21 May 2013
I love this island!
We have been in St Pierre for a week and really enjoying it! Many other boats have come and gone, pushing to get south of the 12th parallel before June 1st. We have decided to just take our time and keep an eye on the hurricane website.
This month is the anniversary of the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee and there have been many events to celebrate including parades and mini symphonies. Yesterday we walked 2.5 Km to Depaz Ruhm Distillers (uphill) to view the facility and more importantly to taste the rum!
Today is a big waterfront event with wonderful food to taste and music to enjoy. Colorful dresses, big straw hats and French folk music. Add a few art vendors and you can picture this little town's celebration. We ate something wonderful but I can't tell you exactly what it was. There was a long line so I figured it must be good, while in line I tried to find out what it was I was going to get. Explaining that I did not speak French I asked if anyone spoke any English. They did not. I got out my Wordless Traveler and with the pictures in the Dining Out section they were able to tell me I had a choice of fish, pig and cheese, or Sucre (sweet). They looked like very large English muffins but a different texture and they were yummy!
The festivities ended with a fireworks display off the end of the town pier. Our front row seats included complimentary beverages! The only down side was lack of a waiter (where is that cabin boy when you need him?). The music ended early so we were able to sleep without earplugs and get ready to move on in the morning.
Fort de France
Nestled between the still active Fort St Louis and the bustling town of Fort de France, the anchorage here is quite unique. Shopping is the main activity here with every type of store available and it is what brought us here as well. Finding a SodaStream dealer is our objective and we are prepared. With the help of Google Translate and the website sodastream.fr, I now have the name and address of a dealer. I would like to add an important note here, numerous times I have heard that the French are snobs and do not treat the Americans well. Time and time again my experience has been just the opposite! The few dozen French words I know has gotten us all the assistance we could ask for. Entire groups of people gather together trying to figure out what we want and with limited words and lots of hand gestures we are sent off in the right direction with happy faces all around. I really LOVE the French islands.
Anse de Arlet
After three nights in the big city we move to the quiet anchorage of Anse Noire, snorkeling, swimming and quiet time high on our list. We cleared out for a future date so we could stop at a few lovely towns on our way south. The French are amazingly laid back regarding clearing in and out unlike most of the remaining islands in the Eastern Caribbean. After a snorkel excursion cut short due to an amazing number of jellyfish stings, we tried to reset the anchor again and decided we were not comfortable with the holding in windy conditions.
We moved on to to Grand Anse de Arlet and then to Petit Anse de Arlet, two picturesque little town on the southwest coast, to enjoy our last four nights in French paradise. Snorkeling was very good on the south side of the latter bay with an overwhelming amount of healthy sea fans, coral and sponges spreading out to the anchorage. It is no wonder that they have mandatory mooring balls, this entire area is now a national park. A great stop that I would recommend.