Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rockin' 'n' Rollin' with the Buoys in Grand Anse D'Arlet

Grand Anse D'Arlet
For the last week we have been in Grand Anse D’Arlet, Martinique, a favourite old haunt in a beautiful bay surrounded by green hills and a valley.  It has a quaint little beachfront with a couple of restaurants, small hotels, a dive shop and not a lot else except for a small shop where we can buy our daily baguette.  The snorkeling wasn’t spectacular but you could always guarantee a swim with the turtles, starfish and sand dollars that line the sea bottom.  Sim and I both loved it here.  That was until the introduction of mooring buoys.  In an attempt at marine protection (they say) moorings have been installed (€8 a day – charging to start in about two weeks) across the whole bay.  Anchoring is prohibited with a fine of €900 if caught.  The bay has always suffered from a swell that rolls in around the south end making the north side of the bay uncomfortable.  That said everyone use to tuck up in the south end of the bay.  Now guess where the majority of available moorings are? The few that were placed in the cozy south corner have all been taken by local boats and residents and I guess why not? I would if I lived here.  This last week has been blowing a stink with an ugly swell creeping into the bay.  Boats roll violently, halyards clacking and clinking down the mast; neighbouring boats revealing their barnacled bottoms as they hurl this way and that.  A gentle sway at anchor is a pleasure; even a little rock back and forth doesn’t faze us.  We are hardy to the sea and used to the constant motion that would have the more fragile constitutions dashing for the guardrails.  But this violent motion where one minute through a porthole all you see is sky and the next a rolling sea has me grabbing not just for all the falling bottles and such tumbling around me but for my sanity.  I have said before, it has to be akin to Chinese water torture. We should have maybe left and gone to St Lucia – but it’s been pretty rough out there too.
To add insult to injury the sea that I so love to swim in has been full of stingers and jellyfish. 
So another favourite haunt has been wiped off our list and added to those with a fatter wallet, as have so many places in the Caribbean.

Mooring buoys - Grand Anse D'Arlet
 It’s not been all doom and gloom though.  We have had fun beers ashore with Sam and Jon and a jaunt with a spot of lunch over to the neighbouring fishing village of Anse D’Arlet.  We have had some lovely swims with the sea turtles and over the sunken wreck of (ahem, er, dare I say), a steel boat.  Now the weather looks good to go and I am looking forward to moving on to good old St Lucia.

Grand Anse D'Arlet
A cheeky beer ashore

The waterfront

The turtles

More turtles...
Stuck under boat chain but soon free

sunken wreck under our boat

Fishing Village of Anse D'Arlet next town down
Anse D'Arlet beach front
Mahi Mahi anyone
The village

Flamboyant tree

Ali and Big Ted

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