ~28,000 people over three years. The eruption triggered mudslides and tsunamis, making escaping the city virtually impossible. One of the only survivors turned out to be a prisoner who had been kept in a windowless underground cell and was later discovered by rescue workers.

This morning feels unreal… the water is still, the air is cool, and it smells so strongly of flowers here. It’s like someone sprayed air freshener in the anchorage! 😂 We’re enjoying our coffee while staring up at the volcano. I’m not sure what will be open on a Sunday, but we’re eager to get to shore and explore!

I hope you had a great week. ❤️

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi! I can imagine you must have lists upon lists to prepare for your Pacific crossing. Although, it looks like your change in scenery has given you a new perspective and chance to refresh.

    Thank you for keeping us updated on your progress.

    1. Hi Kris! Yes, some beautiful scenery and a nice sail seems to have eased our anxiety! Trying to tackle our lists one item at a time… 🤞🏼Thank you for your kind words, hope you are doing well. 🙂

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