Don’t know how many of you remember the Plymouth Duster. Well, I thought that the Duster was long gone, but apparently the car company Dacia (a Renault subsidiary) has “rebooted” the car’s name. Didn’t get a picture of the car but it’s not your father’s Duster.
A few of the Eastern Caribbean countries have some great facilities like museums and educational places. Martinique is one of them. They have a great science museum where everyone can come and learn about science but in particular about the science of the volcanoes of the Eastern Caribbean. The film that they had was amazingly educational and interesting in terms of how the islands formed and how the volcanoes have affected the area in the past many years.
Here are Ethan and Noah checking out a 3D map of the north end of the island.
Here’s Matthew conquering the whole island. Martinique will never be the same again.
What’s also interesting is that the futuristic building is actually made to withstand earthquakes. The “box” sits on top of dampers that will absorb the shock of any earth movement.
We visited a butterfly garden… and it’s hard to get a picture of butterflies in flight, so, you’re going to get pictures in a more docile state.
We learned about the various stages of development including the caterpillar stage.
A butterfly just out of the cocoon stage so it’s not quite ready to fly.
The gardens themselves which, of course need a lot of appropriate plant life for the butterflies.
And, that can only mean one thing….. flowers.
We were starving (and needed to make change for the entrance fee of the butterfly park) so we decided to eat lunch at the “cafe” that was at the park. It was a little more than a cafe. The meal was amazing for all of us and was quite reasonably priced as well. All this in the middle of nowhere on the island of Martinique. You are always fed well on the French islands!
And, for the foodies out there, a very little description. This is a pastry stuffed with lamb and assorted side dishes. Sorry, not sure what they were but they were good!
Have I ever mentioned that there are flowers everywhere!
Here is the shell of what is left of the grand theatre or opera house that was styled after one in France. These grand staircases used to lead up to a beautiful stone building.
Here is the foundation of the building which, as with most everything in the eruption, was destroyed.
On our walk back, we discovered the coolest of juxtapositions…. the old front and gate with the very new metal and glass building. It’s a financial building so I think that there are some interesting branding messages being sent. Very neat.
Okay, I’ve mentioned this before but I thought I would bring it up again. One thing that mariners and people who live on west coasts will look for at sunset is “the green flash”. We haven’t seen one in quite a while but we did at St. Pierre. It wasn’t really strong but it was there.
Basically, the way I believe that it works is that as you’re staring at the sun… once it’s safe to do so and at the horizon like in the picture above… the moment that the sun disappears your brain plays a visual trick on you. Because your eye has been viewing an orange glow for a period of time, the absence tricks your eye into thinking there is green in its place. Does that make sense. If not, just enjoy the picture of the sunset taken at most 2 or 3 seconds before the sun set.
At the north end of Martinique is a beautiful town called St. Pierre. Back in 1902, when it was considered the Paris of the Caribbean it experienced a volcanic eruption that killed everyone except for 2 people in the city of 30,000. A cobbler in his basement and a convicted murderer in his jail cell both barely survived.
Here is a pretty representative shot of the town. There are old buildings mixed in with the new buildings, and old walls used along with new walls.
Here is Mt. Pelee in a much quieter state than in 1902.
Knowledge about a place before you get there is really important for us. It helps from the standpoint of preparing us for clearing in procedures, to what the anchoring or mooring is like, to where the grocery store is, to what there is to do, the fuel and water offerings, and so on. Having that knowledge helps to guide where we go and with our planning in general.
It is apparently so important for Caroline and I that the kids have realized that it is a source of knowledge for them to.
Our pictures are not going to show this but Le Marin is quite a built up port for Martinique. It has a lot of marine services, a huge harbour and a place to check in and out of the country. And, apparently we didn’t take any pictures of the town and only took some pictures of our adventure up a small canal to go to a “dinghy up” complex of stores. It was a little like entering the “heart of darkness” for those of you who remember Joseph Conrad. Very neat. And, remember that this was on the way to go to a grocery store and a chandlery.
The boys and I will go off from time to time to hang out and give Mom a break from all things intense.
We now find ourselves in Bequia again as we head north and we’ve headed over to what looks like a very pretty little tropical beach. I’m going to stay in the dinghy to get caught up on some work while the kids swim. I’ve told them that they can’t go up on shore as we’re experiencing the “witching hour” when the sand fleas come out and feast on young, juicy skin or even old Daddy skin too. Unfortunately, they do get bitten a bit.
Okay, this one is a little hard to explain. Moon hole is a set of buildings that we created on Bequia by an architect who apparently didn’t believe in straight lines or angles. His “houses” all are pretty free form and don’t have any windows although they have holes. A little different, but you can rent them as a place to stay on your holiday if you’re looking for something completely different.