I decided a few years back that I really wanted to enjoy the cruising lifestyle on board a boat. With Maryse along side, I had a soul mate that also embraced the same dream. After a couple of return trips to the Bahamas I realized that the boat I had, although well equipped and fitted out, was not the boat on which I wanted to cross larger stretches of water. Hence the shopping began for a new boat.
The end result was the purchase of Ambition .... a beautiful Hylas 46.
Our 2002 Hylas 46
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Martinique, St-Pierre and Guadeloupe – Marie-Galante
We made a quick two day stop in St Pierre
on our way to Marie-Galante as we need to clear out of Martinique even though
we are going to another French island – it is a different department and hence
the check out and check in requirements. While in St-Pierre we had two items on
the to do list. Firstly was the least attractive so we got that out of the way
first – I need to see a dentist as I had an infected gum that needed attention.
It turned out that I was already on the road to full recovery but it was reassuring
to get that from the pro! A little 35 euro bill and out the door a happy man!
The second was much more appealing which
was to hike up the Depaz Rum factory.I
hear that they have rum tastings…. yyyessss. It was a good hour and half walk
up the hill to the factory in the morning, which is better than doing it in the
afternoon! The Depaz rummerie is a substantial business and it is set in a
beautiful hillside location.
The self-guided tour was interesting and
the rum tastings were super – white rum versus the various ages of rums that
they produce. We left with a couple of bottles in the backpack, happy with our
The next morning we left St-Pierre for the
50 mile run to Portsmouth, Dominica as an overnight stop only, we didn’t even
clear into customs, just picked up a mooring ball for the night and left early
the next morning for Marie Galante.
Marie-Galante is an island to the south
east of Guadeloupe and it is as different from both Guadeloupe itself as well
as many of the other islands in the area. The island lacks any actual mountains
and is relatively speaking, very flat. The major advantage is that growing
sugar cane on the flat is much easier to harvest mechanically than on the
hillsides. For the island residents, sugar cane continues to be the main industry
on the island.
Sugar Shipping taken Seriously!
We arrived from St-Pierre Martinique and
Dominica and since there is only one port to do customs – Grand Bourg, then
that was the spot. Big mistake – there is a half marina – some docks for
ferries, a few docks for fishing boats and one for private yachts butno room for us. The guidebooks say that
anchoring in the large marina is possible - the posted signs say otherwise. We
anchored just outside the marina but the ocean swells were unbearable as
Ambition rolled 20 to 30 degrees each side in the swells. Up comes the hook and
we head north for calmer waters. We pulled into Bay St. Louis – ahhhhh this is
better. Dropped the hook in 15 feet of clear water with no swells. We will
figure out the customs thing in the morning as we have 24 hours to clear in.
Monday morning and customs is open so we
need to do the paperwork stuff if we want to be legal. A cab driver on the
ferry dock offered to take us on a return trip to Grand Bourg for 20 euros. The
other choice and you will not believe this … we rented a scooter – not the
120cc but the BIG ONE the 135cc for 28 euros for the day. Well Maryse is now
officially the Biker Babe on the back!
It was a little shaky at first as we
wobbled our way down the street but we eventually got in tune with the leaning
bit to get around corners. We were not exactly the “picture of safety” on the
roads but we did have helmets and no flip flops on our feet! On a positive note
– I never lost Maryse off the back and we never tipped over going slowly even
when doing a U turn! Visions of Mr. Bean come to mind!
Anyway, once in Grand Bourg it took a bit
of detective work but we did locate the customs office in a non descript
building on a side street with a side entrance then upstairs. A very
accommodating agent allowed us to both clear in and out (later this week) at
the same time, which saves us from having to return later to clear out, before
we go to Antigua.
A quick stop at the tourist office and away
Marie-Galante was always a very significant
cane sugar and rum producer. We visited the site of one of the largest
producers of the slavery period.Murat
at one point they had 1200 slaves working at this one location.Today all that remains is some ruins of the
period and the chateau /museum.
Found a great little resto on the
waterfront for pizza at Gino Pizza and yes Gino is from Sicily so the pizzas
were good – not as good as the cold Caribe beer but good!
We spent the rest of the afternoon
scootering around the island past cane fields galore and endless white sand
beaches.This really is a beautiful
little island in the sun. Not a lot of pictures as shooting with the scooter
running was not a good idea!