Location: Rade de Saint Pierre, Martinique
As day two on Martinique comes to a close, I find myself lamenting my inability to speak French; the language barrier is not so strong as to prevent all communication, but let’s just say that our charades skills have been honed. If ever there was a case to be made for learning multiple languages this is it if you want to travel to a non-English speaking country and get an authentic experience (i.e. not being stuck on a tour bus the whole time) it’s necessary to learn at least a few basic phrases in the native tongue. Anyway, our day began with a hearty breakfast of eggs and ham, and if you were quick enough, perhaps a cup of coffee. We were promptly dropped off in the center of town and given a little under three hours to do whatever we pleased. Some of us ran for the nearest laundromat; hand washing clothes just isn’t as thorough as machine washed, while others just wandered the streets for a bit. I noticed while walking around town that Martinique is much quieter than the other islands we have been to. Apparently, it is customary in many parts of the Caribbean to honk at people you know as you pass them, whether they are in a car or just on the street. I must admit I was relieved to find out that Martinique does not employ the same liberal use of the horn. After joining up with Katie and Lucy and walking the streets for a bit, we all decided to stop at a small bakery not far from where we were dropped off. Everyone enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee while we studied for the upcoming exam or read a book. Finally, after an hour I decided to pack up and explore on my own for the half-hour we had left. The island is distinctively French, a fact reinforced by the numerous bakeries and the car brands: Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen, none of which were at any islands previously visited. There is a certain whimsical feeling walking through a place knowing that you can’t understand anyone and they can’t understand you. I felt isolated but not in a hostile way, more like a ghost just passing through, unable to really interact with the world but observing it all the same.
When our time was up, we were shuttled back to the boat in time for lunch (rice and veggies). After lunch, everyone was given the option of going on a quick dive, but I am sorry to say I don’t know what was seen because all the guys, myself included, opted to sleep for a few hours instead. I think we made the right choice; it can be difficult to stay rested on this boat between the constant activity and the one hour anchor watches that disrupt your sleep cycle. After nap time came dinner, and then a Leadership class where we each discussed a leader that we admired (mom, dad, I had a bit of fun with this one). As is quickly becoming custom the girls all went to the bow after class for what they have dubbed “girl talk”, a team meeting of sorts at the end of the day, while the guys watched Thor: Ragnarok on Matt’s computer (10/10).
It looks like it’s time for my anchor watch, goodnight all!