A cloudy morning over Fort de France
When we got up in the morning, we had plans to head over to go on one of the buses in town and do a picnic lunch at a botanical garden located on the island.
Once we got to shore though, Vanessa was clearly unhappy at the prospect of getting on a bus and traveling anywhere by road. So at the drop of a hat we changed our plans and decided to head over by ferry to the southern side of the large bay we were in, over to Pointe du Bout where we had heard were more extensive beaches and had other things to see and do. So we hopped on the ferry and headed over.
Windblown at the front of the fast ferry to Point du Bout
I’ll admit to being a bit cheesed at not going to the botanical park, mainly because I was hoping to shoot some good pictures there, but I wanted to stay with the family and see how Poinet du Bout panned out.
In the end, I wasn’t much impressed with what I saw there. The only public beach available was that by a defunct hotel which was undergoing a slow and haphazard dismantelling. From what I could make out, it seems as though the place was to be levelled (or intended to be leveled) to make way for a set of luxury condos. In the meantime it was left largely to go to ruin, so relaxing on the beach there felt a bit like being in the aftermath of a warzone. The beaches themselves were largely clear of debris, and it was clear that it was a popular place to hang out with the locals and some of the more adventuresome tourists,
but if it weren’t for the beach I wouldn’t have voluntarily have wanted to go there. Especially with active demolition (or was it low-level looting?)
going on just behind us.
Still, I decided to venture around and take some shots of the place. Ruins always make an interesting subject to shoot.
A view of the north wing of the hotel from the beach. No glass in the windows, and large concrete blocks to indicate where the edge is.
The spiralling external fire escape staircase
A view of the front of the building
Another view of the front, which must have looked impressive at one time (am guessing it was made sometime in the 70s by its look). You can see its name by the tile palm tree: Kalenda. All of the debris strewn about made me wonder if this was more of an abandoned building actively being looted piecemeal than a proper demolition. Am sure the answer lies somewhere in between.
Inside, looking south towards the elevators
Inside, looking north, by the concierge desk
Looking north-west, towards the beach area
Behind the check-in counter
Looking outside to the south-west
If it weren’t for the broken vent fans and the absence of glass in the windows, you could be fooled into thinking that this was still a working hotel.
A view from the the road leading in to the former hotel
The hotel from the beach
A sign announcing a future luxury condo development. This development seems to be dead though, as the URL they list no longer exists.
Erika and the girls hung out the beach by the former hotel for most of the day. Feeling restless, I explored the small town that was next to it, along with the deliberately touristy stores that were also there. Found plenty of other beach-side restaurants, plus other places where one could stay, though nothing approaching the size of the former Kalenda Hotel. The other big draw to the area was a local casino, but it was small and not much to look at. The small tourist-town was nice enough, but not enough to make me recommend the place for a visit to anyone else.
A “rock family” Vanessa put together down by the beach
A beautiful blooming Hippeastrum outdoors. (Similar to the one I shot earlier this year, but outside).
A little brown bird on a ledge; some sort of finch judging by the beak
Blue sky, and the gingerbread lining the roof facade of a store
By the late afternoon we took the ferry back to Fort de France, where the girls went searching for fabric to bring home as a gift for the woman looking after our dog at home. The fabric place in town happened to be adjacent to the local cathedral, so I took the opportunity to take some more shots of it.
The whole of the Cathédrale Saint-Louis de Fort-de-France and the small square that faces it.
Detail of the mid-section of the tower.
The top of the cathedral’s tower, clearly in need of a fresh coat of paint.
We met Jennifer on shore shortly afterwards. as she was waiting along the shoreline for the friend (Reinhard) she had invited down to join us on the boat. Unfortunately Reinhard had flown into St. Lucia instead of Martinique the day before, and he doesn’t have a cellphone, so all she had from him was a text message over the Internet saying that he “was here”. Where exactly “here” was in Martinique wasn’t exactly clear, and it seemed likely that he didn’t know either. Jennifer came back to the boat with us, and we saw that the crew had put up the racing flag, which the words “Volterra” in big letters along with the griffin and dragon logo, in the hope that maybe he would see it. It also gave me the opportunity to shoot pics of it with the camera.
The S/Y Volterra with her racing flag flying, as seen from shore
View of the flag from onboard
Not long after we got back on the boat, Matt and I simultaneously thought we heard someone shouting from the shore. Yup, it was him. Matt got in the dingy and picked him up from the shore.
Reinhard’s tale on getting here was a comedy of errors. Landed in St. Lucia which is where the boat wasn’t. Basically spent the entire evening awake since he didn’t have a place to stay, and ended up partying (and keeping an eye on his wallet) with a bunch of “working girls”. At the crack of dawn, he found a ferry that would take him over to Martinique. He got to Martinique, and wondered where the heck we were. Turns out he landed well south of where we were, at another stretch of coastline. This was where he sent his plaintive “I am here” message from. Eventually, in talking to the locals he figured out that where we were was likely not where he was, and made his way over to Fort de France, where he eventually spotted the S/Y Volterra. He had some real passport fun (he had not officially landed in Martinique) and was able to access his money from any local bank machine, so he was very, very relieved when made it to the yacht.
After the stories, it was time for another memorable meal under the stars, while watching the sunset over the harbour.