Its been absolutely wonderful spending the last few weeks in Ste Anne, having gotten into even more of a rhythm of life here. The town decorated the streets with neon lights depicting images of traditional life in Martinique. We stayed through the holiday season as the tourism office planned so many activities, starting with the "Chante Nwel" or the French Caribbean version of Christmas Carols. We didn't recognize any of the music, but all the local people gathered in the town square certainly did, and the dancing and singing were terrific. (We joined in the dancing part.) A live creche had been planned, but two days of rainstorms cancelled that. When the rains finally stopped the festival continued with folkloric dance troupes almost every night. The pictures accompanying this blog entry are of Tche Kreyol, a group of 50 dancers and musicians, so pleased to present themselves to the crowd, as you may be able to tell from the expressions on their faces. We also saw Kakadou from Riviere Pilote and Afro Karaib from St. Pierre -- all fabulous dancers -- and all bringing their own musicians.
We've enjoyed this little town; all the people have been so nice to us and gotten used to our attempts at fractured French. We tried the bus to Marin, but got stranded there once the bus driver went off duty at around 3pm. Luckily we were able to hitch a ride with Ste. Anne's town doctor and were delivered back to the dock. (We met him again professionally when John's sore throat wouldn't go away and we needed prescription drugs to clear him up. Doctor's visits here are price fixed so we didn't have to shell out a fortune!)
This has been a great place for kayak explorations, long lazy afternoons of reading, and toasting the sunset while looking for the green flash (not found.) We have become fixtures at Paille Coco, a restaurant with free wifi, that also offered some great nights of music. It has been nice to spend time with Heidi and Bill from Act III who have been here almost as long as we have, as well as the crew of Crusader (the Perry family) from Annapolis who love this place so much they alternate between here and St. Lucia all season long. We were always surprised when an American boat turned up in the anchorage -- of some 100 boats at any one time, the number of American boats was never more than 5 -- and usually only 2 or 3.
But alas the weather window is opening and we are planning to leave on Friday the 7th to visit the east coast of Martinique. The anchorages there are supposed to be very attractive and less visited -- an unspoiled cruising ground. But still, we are sad to leave yet another beautiful place and would love to return in the future.