After a hard year, I wanted to have some new fresh sailing experiences, but the beginning of the year is quite freezing in Europe, so I made up my mind and decided to head towards the Lesser Antilles and enjoy the trade winds that blow at this time of the year.
I booked a flight from Paris to Fort-de-France, Martinique to start my experience in Le Marin, where else?
Le Marin is the biggest port in the Lesser Antilles. It is located in the south part of Martinique which is an overseas French department. The spoken languages are french and creole and the people is simply lovely.
The first thing that you feel when you land in Antilles is the warm wet weather and the jet-lag. But also the “time scale” changes. Yes, I said time-scale……
The people in Antilles use the time differently than in Europe or North America. They take their time to cook, to smile, to speak. The goal is not to be as efficient and productive but to enjoy the time. Expect having a good time, but do not expect to be in a rush. This is important if you want to organise a sailing experience in Antilles, try to anticipate, last-minute urgencies will not work…
I love Le Marin. It is a place with a lot of emotions and stories in the air, it is a place of transition…
… I like sitting down in a corner and observing the people for a while… a group of young people arriving from the airport, they are plenty of energy and willing to start their new adventure… An old couple recently arrived from a Trans-Atlantic trip tired and willing to eat fresh food… A French skipper preparing his new charter on the bar… A sad girl silently crying under her dark Rayban glasses because the adventure is over and her dreams impossible … Young local students running towards their sailing school… A young Danish couple juggling with their stuff and their newborn baby on the dock trying to find their sailing vessel… A young woman who observes and wonders… A disoriented young Italian guy attempting to understand how the laundry machine works…
Le Marin emotions and stories are made by people whose passion is sailing, le Marin is the meeting point for sailors.
…are you a sailor? would you like to discover Le Marin?
There are two dock zones in Le Marin: the old and the new one. The companies fixing boat’s technical issues seem to be rather located in the old dock’s area and most of the shops, restaurants and the vessel charters are located in the new dock’s. You can find all the services that you might need : Tourism office, doctor, supermarkets, shops, vessel equipment shops, showers, laundry… everything!
There are two supermarkets in which you can buy all the provisions for your trip, Carrefour, Simply and there is also a street market
- Carrefour seems to be cheapest (I am not fully convinced) but although they organize the transportation to the docks, the “last mile” is under your responsibility, which means you will need a trolley in order to get all the provisions to your boat… and the Capitanerie only has 1 trolley…. so this could be a real nightmare.
- Simply is the second option, and in my opinion probably the best. They do not help you with the transportation of your provisions, but the supermarket is close to the new dock’s and they provide you with trolleys. The negative part is that you might not find as much variety on brands and products as in Carrefour.
- Le Marin street market is a great choice for provisioning fruits and vegetables, especially because they will help you choosing the type of fruits and how mature you want them depending on when you want to consume them. This is a really value added if you are not used to the caribbean vegetables and the time they take to get mature.
Restaurants… there are several of them, but my two favorites in the area are
In front of Dock 5 in the new docks zone. They have free wifi for the customers and the “pierrade” is espectacular. I also recommend the “tartare de poisson” with french fries “maison”… really tasty!
- Le Marin Mouillage
This restaurant is not located by the sea but they cook great local dishes (accras, budin, grilled fish, colombo chicken, chatrou…) including the evening “grillade à la Martiniquaise” with superb “spare-ribs” (strongly recommended not to leave Martinique without tasting them!)
… and do not forget to degustate the tasty local dishes with the local beer: a “Lorraine”.
In case you need a room to stay, you have basically two options, a hotel or an apartment. There seem to be two hotels in Le Marin: L’Auberge du Marin and Le Dock. The prices are around 50 Euros per night, but I cannot give any recommendation on them because I actually stayed in an apartment that I found in the web Abritel.fr. In general, I would recommend to go for an apartment in Martinique, usually they are cheaper and much better located than hotels.
Le Marin is the port where sailing adventure start but it is not the only place to do some summer sports, there are other towns that can be discovered, for example Vauclin where you can experience kitesurf.
Martinique is a great country with great people!