Thursday, January 28, 2010
Martinique, January 2010 - Anse D'Arlet
First driving excursion is out around the point to the west and north - passing the famous landmark, Diamond Rock, which the Brits used as a vantage point to block entry into St Pierre in the early 1800s (including cannon hoisted up, and some 100 men sleeping in caves & tents.)
We're on a mission to find what is touted as a great snorkelspot. The roads are, well, precarious at best. Narrow, with laughable guardrails and absurd inclines & switchbacks. We manage to avoid inadvertent car-cliff-diving to arrive safely in the village of Anse D'Arlet. The little cove ("anse" in French) has zero surf, a few sailboats & catamarans, and a handful of traditional Martiniquan fishing dories. Bailey, Maddie & Finn don gear and immediately wade in at the beach to see what they can find. There a few vendors wrapping up at the market, where I purchase a bowl made from a calabash gourd. There is a little cinema, little pharmacy, and little library and a handful of shops - all closed, as it is mid-day. The beachfront restaurant - open. Phew! Snorkelers get hungry....
The next cove and village are even smaller, but there is an unbelievable diving spot with underwater cliffs dropping away unnervingly for even the most stalwart of snorkelers. Again, I take up post on the shore, peering into puddles at sealife while the rest of the family finds a few shells.
Fishermen row out to check the nets, signalling each other across the cove with conch horns. We figure out that they're about to haul in the nets, and scramble over to the beach to see what comes in. A dozen tourists lend a hand in dragging the huge net across the cove bottom. The results - a few conch and small basketload of undersized fish. We bought a fish of indeterminate kind for dinner - it was only about 14" long, and had an extremely stiff spine, but was quite meaty and delicious.
at 11:05 AM