Sainte Anne harbor, Martinque.

When my sister and brother-in-law invited Sam and I to come sailing in the Caribbean, I thought they were joking. They knew I was about to start my last semester of graduate school, and that Sam had left his job in Chicago. There was no way we could afford such a luxury trip at that moment. Luckily, my brother-in- law has his international sailing license and offered to act as skipper, which drastically reduced our costs. This felt very “once in a lifetime,” so we said yes and we did not regret it!

We started in St. Lucia (you can read about that adventure here) before taking the ferry over to Martinique. We spent two days at a friend’s home in Trois Rivières eating fried chicken and bread and, accidentally, death apples, on the beautiful beach before embarking on our sailing adventure! Even if you don’t go sailing, Martinique is an incredible island with so much to do!

Martinique nautical chart.

Once we finally boarded the yacht, we had six days to sail up and down the west coast of Martinique. One of my favorite stops included Saint Pierre- where the Mount Pelée erupted in 1902 and all but two people were killed. One of the survivors was a prisoner named Louis-Auguste Cyparis whose thick-walled high security solitary confinement cell was positioned just so and he allegedly lived to tour around with the circus making a name for himself!

Colorful Saint-Pierre.

 

The jail cell of Louis-Auguste Cyparis that ultimately protected him from the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelée.

We also visited the rum distillery, Distillerie De Paz, in Saint-Pierre. TAKE A TAXI there from the harbor, trust me, we were dripping in sweat by the time we arrived because we were too stubborn adventurous to take one. I’m not much of a drinker, but it was beautiful and a fun tour regardless.

My absolute favorite stop along the coast was Anse Noire, a small black sand beach where we saw countless sea turtles and enjoyed incredible snorkeling. There was a local woman on the beach selling hand-painted postcards that made for amazing art and gifts! We anchored at Anse Noire for several nights because it was easy to swim ashore, paddle board, set up the hammock, grill off the back of the boat, and swim under the moonlight.

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One of many sea turtles inhabiting Anse Noire waters.

Sam preparing dinner. Going through these photos makes me want to live on a boat.

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Paddle boarding in Martinique.

It was an incredible experience to learn the ropes (pun intended) of being on a boat, getting more comfortable in the open ocean, and learning what I should bring next time. The one thing I was a little sad about was having not seen any dolphins by the last day of our six-day sail around Martinique. We had passed the area where we were most likely to see them, and I dejectedly laid down for a nap on our cloudy last day. Just as I was falling asleep, my brother-in-law yelled “DOLPHINS.” I basically blacked out and next thing I know I’m standing on the front end of the boat and we are surrounded by a pod of dolphins. We were all ugly crying (my brother-in-law will deny this) and it was absolutely magical, and the perfect end to our sailing adventure.

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DOLPHINS.