I love coming across the unexpected on our travels. I certainly don’t mean storms - don’t like those and thankfully haven’t had many. Most important, if we are doing our homework, they shouldn’t be unexpected. The unexpected I love usually has to do with people or events.
There were three in Martinique. The first was what I can only describe as a singalong at the church in St Pierre. Lee, Paula, Peter and I were doing our usual exploring of the town after arrival. The church doors were open so, of course, we walked in to find the church two thirds full with adults swinging their hips and dancing, hands in the air, to a piano. The atmosphere was pure joy and made me smile, big time. It was all in French so I have no idea what the singing was about but the exuberance was clear. We swayed our hips along to the music - a bit shy to put our hands in the air.
The second occurred after we said good-bye to Paula and Lee in Fort de France. It happened to be Ascension Day - unexpected but not of the fun type of unexpected since holidays, especially religious ones, tend to shut down towns. We seem to come across a lot of this on our travels. I guess it demonstrates our complete ignorance of the Christian calendar - we never have any idea when these special days occur or what they are. In any case, Ascension Day is an important one and we again came across a packed cathedral. This time the mood was much more serious in a cathedral with a beautiful, hand painted, patterned ceiling.
|The picturesque harbour of Les Trois-Ilets|
|The not so picturesque suburb off our beam.|
|The hospital was in quaint, old buildings...and still being used.|
At a new anchorage, Les Trois-Ilets, the birthplace of Napoleon’s Empress Josephine, we were a bit disappointed. On first glance, the town was a bit shabby, especially along the waterfront, and, worse, the boats anchored beside us were abandoned for varying periods, looking very sad with bird guano caked on the decks. We were the only visitors. Ashore the village redeemed itself a bit - very French, friendly people, good views, lovely old stone buildings. But we determined to leave early the next day.
|The start line. The boats started from the beach.|
|A little bit of jostling and lots of yelling off the start.|
|Just a bit of chaos, with rowers finishing as the sailboats started...more yelling.|
|Note the poles over the gunnel. One end is placed under the gunnel of the lee side of the boat and the guys - there was one boat of all women - but they dumped and were eliminated off the start line, sadly - hang off the poles to keep the boat level.|
|The rower was clearly unable to continue his race|
|The movement of the crew was a bit like a dance with various numbers and degrees of hanging off the poles. Sometimes, in moments of real desperation, they hung off the poles with feet dragging in the water.|
|Milly was very close to being in the way. But not a pole struck her.|
|These guys didn't make it. One of the crew seemed to be designated bailer and madly bailed the boat after each tack, gybe or simply when the boat heeled too much.|
|Pretty close to Milly. The crew are intent. Those poles dragging in the water can't be good for speed. This was the hometown boat. They lost.|