Posted by: bearcruzer | June 29, 2010

A nice walk to the beach!

When we weren’t pouring over the latest weather reports and tracking the Storms progress,  we did enjoy the sites around Marin and St. Anne, Martinique.   We became quite the baguette connoisseurs and relished heading into town each morning to pick up our fresh bread.    When we could see that the storm was not going to develop into a hurricane we took advantage of the overcast weather.   Mike said,    “How about we take a little walk this morning over to the beaches on the other side of the point?”   You would think I’d have learned by now that our walks are never little and that I should prepare enough survival supplies for at least a full days walk.     I let my guard down and only packed 2 quarts of water and a granola bar, forgetting the sunscreen and my hat back at the boat.    David and Trudy learned early on about our little walks and somehow always have something else planned when we extend the invitation to accompany us.   Our walks always start out with Michael and I sparing for what sort of a pace to keep.   He wanting to immediately work up a good sweat while I attempt to snap pictures of the back of his retreating head or him having to wait while I stop to examine some bit of new flora or fauna I find fascinating, allowing me just enough time to catch site of him before he sets off on his forced march pace again.    We always tease each other about how to best see the sites.   I move  quietly while his tactic is to not give any animals the chance to flee before he is on top of them.     Usually about an hour or so into the hike we compromise.    We made our way through the dense verdant growth along some wonderful trails that are maintained by the forest service here on Martinique.     The hike was lovely and took us along the rugged coastline of the south western end of the point.    There were some beautiful beaches on the windward side of the Island.     We expected there to be very little foot traffic along the trail as this is the off season.   We have not seen many locals taking advantage of their trail systems.    This was the exception.   An exercise group of mostly ladies were enjoying a brisk walk and gave Michael a run for his money with their pace.     We caught up with them on a beach on the other side of the point where their workout routine was continuing with other exercises and stretches.   They invited us to join them, or so their pantomimed French would indicate, and so we spent a few minutes doing deep knee bends….etc  before proceeding on our on our extended (little) walk.   We looked at the posted trails map we came to at one of the beaches and saw what appeared to be a trail or a road that would take us from a beach further along and then across the peninsula in a circle back to St. Anne where we began.    We had no idea if this was really the case as all of the descriptions were in French but we took a chance and headed in the direction indicated.     Our journey took us across a number of amazingly different ecosystems.   From lush verdant forest , along palm lined beaches , we crossed a plank walkway across a salt marsh where some local children were fishing for crabs.  We then found ourselves walking across an old lava flow area that provided some rugged, starkly beautiful scenery down to the ocean.   Once we reached the beach where the road or trail was supposed to be we cut inland and found ourselves on a gravel road that traversed acres of beautiful private cultivated fields and pastures full of well fed cream colored cattle.   We stumbled back into St. Anne and picked up a paper trails map from the tourism office.  Perhaps we should have done that before leaving, not that it would have discouraged us as it too was all in French.  As we were leaving the office we could hear someone practicing a piece of music on a piano……the song was Henry Mancini Theme from the Pink Panther……I must have had too much sun because I was half expecting Inspector Clousaeu to appear and declare ” I will prove to the world that Maria Gambrelli is innocent…….of the crime!” We dragged ourselves back to the dingy and to DD.   We calculated our little walk for the day at 20km or about 12 ½ miles.   Even being as ill prepared as we were, we fared pretty well.  I improvised some shade for my shoulders by tucking a couple of Sea Grape leaves under the straps of my shirt and although I looked a bit funny I was better protected.  Nothing a little Aloe Vera wouldn’t soothe.   At least I found the right combination of shoes and socks to wear that day and suffered no blister problems from this.  As the gentle waves rocked us to sleep that evening with scenes from the Pink Panther Movies playing in my head….. I could almost hear Clouseau singing “Ooohhh, sixteen chests on a dead man’s rum/Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of the chest/Drink to the devil and some for the rum/Hooooooooooooooooooooo!”  The sun must have gone to my head!

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