Fort de France

12th to 23rd March 2019

Busy anchorage – spacing was tight at times considering that the wind regularly changed direction (only through about 60 degrees, but that’s enough to keep an eye on newcomers to the anchorage).

Notable things about the town: the park next to one of the bus terminal stations is small but very nice – lots of shade, quiet considering its location, interesting plants/trees. The street art is awesome, especially along the run by the river. The fresh food market was good quality but expensive. Avoid everywhere when the cruise ships are in town. The beach is lovely in the mornings, and make sure you walk along the beach towards the fort – just before the fence is a couple of trees which are home to a large number of Iguanas. Boys thoroughly enjoyed watching them, from a surprisingly close distance. We swam from the boat a lot in this anchorage, and as well as the beach, there is a small playground and large, grassy park close to the dinghy dock, so good for cruising families. I would say that neither of the supermarkets was especially good- the Leaderprice was larger, cheaper and marginally closer to the dinghy dock, but badly stocked and pretty dirty, and the quality of the fresh produce was hit-and-miss. Unless you visited early, there were often no baskets/trolleys free; Carrefour was further away and small, but cleaner and the fresh produce lasted longer. The queues were ridiculously long in each at most times of day. Almost directly opposite the Leaderprice is a very well-stocked chandlers, and at least one staff member spoke excellent English.

We Intended to go to the botanical gardens, but those plans were ruined by a bus strike. Damn those French unions and their willingness to withhold labour to get better terms and conditions for their colleagues. For anyone who is able to make the 15 minutes bus ride, the Balata Gardens are reputed to be excellent, with tree-top walks and an excellent playground. Maybe we’ll visit again someday.

We swam a lot in this anchorage, and as well as the beach, there is a small playground and large, grassy park close to the dinghy dock, so good for cruising families. I nearly forgot to mention the iguanas – there were loads of them at the far end of the beach, hanging around in the tree.

Poste Restante is a service by which La Poste (French Post Office) holds your mail for you to collect. This is, in theory, a great service for sailing families and others who are on the move, offered by loads of post offices in different countries. Except… La Poste don’t accept packages from couriers. So the package we were expecting, containing our autopilot belts, sent by FedEx which made it all the way to Martinique… was rejected by the post office. Then, FedEx said we couldn’t collect from the depot so would need to find an alternate address for delivery, which we were in the process of doing. Then my mum (who was sending the package) spoke to a supervisor at FedEx who said that actually, we could collect. An hour later, with no explanation, the package was on its way back to England… So, our main reason for hanging around here for an extra few days here turned out to be a waste of time. But it’s a lovely anchorage, anyway. I can think of worse places to be stuck!

Busy with freelance work, hence brevity. Blogging might fall by the wayside if freelancing becomes “normal work” for me…