|SandStar heading back to Martinique|
Actual Dates: January 11th – 30th 2019
**Special note about the picture above: We rarely get a picture of SandStar under sail in the great blue sea but our trip back to Martinique was calm and beautiful. We sailed back with our wahoo catching friends on Soulstice who took this amazing shot from their boat.
We have had a great time catching fish and hanging out with great friends in St. Lucia but it is time to head back north to Martinique. We were there in December for a whirlwind week before Christmas and then with the SAVA crew and Camp SandStar. Now we are going back to see the island at a much slower pace without the frenzy of the holidays.
|Time to change the flag!!|
As soon as we arrived back we were able to attend our friend Antoine’s 5th birthday party at the local pirate beach restaurant. We had a great lunch with friends and a really good French birthday cake. We also had some time to catch up with boat friends for some swim parties when we returned.
|Happy Birthday Antoine!|
|Time for cake!|
|Swim Party Time! Who will win the King of the Paddle Board Game?|
|More swim fun on the bridle lines|
Speaking of food. You know the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”? Well the same is true in the islands. When we visit any island we like to embrace the culture and food. Martinique is a little different from the other islands we have visited because it is VERY French. When you are in a French island you have the opportunity to shop like the French and eat like the French and we took that job very seriously.
|Jack working on his French bread pizzas|
|This is one of our favorite dinners to make in the French islands - fresh baguettes, pizza sauce, and toppings!|
|Emma's fancy pizzas!|
|Another regular French dinner - fresh baguettes and a meat and cheese plate|
|Blue cheese, pear, and lardon salad. What is a lardon?? It is package of salty bacon nibbles. They became a staple on SandStar.|
|St. Pierre Veggie Market - My favorite veggie market on the island|
Soon after we arrived back in Martinique Dan’s parents came to visit us. They stayed in a very cute apartment near the St. Anne area and we were able to meet up with them every day for eating, beach time, relaxing, games, and some more great eating. The kids even had a chance to stay with Grandma and Grandpa while they were here so SandStar was very quiet for a few days.
|Cliff enjoying the beach!|
|A fun dinner out with Cliff and Karen. We cooked all of our meat on hot stones.|
After our Grandma and Grandpa visit it was time to start making plans to leave Martinique. We did one last stop in the big stores for provisioning. Then Emma and I spent an afternoon in St. Anne walking through the little stores and ending our afternoon with a French chocolate sundae!
|Our first time seeing a dollar bin in the islands|
|A little afternoon fun in St. Anne|
|And the treat at the end of our afternoon|
|Time to head back to see the boys|
We are off to St. Pierre which is our last stop before leaving Martinique. On the way we were sailing up the coast and out of nowhere we were surrounded by racing Hobie cats. They were going fast!! We just kept our course and they zoomed around SandStar.
|Good-bye St. Anne. It has been fun!|
|The speedy Hobie cats|
|Some of the racers even waved to the kids|
Once we arrived in St. Pierre we were in for a big treat – no clouds on Mt. Pelée!! We could see the top! The weather was looking good for a hike up the next day so we decided to make the trek to the start of the trail. We tried to rent a car but we couldn’t find a place that had one available so we took a local bus to the closest town. We were dropped off at the bottom and were pretty sure we were in the right spot when we saw the sign for the hiking trail. Little did we know it was a good 2 miles uphill to the start of the trail. After lots of belly aching we made it to the refugio and found a pick-me-up ice cream before we started hiking the real trail.
|A clear afternoon sky to see the volcano|
|The clouds are moving back in as Jack swings around the boat|
|Who's ready for a hike??|
|Chatting a local cow right before we reached the trail|
|The refugio. It doesn't look like much but they had cold drinks and ice cream inside!|
This was an amazing hike. One of my favorites that we have ever done. It was a good mix of some pretty steep hills but they were just steep enough you could use your upper body to make your way up (and down). Sometimes the sky was completely clear and then in a few steps we were walking through the clouds. The views were absolutely stunning all of the way up the mountain. Our spirits were pretty high on this hike and everyone had a great time especially when we ended it with a celebratory ice cream sundae at the end!
|Walking into the clouds|
|Oh the drama!|
|At the top!|
|The start of the le Chinois trail that goes down into the caldera|
|We had a late start to the day so we did not get to go all of the way down|
|Snack time on our way back down|
|A second later - When some things are caught on camera at just the right time|
|Fantastic weather for our hike!|
|A view of St. Pierre|
|Down, down, down!|
Good-bye Martinique!! We had a great Christmas, great food, and great company!!!
|Dan getting ready for some fishing on our way to Dominica|