Location: St. Pierre, Martinique
Bonjour mes amies!
Team Ocean Star sailed through the night from St. Lucia to Martinique. It’s always amazing to be crossing the high seas at night under a thousand stars. Around 4:30 am, a few of us that were on the early bird watch team took down the sails as we approached the bay. In the early dawn, the crew was greeted by Mount Pelee. There she stood peeking through the clouds at about 2500 feet above sea level. Captain decided it was best for us to catch a few hours of sleep before we planned to hike the volcano at 10 am. The 7 am wake up call came quickly, and the crew chugged down their coffee and cereal as we dinghied from our vessel to shore. Naturally, we were enchanted by the smell of fresh baguettes thanks to the local Saturday morning farmer’s market.
Our cab driver Gerard came and picked us up at the market to take us to Pelee. Once we arrived at our destination, we knew we were going to be challenged not only physically but also mentally. The team started on the trail and was welcomed by the French locals who were also climbing the mountain. The first half-hour of the hike is difficult, requiring hand over foot climbing to get to the second checkpoint. After making it through the first part, we realized that it was definitely not part of the hike to break our spirits. The climbing conditions were ideal for a Caribbean climate lots of moisture and humidity with the occasional rain. The air was fresh, and the views were extraordinary. Large valleys of treetops and tropical plants surrounded us on our journey. After the second checkpoint, the terrain dramatically changed from lush green landscapes to fog and giant rocks to climb. The task to reach the peak became daunting as we rock climbed over the boulders, trying not to slip from the moss and moisture. To add to the ambiance, we were graced by a light rain shower. The air was getting thinner, and each step seemed harder than the last. Finally, after two hours of intense mountain climbing, the crew reached the top of the peak above the thickness of the fog. The scenery captivated our eyes as we were able to see so much of the island and sea surrounding it. We all knew the physical and mental exhaustion that was experienced hiking the mountain, and it was rewarded with sandwiches and a gorgeous view to enjoy. It didn’t take long for us to be reminded how cold the top of a mountain actually is, so after we ate, we started trekking back down. Gerard met us at the bottom of the trail, and the crew enjoyed some ice cream and croissants at the cafe. After being dropped off on the dock, we dinghied home to shower and eat fresh fish and bread. Although the hike was a challenge, the crew enjoyed their first day in Martinique.