I don’t know whether to call Martinique part of North America (as the other Caribbean islands are) or Europe because it is officially part of France! So I will leave the category off entirely. Geographically, of course, it is part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, and it is also one of the regions of France. French is the official language and the currency is the Euro.
We went on another snorkeling adventure today, two spots in the Fort de France Bay – the Bat Cave and Anse Dufour beach area.
The weather was perfect and we set off in the boat with our fellow passengers. There were about 30 of us. The first stop was the Bat Cave. The entrance to the cave is a steep cliff wall that plummets into the sea. The water is a beautiful blue color. We snorkeled in the area until everyone was in the water, then our guide swam ahead of us and led us into the cave. There are 3 species of bats in the cave and they eat a LOT of mosquitos. We could see them hanging from the top of the cave. What was most interesting about this stop was the whole ecological system here. The bat excrement actually helps the orange coral to form on the rocks. It is very soft and kind of like a flower that closes and opens when you touch it. That coral turns out to be a perfect breeding place for the tropical fish, so there were thousands of very small and colorful fish in this area. There are small blue crabs on the walls of the cave and I saw many starfish in among the coral too. Very unusual and interesting spot.
We then went to the second snorkeling spot which had lots of beautiful coral, all kinds of formations, and many species of fish too. We had about 45 minutes of snorkeling here. Then we returned to the boat where we had the ever present rum punch.
When we got back, after showering and late lunch, I did a bit of shopping near the port. Martinique is 90% Roman Catholic and it is Sunday, so the shops in town and lots of the landmarks were closed. We were here a number of years ago and did see most of them, so it was fine.
Another Oceania ship, the Riviera, is here today too and it is fun watching the crew have happy reunions with their friends on the other ship. It is bigger than ours (1200 passengers vs 650 on ours).
Late in the afternoon this group of drummers and dancers marched up between our ships and performed for about an hour.
On to another French island, Guadeloupe, tomorrow.