Bus travel in Martinique

I am an enthusiastic motorcyclist and have traveled tens of thousands of kilometers on French roads. I always noticed the buses that I overtook at high speed. They were always sparkling clean, the paint flawless. The air conditioner buzzed audibly on the roof. Traveling by bus in France has to be a great, comfortable affair. Martinique is France.

Embankment in Le Marin, Martinique on the way to the bus stop

Traveling by bus in France also has disadvantages. In the country, the timetables are very thin, only a few connections a day reach the remote villages. It is often difficult to get route plans, timetables and fare information. That's how I experienced it in France.

South of France pure.

After persistent research on the Internet, we find a bus schedule for the BKJ bus line, which is to take us to Vauclin. There are local bus routes in Martinique that are numbered. 31, 32, 33, 54 and so on. Then there are national bus lines that have letters. F, G, H or just BKJ. To make it even more complicated, there are lines BKJ1 and BKJ2. The bus runs about every four hours, it feels very French. Our bus arrives on time, the air conditioning works. In contrast to the buses on the previous islands, this bus also has seat belts for the passengers - EU standard. The fare is not excessive at € 2.10 for the single trip.

Modern intercity bus

After half an hour we reach Vauclin. The bus station, which lies at the gates of the city. Since the connecting bus left 10 minutes ago, we run into town. It would have been just two stops anyway and connections or clocking are a matter of luck in France. In Martinique too.

Vauclin waterfront

While walking along the waterfront, a bus comes towards us on the line with which we wanted to go to a certain point. That's how we came up with this at the bus station while studying the route map. The bus driver stops in the middle of the street, picks us up and tells us that she only goes to the train station. It also doesn't let us out anymore, at least not in front of the bus station.

So we're back. We decide to do another round of surprises with any bus line. While we wait for three quarters of an hour, we admire the pit stop of the regular buses. A mobile workshop trolley has pulled up.

Refueling at the final stop

Our bus is refueled, while more buses pull up and gather around the workshop trolley.

Tire change at the final stop

The bus drivers sit under the tree in the shade, while the workshop staff even changes the tires on one bus - all four tires in a good quarter of an hour. The boys should knock on Formula One. If they are already so fast on regular buses ...

The bus we chose drives us into the mountains. It goes higher and higher on narrow and narrow streets. Okay, the destination is also called “La Haut”, which could be translated as “The height”. The view of the sea is beautiful. Unfortunately, it is quite hazy.

Inland road

Again and again we drive past individual houses that either have a small garden or an entire banana plantation in front of the door.

Bananas

We see a small shop, there we decide to get out. Otherwise we saw no shops or street life on our tour. This is a big difference to islands like St. Lucia or Barbados. There is always life on the street. Here is France.

The tap is ready to eat

But also in Martinique everyone seems to have their chickens. They walk and cackle in the streets on every island in every place.

Grocery store with cat

A cat speaks to us and explains where the shop is. It strokes our legs and can even be picked up. Then we see that it is not a cat at all, but a young cat. The engine is running at full speed.

The hangover prevents us from shopping

Finally it is enough for the cat. We can quench our thirst in the stifling heat in the shop. Funny that they call the local beer in Martinique "Lorraine". Lorraine. It also tastes a little like Kronenbourg.

Lorraine

When we have just finished the beer, the bus comes over again. We only had 70 minutes in this sleepy nest. The 70 minutes have upgraded the whole day.

For the return trip we take the BKJ bus line again. This time it is a BKJ1, we had the BKJ2 on the way there. I buy three tickets to Le Marin from the bus driver and pay the expected amount. Half an hour later the bus driver throws us out just before Fort de France, it has its final destination. I ask him about Le Marin, he claps his hands over his head. After another half an hour of waiting, this bus takes us all the way back to Le Marin. It is the last bus of the day (at 5:00 p.m.). Driving in Martinique is like driving in France. We leave the air-conditioned bus well-cooled and walk into the marina.

Martinique terminus

A few days ago we drove over to Martinique. Jens and I urgently needed a French supermarket. And for Burti this is the end of the line. She had only four weeks of vacation and has to fly home again. Jörg takes her to Fort de France by taxi to the airport.

Bye Burti! We had a good time.

The flight home gets a bit messy. The flight from Barbados to Frankfurt has been booked for a few months. Only the transport from Burti to Barbados had to be organized. Simply board in Martinique, change in Dominica and fly to Barbados. It's just stupid that the plane then flew to Guadeloupe. These lines emerge while Burti hopefully gets on the plane to Barbados.

We are in a rather unattractive marina in Le Marin. People are very nice, the showers are too warm and the walk to the shower is long. However, the ambience is not that great, but the local Carrefour supermarket offers a free shuttle service to the jetty. Class! We have Camembert and Orangina again!

Buoy field in front of the marina

In front of the marina is a gigantic buoy field. And the marina is huge, it has nine jetties. Sometimes the boats have been lying there for a very, very long time. I will write something about that in the future.

wreck

There is also one or the other coral reef in the middle of the buoy fields. They are marked with buoys, but at night you can get problems with the navigation. I am glad that we made the journey here in daylight.

The swinging oven - episode 2

For the trip from St. Peter Port to Roscoff we got fine lamb steaks from the butcher. There is no question that I can prepare them on the high seas in international waters. The question was rather how to eat the steaks when Sissi moves in the sea, the steaks on the plate, the plate on the table and the sailors in front of the table.

The decision then fell on lamb goulash. Lamb goulash comes in a saucepan, is served on a deep plate and you don't need two free hands to finally make it into your mouth.

With five to six Beaufort and a windward course, the challenge of making tasty dishes is a lot higher than when driving through a threshold. Or not? See for yourself!

Walk on the cliffs

It happens. I kept out of it for a long time, but now I can't avoid it. I'm writing a blog post. Today is Jörg's birthday and to celebrate the day we want to go out for a delicious meal afterwards. I pass the waiting time with this post. Only I can write it, because that day, in Camaret-sur-Mer, I was alone to go for a walk on the cliffs.

Jörg photographs the ship cemetery

We started together, past the ship cemetery and the promenade. When it went uphill into the cliffs we separated. The way to the train station was more exciting for Jörg.

Sailing club in the marina

Once on the cliffs I had a great view of the marina. Who can find Sissi in the photo?

Sissigraphy from the cliffs

A narrow trail, the GR34 hiking trail, winds up and down through brambles, blueberries and colorful flowers.

Cliffs with purple flowers

Even cacti have died of thirst in my apartment in Frankfurt. I just don't have a green thumb and zero botany plan. I really liked the purple flowers, however they are called.

even more purple flowers

After a while the path led me to a beach. It was very hot and I felt like jumping into the water myself. So I made my way back. Right next to the marina is also a beautiful beach, which I had almost to myself at a late hour.

Bathing beach

The next day, like many others, we started on Biscay. The stay in Camaret was short. I would come back here anytime to see more of the great scenery.

Jörg has just reminded me that our table is reserved right away. My stomach is growling too, so I'll end the post here. Maybe I'll write something again sometime.

a bientôt Camaret

Addendum: We just rolled back out of the restaurant - RÜLPS!

Done - we got around the top!

We had seasickness on board and were able to avoid seasickness through medical lasagna (with the extra portion of fat). We were rocked extremely when driving over old swell. Our ears are ringing from the diesel boom, because today there is no breeze to breathe.

The westernmost point of France on the mainland

And then we meet a regatta yacht that actually has its sails up and can still sail at seven knots of wind. Either Sissi is too fat or we are. When it comes to our lasagna consumption, I think we are. Sissi is only well built.

Now we have only 10 miles to go and land in Camaret-sur-mer. I'm glad. The wind forecast for tomorrow is “calm”, the day after tomorrow the perfect Biscay wind will come. We rush down to Spain as if Sissi was a racing goat.

How do I avoid seasickness?

One gets seasick, the other doesn't. Some only sometimes, others more often. Why is that? It is largely predisposition. It depends on the weather, I've seen more people vomit when there is no wind than when there is strong wind.

Recipe for seasickness
Go to bed early in the evening, little alcohol.
Sleep in.
Have a good breakfast.
Drink enough and eat again and again on the way.

This recipe worked in most cases. In many cases where it was ignored, only the bucket helped the next day at sea.

Schrödinger's sail

This morning we were at the door of the sailmaker at 9 a.m. It would be a lie to say that we ourselves had opened the door to the sail maker. He had opened the shop just before.

After the demonstration of the damage came the remark “c'est très compliqué”. He told us what he had to do with the sail. Of course we chose the best place for the torn out eye. He couldn't tell us whether he would get the sail ready the same day. It sounded more like we had to prepare for the following day.

We then took a tourist boat to the Île de Batz and walked across the island, which is really worth seeing. There are a few cars there, but the locals tend to drive scooters across the island. The landscape is beautiful.

On the way back we discussed the chances of getting the sail the same day or not. Since the chances did not change during the day and we could only know whether the sail was repaired when we asked the sail maker, we called the problem "Schrödinger's sail“.

Schrödinger's sail

For a few euros we got the repaired sail back and immediately attached it. We were only too tired for an evening descent after our day of hiking. So there is once again a delicious three-course dinner with fish soup, faux filet de boeuf and snacks from the pâtisserie.

The weather forecast for the next few days makes us very optimistic. It looks like this, so we could cross the Biscay with perfect wind. From Wednesday or Thursday, it should blow consistently from the north for several days. Exactly what we need.

The mainsail and dinner

When we took the mainsail down yesterday, I was able to photograph the crack. We'll be at the sailmaker's door tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and hope that it will be patched up for lunch. Then we can start driving in the afternoon because the weather forecast is excellent.

Crack in the mainsail

On Friday evening it was only possible for us to speak briefly with the sail maker. He closed on the weekend (I'm happy for him) but promised us quick help on Monday morning.

So we try to continue enjoying our stay in Roscoff. Tonight we make an onion soup, then delicious lasagna and a honeydew melon is waiting for us for dessert. Yesterday there was fish soup, grilled lamb chops and honeydew melon for dessert. We adapt to France and eat multi-course meals.

Finally the supermarket has real fruit and vegetables that are not frozen. Finally there is a choice again. You can wait for the appointment with the sail maker in worse places.

On the go

Bienvenue en France. We are back on the other side of the English Channel. We are in the land of good food, civilized language and delicious wine. We are in France.

Our sailing day from Roscoff to Roscoff

I've written that before, I just have a déjà-écrit. We left today. And we're back in Roscoff today.

It all started really well. Yesterday we worked with the weather forecast and electricity maps. We calculated the optimal departure time to sail west from Roscoff the coast of Brittany, to circle Cape Finistère and then to enter the port of Camaret-sur-Mer. That would have been a big step on the way to Spain, because the mostly western winds prevent us from moving forward.

In the marina we integrated the second reef into our mainsail, because a strong wind of 25 knots was predicted. It should get a little stronger during the day (up to 30 knots) - that's why we needed the second reef. We took off in good spirits, enjoyed fresh baguette with a pâté de lapin at sea and enjoyed eight to nine knots of ground speed.

However, the joy didn't last long. The wind got stronger much faster than we expected. The wind also turned against us, which the weather frogs predicted for the evening. In the evening we could have used it for the course change to the south, at noon it was just annoying. Five to six meter high waves made the trip exhausting. Suddenly Jens shouted "The big one is on the ass !!!"

We have an approx. 20 centimeter long tear in the mainsail, a reef ribbon has torn its eye out of the sail. Nnngrrrmgrrrrn.

The decision was easy. Either continue sailing to Brest and somehow hope that we can find a sailmaker there. During that time, the crack in the big would certainly not get smaller again. So we turned and drove back to Roscoff. There is a sail maker right at the harbor. When we entered Roscoff, the wind blew at 45 knots. The wind did not stick to the forecast.

If tomorrow the wind subsides again, we will take the sail down and have it sewn on Monday. I have already spoken to the sailmaker, this is a little thing and is done quickly. After four hours of sailing, we did not make a good mile towards Spain today.

Memories of Guernsey

After an opulent dinner here on the Sissi, I sat down for a few minutes to sift through the photos of the past few days and put nicer copies on the blog. I worked through the days in Guernsey when we waited for the wind to blow a little and the trip to France to be more comfortable.

Strong winds break the waves on the rocks

On the radio we hear the broadcast of the game from our concord against Vaduz (second leg qualification Euroleague) over a shaky WiFi connection. Once again there are low pressure areas across the Atlantic and we hope that tomorrow we can cover at least a part of our planned route.

In a similar waiting phase, we made two great trips on Guernsey. Once to the Reservoir of the island, which serves the drinking water supply, and once to the westernmost point the island with a small nature park and great cliffs. The photo above was also taken.