Time is short…

The real reason we travel to the Caribbean

The real reason we travel to the Caribbean?

Not that I dare assume the slightest responsibility for this, but readers may be under the false impression that sailing a yacht through the Caribbean island chain, is just an elaborate way of going on an extended pub crawl, or an excuse for gate crashing parties in exotic locations… Heaven knows where they came up with such a notion…

It’s abundantly clear (my standard line for the folks back home) that the real reason I travel here is because:

  • I’m bettering myself through cultural immersion and by savoring the phenomenal natural diversity of the islands (almost wrote islanders), and that it’s an enlightening and deeply spiritual experience.

For some reason (I can’t imagine why…), few seem to credit these claims…

Free tastings at the Saint James distillery in Martinique

Free tastings at the Saint James distillery in Martinique

Why just the other day I was doing exhaustive research into the plight of spirits at the Saint James distillery.

How much more spiritual can you get?

You see… Being a man of quasi-constant leisure (I’ve been downgraded), isn’t just about admiring the pretty girls after all….

One can but admire such fine plumage!

One can but admire such fine plumage!

Though I’m occasionally willing to apportion a smallish fraction (say 80%) of my attention to this field in appreciation of the finer arts…

But sadly, I will have to postpone further studies. Time is running short, and I must see to the noble cause of furthering the yachting infrastructure in French Guiana (I’ll take a modest bow to your polite applause here)…

Can't go anywhere without stocking up on white goods!

Can’t go anywhere without stocking up on white goods!

So while my preparations, including provisioning are fortunately in no way as burdensome as some, it will not be long before I must weigh anchor once more and return Eileen of Avoca to the Amazon basin.

Now if only the weather would improve…

The bit I don’t understand…

Martinique, where men are men... or...

Martinique, where men are men?

For those of you who wonder why there are so many photos of women on my blog, I present Exhibit A (photo above)… Need you any additional explanation as to why I don’t often photograph the men?

A mini Miss beauty pageant?

A mini Miss beauty pageant winner blows the crowd a kiss…

The very young,

95 years young.

95 years young.

and the very old on the other hand, make excellent photo models. Both were found celebrating on the streets of Fort de France in the true spirit of carnival. A rarity however, as the predominant group (at least for this year), was the teenager. I have no idea where the mid twenties to mid thirties set were hiding… That remains a disappointing unsolved mystery!

Not that I have anything against teenagers out having a good time. It’s just that the generation gap occasionally feels like a chasm. For example:

It's not carnival.... It's Lolita ville here in Fort de France

Carnival teens.

Is it just me or do the girls look like they’re auditioning for the next production of Lolita?

Carnival mini thug

Give me your wallet or else…

And the boys…. What’s with the I want to look like a thug theme?

Hot pants with a use by date of this evening???

Hot pants with a use by date of this evening???

Frankly, I don’t get it…

Oh well, guess I’ll just get back to something I do understand…. Leopard hunting…

 

Bunnies, Mouseketeers and… and…

The bunnies are everywhere!

The bunnies are everywhere!

I’m back for another day of bunny watch… For some reason rabbit ears are all the rage at this years carnival.

Pa bunny and baby bunny out for a stroll.

Pa bunny and baby bunny out for a stroll.

But it does look better on some…. than on others….

The mouseketeers are alive and well.

The mouseketeers are alive and well.

If it’s not rabbit ears its mouse ears….

It will all be on facebook tomorrow.

It will all be on facebook tomorrow.

I photographed the lot..

Not that I wasn’t ready to participate in the festivities! I had quickly acquired my carnival essentials kit.

Carnival kit... Because sometimes less is more....

Carnival kit… Because sometimes less is more….

Energy drink, check…. Red nose, check…. odd voice whistle (makes you sound like you’ve been breathing helium), check….

Tailing carnival leopards... Dangerous work...

Tailing carnival leopards… Dangerous work…

I wasn’t just going to be a spectator at this party… Especially when I found myself on the tail of a young leopard or two…

So, did the great red nosed hunter catch his prey?

Now that I've caught myself a leopard, what next?

Now that I’ve caught myself a leopard, what next?

With the right camouflage it was even too easy….

 

 

 

 

A feast for the eyes!

I'm not sure that her smile can match mine!

I’m not sure that her smile can match mine!

Breaking the world kayak speed record, I paddled ashore to take a closer look at the festivities….

All the colours of the rainbow...

All the colours of the rainbow…

Rainbows to the right…

Suddenly I'm an enthusiastic lepidopterist.

Suddenly I’m an enthusiastic lepidopterist.

Butterflies to the left….

I'm tickled pink...

I’m tickled pink…

Feathers everywhere else…

Smile for the cameraman?

Smile for the cameraman?

All to the accompaniment of festive music…

I have no words.... I'll let the camera do the talking...

I have no words…. I’ll let the camera do the talking…

and wow… the dance…

That’s enough for today…. Understandably I’m suffering sensory overload and my camera battery needs a recharge…

 

A Caribbean Carnival

Time to party in Fort de France, Martinique

Time to party in Fort de France, Martinique

I made my dash for Martinique the moment forecasts promised winds of no more than 15kts… (because I’m the sailing equivalent of a wuss).

Ten miles from Fort de France I was busy cussing and vilifying all weathermen because, surprise surprise, I found myself confronting a consistent 40kt breeze in an increasingly agitated sea. At least I didn’t have to add to the buzz on the VHF radio, which had come to life with numerous warnings and distress calls…

No matter… I’ve arrived… wet and somewhat shaken, but as luck would have it, just in time for the big party!

Have I died and gone back to Brazil?

Have I died and gone back to Brazil?

For some reason I’m feeling a whole lot better…

 

 

 

 

Two weeks in Martinique

It’s not so sunny in Martinique.

Having friends show me around Martinique certainly made my visit here all the more enjoyable. For a change, I didn’t have to wander the streets like a homeless person or sit alone at a bar each evening looking solitarily forlorn while reminiscing over previous adventures.

Not that everything was as delightfully entertaining as I would have liked. The weather certainly did its darnedest to put a damper on the fun, almost preventing my arrival altogether (Martinique was on yellow alert), and when I finally did settle down safely at the anchorage in Fort de France I was unexpectedly boarded by four burly customs officers while asleep. After questioning me and sifting through everything I owned with a fine toothed comb, they evidently decided I wasn’t such a bad apple after all and left me to return to my slumber.

Do you suppose I can ask them to put it all back?

Now I don’t begrudge “la douane” for doing their job, but imagine what it’s like having your bedroom invaded by strangers, and everything aboard turned upside down and inside out, especially when you’re so obviously innocent of any wrongdoing?

OK, perhaps I’m not that innocent, but I insist that I at least look it.

Are we all agreed?

Surely hoarding a tad more aged rum aboard than what’s usually fit for personal consumption isn’t a crime. What other souvenir was I expected to buy from these islands? Besides, I’ve promised to send a bottle or two of quality rum back to Europe, and it’s certainly high time I delivered…

Traditional yole racing is all the rage in Martinique

So what’s there to do in Martinique that isn’t yacht related?

Plenty!

Apparently Josephine wasn’t too popular back home.

Being a fan of intellectual pursuits (ahem…), of historical significance of course, I found this statue of empress Josephine rather fascinating. I didn’t know she was from these parts!

Apparently she wasn’t that popular here, or having the head removed from memorials is a Martinique tradition…

Not quite Brazil but who’s complaining….

Well then, who am I to defy tradition…