It has been there, waiting in my mind, since 1995, the last time I slept at anchor in Grande Anse D'Arlet, a dream that I would again sail along the coast of Martinique and pull in to the tranquility of this beautiful place.
So I did the check in bit at St Pierrre, shopped for some good cheese and rillette before heading down from St Pierre to see if my beautiful place was now full of T shirt vendors and the jump up, all the rum you can drink, catamarans full of pink cruise ship people who were shuttling the willing sheep onto the perfect beach from the floating car parks.
As the anchorage was open in St Pierre I sailed the anchor out and even fell off on to the right tack. The wind was fluky to begin with but I stood off a mile or so and picked up a steady breeze which gave me 5 knots, then 6 and we touched 7 a few times all in flat water. A great sail down the coast past Fort de France and as I rounded up into the Anse I could see that there had been some development but nothing hideous and the white zits of mooring buoys were only a very minor outbreak.
The Anse is also home to a fishing village and they were out in force early in the morning, some with ring nets and some pulling fish pots. One guy seemed to be hunting for something with a glass bottomed bucket in the middle of the bay. Later on I saw him pull up a fishpot so I guess someone had run over his buoy and cut the line.
On the way in I saw these sad sites. I wonder if the AWB was a charter boat or someones shattered dreams. The steel boat certainly was not a charter boat. It was interesting to see that it was almost intact and could have still be refloated while the AWB has lost its keel and has gaping holes in the sides. Mind you some of those might have been cut to aid the removal of the engine.
There are lots of the cruising community, mostly French, gathered here and in a variety of boats although he percentage of steel boats is higher than average. There are 2 or 3 manufacturers in France and while they might not be the prettiest or fastest boats around they do the job.
It was always a good spot and if anything the coral variety seems even greater than I remember.
Got a good shot of the trumpet fish.
This spiky frilly vase was new to me.