A Few Days at Anse Mitan

Several sailors told us we could clear Customs at the marina in Anse Mitan, but the marina had been destroyed by a hurricane and not rebuilt. So, the next morning, a Saturday, I took the dinghy on a wild ride out into the main harbor heading east towards Trois Islets, the next bay over where there was another marina. After tying the dinghy in between two boats, I wandered up to the office only to discover they were closed for the week-end. I couldn’t find any sign for a Customs office, so I asked around. No one I spoke to had any idea where the Customs office was located. 

Looking East from Anse Mitan
Looking East from Anse Mitan

Once I zoomed back to the big boat, Joy and I decided to hang out for the rest of the week end, lay low, then head over to Fort de France on Monday morning to clear in there. We’d heard the French were pretty laid back about things like clearing into the country.
Fort St. Louis
Fort St. Louis

On Monday morning we motored across the big harbor and sought what little protection we could by anchoring close up under Fort St. Louis. Winds were fairly strong out of the southeast leaving us pretty exposed to wave action, and I understood why Kathy Parsons had told us Anse Mitan was much preferred to this location. I promised Joy I’d do my best to clear in and get back to the boat as soon as possible. 
Fort de France, as you can see from the photos, is a thoroughly European. Streets run seemingly every which way, but they follow the contours of the land, and no one has ever felt a need to “improve” them. It works, so why mess with it? 
 Downtown Fort de France
Downtown Fort de France

The waterfront park and cruiser’s dinghy dock make landing by dinghy a delight. This dock and the adjacent park are clean, well maintained, and the whole atmosphere made me feel welcome in this beautiful but very busy city. I discovered that Customs here in Martinique is just as laid back as reported. I walked into Sea Services, the local chandlery, asked where I could clear in, and was pointed to a computer in the corner. Five minutes later, I was done – no charge. Everyone I met smiled, wanted to know if they could help me, and wished me a good day as I moved on. I was beginning to really like this country. 

Sail South to Le Marin