Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Beach Combing in Saint Pierre

Isla and I love beach combing for "treasures".  It's a little ritual we have that each time we land on a new beach, her and I slowly walk the shoreline picking up shells, rocks and anything else that catches our eye.  Isla is a very patient, thoughtful and inquisitive child and this little hobby of ours suits her perfectly.  We'll stroll along, sometimes hand in hand, sometimes with her trailing me - and each time she finds something of interest she exclaims, "OoooOOOooo!! Mama wook!" and she holds up her stone, shell or - her personal favorite - beach glass (this has subsequently lead to her now excitedly picking up shards of glass in the streets, unfortunately.  We're working on differentiating).  When our travels took us up to the Northern end of Martinique to the quaint town of Saint Pierre, we were treated with the very best beach combing yet.

This little seaside town, which upon first glance looks a bit ramshackle and run-down, has great historical significance.  While it was once considered the cultural capital of this beautiful island and had a well-earned reputation of being the "Paris of the Caribbean", sadly it's fame was solidified in 1902 when the eruption of Mt. Pelee completely destroyed this place, killing over 30,000 people and leveling everything in it's path.  The town still bears the scars of this tragedy and is full of historical ruins giving it a slightly Roman feel.  Many of the ruins have either been incorporated into the modern architecture or left to be slowly reclaimed by nature amongst the living.  It's a very cool place to explore.

When we swam to the beach from our boat, we didn't even think about the fact that the blast which completely decimated this town might have washed some of the remnants of the buildings and homes into the sea.  On our simple stroll along the beach we found weathered bits of terra-cotta tiles, sand-polished bits of plates, tiny pieces of once intricate porcelain tiles and other remnants of yesteryear.  And - wow - if you are a person who loves beach glass, look no further!  There is every size, color, and shape of glass imaginable and we could have easily filled a wine bottle with pieces that we saw just at our feet while walking.  We collected a few bits to bring back to the boat to add to our collection and now we not only have little tiny pieces of history with us, but fond memories of our time here in Martinique.


SailFarLiveFree said...

Great mix of history, culture and personal experience! I love how children open the eyes of adults to little treasures that we might otherwise dismiss as mundane. My girls were obsessed with driftwood this past summer, which had me admiring how skillfully the water can carve out a masterpiece.

boatbaby said...

We have mason jars all around the boat FILLED with beach glass and other beach treasures. Such fun! And despite the naysayer back in the other post, I love the drama effect on your camera, very groovy!

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