Nice to be legal
02 January 2018 | Grand Anse D’Arlet, Martinique
We managed to check in today, so are feeling better that we are now legal. The process here is very simple. You fill in an online form in the internet café and the lady at the desk prints it and stamps it – job done. I guess the French are not too worried about the comings and goings out here.
Today we moved the arduous mile north to the next bay – just for a change of scenery really. This bay is much more popular with the boatie peeps than the last for some reason – probably due to the lack of swell – and the anchorage is very crowded, and lots of swimmers in the water. It looks like there are some nice low-key restaurants ashore, so we may go in for supper tonight. It also looks quite busy with all the onshore French holiday peeps. So we will see…
One notable difference between Martinique and everywhere else we have been is there are no ‘boat boys’. For those not familiar with this I’ll explain a bit. ‘Boat boys’ are the vendors who will generally try to get to you fairly quickly in a brightly coloured boat to sell you something – it could be a mooring, fruit, fish, etc… They have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive and so we were a bit nervous about our initial encounters. I’m sure that we have many more to meet and our views may evolve, but for now we will sing the praises of the ‘boat boys’. They are basically local lads and lassies making a living by bringing services to the yachties – often in very out of the way places. The best advice we were given was just listen to their pitch, be polite and if you want to do business great, else part on good terms. In our various encounters we met some lovely hard working people providing a good service, usually with interesting names like ’Daddy Boy’ or ‘Daffodil’ or ‘Didi’; they were polite to us, always fended their boats well whilst coming alongside us, and brought us things we generally needed and were not pushy (with one exception). Services available from them have included fresh bread to your boat, fresh fish, live lobster, ice, water taxi, fruit, moorings, diesel, water, laundry, BBQ ashore, taking away your garbage…. and the list goes on. But basically it’s all stuff you need on boats, that would take some effort to get otherwise. Their prices might be a little above what you might pay onshore but then again they are bringing the items to you in their boat. Our experience to date has been great – they have been fun to meet and have brought us things we wanted. They have been a real plus in the locations we have visited – perhaps with one exception where we ended up with a surplus of fruit as we were keeping both vendors happy – but then again the fruit was delicious and we did eat it, contributing to our ‘5 a day’. This is how they make their living and we can also see the ‘boat boy’ community working together to improve security – if the yachties don’t come because of a security incident, then it’s their livelihoods at stake. So let’s hear it for the ‘boat boys’. Thanks for supporting us in our travels.