So the Burnetts don’t have any pictures of spectacular foliage to show you this week. After hitting the tourist routes hard in Barbados and St. Lucia, we have switched to a different channel here in Martinique. A slower one.
We’ve discovered that Sainte-Anne is a mini-Georgetown, meaning it is a sometimes-choppy bay dotted every 150 feet or so by hard-core cruisers and a sprinkling of charterers. We are once again in the land of carefully zipped-up sailbags, faded and well-worn dinghy covers, and set anchors with reasonable scope. The mornings are quiet, with homeschooling, workouts, and boat chores. In the afternoon, one hears occasional boat-to-boat hails on VHF channel 68, and people make their long dinghy runs into town for a languid French lunch or a trip to the “Price Leader” grocery store. Many people take a sunset swim, sticking close to their boats in order to avoid the rogue dinghy or sewage discharge. At night, the sky seems like it is sinking into the ocean, with a low layer of swaying anchor lights tracing out new constellations, and one is soothed to sleep by the hum of the wind and diesel generators, punctuated occasionally by the memorable sound of a snapping halyard, or the thwack! of a surprised trumpetfish hurtling itself into a dinghy. Ah, feels like home!
In this peaceful setting, the Burnetts have also reaped the benefits of living in a floating town by socializing with the neighbors. We had a happy reunion with the fantastic crew of SV Maple, the long-term-cruiser Canadians we met in Las Palmas and were supposed to have crossed with. They introduced us to the Schmidt family of SV Element, even more Canadians with kids who recently crossed, and we had three busy days of rotating dinner parties, sleepovers, and playdates, with plenty of cultural exchange. Did you know that even Canadians are confused about Canadian bacon?
Mel did develop a little “future plans envy” while talking to Janet and Darryl of Maple. The “maybe we’ll be in Mexico by next June” isn’t a statement that can issue from her lips anymore. Mel has job interviews pending in July, and the Burnetts have to comply with a pretty brisk schedule to get up to Florida by then, where they will sell Marvin. It is going to be a hard transition to go from improvising your next step by saying “maybe”, “in a few months”, and, “depending on the weather” to having every half-hour tightly booked. For now, Mel tries not to think about it.
Back to Martinique! Negotiating the purchase of a SIM card in French was so exhausting for us that we aren’t keen to explore much. When one lives the life of a perpetual tourist, sometimes it’s a nice break not to tour. Plus, things here are often closed. Monday is apparently Labor Day, where the French celebrate their superior working conditions by not working. Maybe we’ll go into town and watch the unions march in their “success” parade tomorrow. Or maybe not. After all, it sounds like a lot of work!
In the meantime, the family has managed a little work on our mystery story. Here’s Chapter 6.