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Caribbean (southern islands)

Date: 01-03/2006
(all pictures are clickable)

My girlfriend has never been in the Caribbean, so I showed her some of the southern islands. We sailed from Martinique to Trinidad and back.

Martinique

This French island is one of the few in the Caribbean where one can find everything as you would in Europe. It has, with Guadeloupe, the best medical care centers of the Caribbean. Life is relatively expensive here. But there are some nice places... One of them is the town of St Pierre in the north. St Pierre was the ancient capital of Martinique (the ancient name of the island is "Madinina"). In 1904 the nearby volcano killed nearly everyone in town and sank all but one ship in the bay. These sunken ships are today an attraction to divers (even if the ships are relatively deep).

Ancient stores Entry of the old theater Remains of the old theater (build in 19th century)

There are also several trails in Martinique. Some of them are in the area of the old volcano. One of the is the "Sentier des esclaves" (path of the slaves). It is an easy walk along a small water canal (in Madeira they would say a "levada"). There are some nice views there. The only 'catch' is that you better not be scared of heights as on certain places you walk on a 20cm ridge next to a 10-20m drop...

Sweetwater crabs living in the canal

But Martinique is also...

Rainforest and waterfalls Nicely "decorated" (natural !) bugs The visiting 3-master "Amsterdam"

Trinidad

I went back to Trinidad because there were some places I still wanted to visit and for the Carnival. The places I wanted to see were the 2 bird sanctuaries Caroni Swamps and the Asa Wright Nature Center in the rain forest. When revisiting the south of the island, it appeared greener than I remembered from a previous visit. I also enjoyed the "liming" (going out and having a drink) in the St James area of Port of Spain.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Birds and iguana Colibri

Caroni Swamp National Park

Tree snake

Flying red ibises Daily rendez-vous

But Trinidad (and Tobago) is also:

Maracas Bay area Scotland bay (where one can hear big wild monkeys scream !) Pitch lake

Cocos Bay Manzanilla Snapshot of Tobago Sand crab

And of course there is the Carnival! It is a combination of music (soca), dancing, nice costumes and, most importantly, fun. You will not find chariots here: everything is about people. More than 100.000 persons were expected to participate (there are about 1.2million people living in Trinidad and Tobago !). Here are some pictures. Some are from us, some from professionals (as we are not always authorized to make pictures, unless paying an expensive fee).

Parading Details of the queen's costume Details of a king's contest finalist

Blue devil Kids Mud party

King of Carnival (if I remembered correctly, he is 65 years old !) Queen of Carnival

Another finalist of the queen contest One of the music styles: steel bands A famous soca singer Trinis like to party !

St-Vincent and the Grenadines

After Trinidad we went straight to Union Island which is the southmost island of St-Vincent and the Grenadines. After our clearance and a walk in town, we continued to the Tobago Cays. Tobago Cays is a place where you'll find palmtrees, white (not yellow) sand and transparent water...


Union Passage at Tobago Cays Jamesby island Nereus @ Tobago Cays

The map above shows the Tobago Cays. You can see that this place is well protected by reefs. The big one on the (middle - not around Petit Tabac) east is called Horse Shoe reef. The 5 islands are, to my knowledge, inhabited.

Inhabitant A delicious victim

A school of surgeon fishes (blue tang) Detailed (see yellow spine at base of tail; it is as sharp as a scalpel !) (Scrawled) Filefish

The next stop was Petit Byahaut on St Vincent. I like this place a lot. There is small hotel (7 rooms) in open nature. The only access is by sea... In the next bay there is the so called "bat cave". It's a crevasse where many fruit eating bats live. The access, too, is by sea only. And a bit more north, there is the Wallilabou Bay where the remaining sets of the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" are. They are a bit more damaged then 2 years ago when I passed.

Lesser electric ray Wallilabou bay