Woke up in our treehouse!!! Slept GREAT! Of course, I took zzquil to insure that….After the week I’ve had, it was necessary. It’s our last full day of vacation. Wanted to head out early for a snorkel. Of course, that meant having to exit the treehouse via the monkey bridge… I walked up to the edge. Two things struck me immediately. One, holy shit the bridge on this side was REALLY steep going down!! Two, that gap between the board and porch had exponentially widened over night, appearing to require a feat a tad less impossible than taking a step across the widest part of the Grand Canyon. How do I get myself into these things??? Brian went across first, and encouraged me from the other side, but I physically could not make my leg take that first step. I’ve been scared on stupid crazy scary bridges before- ones even higher and scarier than this one (side eye at you, Borneo ). But stepping across a gap like this at the top was way out of my mental capabilities. Look, let’s be real, it was about a foot wide. But my leg literally refused to go over it! Brian suggested sitting down and trying it that way. Sitting down- my tailbone’s least favorite thing to do, but I seriously didn’t have a choice. I never did manage to just step across that gap like a normal person…
Claude had told us that if we went to the sea grass bed further out, we might see some turtles! A guest had seen 5 feeding there yesterday morning. We swam out and it was nothing but sand bottom and sea grass. Hardly any fish. I was getting kinda disappointed! This was our “splurge” location chosen for the snorkeling and unique accommodation!! And then…ZAP!! ZAP ZAP ZAP!! We started getting tiny, painful stings on our arms and legs from some unseen creature! Holy shit it hurt! Like jellyfish stings! We decided to turn around, and this time follow the wall of the cove on the way back. There’s the snorkeling we wanted!! So much life! Lots of little fish and corals! It was very nice. Got back to shore and decided to walk down the dock on the other side of the beach. Water looked a lot clearer than where we had been snorkeling earlier, so we took a ladder down and decided to snorkel around the pier back to shore, then go chill out for a bit. As we rounded the end of the pier, something large caught my eye. As it got a little closer, I could see what it was…A GREEN SEA TURTLE!!! OMG!! He had a missing rear flipper, poor thing. Most likely from a boat strike or shark. We followed him for almost 10 minutes (according to gopro video length!). He came up for air a couple of times. He swam so effortlessly. Just a beauty to watch! As he turned to head out of the cove, we decided to come back in.
So those stings…when I got back in I had several large welts, like big mosquito bites on my right forearm, and one whip mark from an actual jellyfish on the back of my upper left arm that extended from my elbow about halfway to my shoulder. Research is pulling up different things for the tiny stings- larval jellyfish (I’m not convinced), hydroids (my top choice), and something called sea lice. Next time I go out, I’m wearing my long sleeve rash guard for sure. We packed up to do a little drive around this part of the island, with 2 scheduled stops: A slave museum and a slave memorial. This area is really pretty- probably one of my favorite parts along with the Caravelle peninsula.
The slave museum is called La Savane des Esclaves. And here’s the best part….everything is in ENGLISH!! We paid $9 each and were given a little numbered map and the lady explained how to work our way through. Everything is outside- it’s kind of a “living museum” I guess you’d say. There are replicas of different huts and some slave artifacts (the restraints and torture devices will give you chills for days). And the information- WOW! It’s SO WELL DONE!! I’m a teacher. I know a well done museum when I see one, and this it is! The man who created it is Gilbert Larose- a descendant of slaves. And the time, effort, and detail he has put into this place points to only one thing…passion. I got to meet him and told him that I travel the world visiting museums, and I’m extremely impressed with this one. I could tell he was pleased! I was entranced for the entire hour plus that we were there. It was powerful and real and tangible. It was so good, that I took pictures of every single sign (and there’s a lot of them!) so I can share this story with my students.
We drove around to the other side of the peninsula to visit the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. This series of 20 eight foot tall statues are staring out to sea, where in 1830, 15 years after slavery had been outlawed in Martinique, a slave trader tried to sail his ship ashore at night to sneak in his illegal human “cargo”. The ship crashed on the rocks, killing all 40+ slaves who were shackled together in the hull. The statues are in direct alignment with the Gulf of Guinea in Africa, and are arranged in a triangle pattern to represent the triangular slave trade route across the Atlantic.
Just around the corner is beautiful Diamant (Diamond) Rock. Past that, we found a little restaurant and had lunch- fish and fries (about 5 lbs of them!!) and chicken and rice. Mmmmmmmm. Good. Except that chair and my tailbone were not on speaking terms about halfway through the meal…
Came back to the treehouse and decided to take the kayak around the point to the other cove. One cove (ours) is Anse Noire- a black sand beach. Just around the point is Anse Dufour- a white sand beach! It was an easy paddle over. The water in this cove seemed to be much deeper and clearer than in ours! Pulled the kayak up on the beach and snorkeled out. Holy moly!! This side is much better for snorkeling!! Huge reef walls full of different kinds of coral, huge barrel sponges, tons of fish (even trumpetfish), urchins, stars, and more. We had snorkeled all the way back out to the point along the reef face before we realized it and turned around! Water here was 30 feet + in places, and crystal clear. Added bonus: No stingy things. I think they come out mainly in the morning. Double bonus: Sitting on a lifejacket made a perfect seat for my tailbone where the hollow part of the jacket is! I might take this thing with me… By the way, I took these 3 photos with my phone that was enclosed in the clear dry bag Brian got me for Christmas. Pretty pleased with the result!
We paddled back around to our cove, put the kayak away. Came up to our tree house, cleaned off our gear, and chilled out on the patio for an hour or so. Soon it was time for sunset. The cove is positioned perfectly, so we headed down to the dock. Some local kids were jumping off of it into the crystal clear water. The sun was slowly disappearing, just like our vacation together. This has been our most challenging trip together ever (I’m blaming it on the moth), but we made it through. Tomorrow, we’ll be in different countries again- me in Guadeloupe and Brian back in Los Angeles.