23 December 2014 | St Anne, Martinique
So, we are in the Caribbean - or are we? - Martinique, being French, is a mix of French attitude, Euro-rich, coconut & palm trees meet baguette and Camembert with Rhum punch instead of Bordeaux wine sort of place. My mouth still waters at the thought of our morning croissants, pains au chocolate and brioches. Traffic around Fort-de-France will beat Boston rush hour anytime. We enjoyed a couple of weeks of R&R here: one free week in Le Marin marina (free for Atlantic Odyssey Rally participants) and a second week at anchorage in St. Anne.
Continuing with our volcano theme, we visited St. Pierre in the north of the island, where, in 1902, Mt. Pelee exploded and wiped out the whole town of 30,000 people off the map. The only survivor: a guy imprisoned for murder in a thick stone cell that protected him from the pyroclastic phenomenon of boiling mud, lava, hot gasses and flying rocks. He became famous for his narrow escape. Some of the remains of the original town can still be seen around the new town. We visited a local museum, in which all the exhibits were in French but it had a good video with subtitles in English among other languages.
We also visited the local rhum distillery which still had a big boiler (that burnt the cane husks) to power the big steam engine that drive the cane crush and heated the stills. It was a fascinating tour of basic steam powered machinery that still worked Plus we had a nice lunch and bought some rum!
On December 23, we left for the island of St. Lucia, where we were planning to celebrate Christmas.