Friday, 28 February 2014

In December, when we came to Martinique for the first time, we were disappointed. Was this the Caribbean we had sailed 31 days to see? Where were all the sandy beaches, palm trees, and coconuts?

Now we’re back in Martinique, and we’re delighted to be here! In St. Lucia and the Grenadines there are a clear dividing line between the locals and the tourists. Inside the fence of the marina in Rodney Bay there are mainly cruisers, and it’s almost as if the locals are guests in the marina instead of the cruisers being guests in St. Lucia. This is of course very inappropriate and will undoubtedly create a boundary between the locals and the tourists, which you also experience when you walk outside the area of the marina or the big resorts.

No boundaries in Martinique
In Martinique we don’t experience the barrier between the locals and the tourists, which we really appreciate, and it also means that we are able to experience Martinique outside a marina. Martinique is known for their “Rhum Agricole”, which is rum made from the sugar cane juice instead of the molasses which traditional rum such as Bacardi are made from.
When we were only dreaming of the Caribbean, we went to a rum tasting in Denmark with rum from Martinique, and ever since we have been looking forward to repeat the success.

With another cruiser as our driver, we visited three different rum distilleries and brought home six different bottles of rum. We bought mostly white rum that I mix into a Ti-Punch, which I’ve acquired quite a taste for! It consists of white rhum agricole, sugar cane syrup, and fresh juice from a lime. I can highly recommend it!

Welcome to France
The first time we were in Martinique, we didn't think that it was very French, but after having driven around on the island and talked to more people, it has become clear to us that we have arrived in France. Everyone consider themselves French to the extent that the guide from one of the distilleries rolled his eyes and sighed heavily, when we told him that we didn’t understand much French. We ended up understanding very little from the guided tour, since we felt obliged to tell him just to continue in French! However, we would still choose Martinique over St. Lucia any day!

Signe Storr - Freelance marine journalist and friend of Boatshed