In January 2012 we sailed from St Lucia to Marin, a fast passage of 27 miles in a NE F4. Great sailing!
Marin was easy to enter in daylight but there were a couple of bays we thought about anchoring in before we saw the wrecked yachts on the reefs. There was plenty of room in the anchorage just west of the marina, so we stayed there a couple of nights. Holding was excellent and we felt totally secure.
The Leader Price supermarket is close by and has a dinghy dock to which you can take trolleys, perfect for heavy loads. The importance of a good dinghy and outboard has become very apparent as we almost always have some distance to travel for customs and shopping. The dinghy needs to be able to plane with 2 people and luggage aboard.
The customs at Marin was a D-I-Y computer print out which the officer just stamped without checking our passports. They have several terminals in the office which is at the marina. We had to return there to clear out also and get another print out.
The marina has a small chandlery, couple of bars and was a pleasant place to spend some time. There is also an internet cafe about 10 minutes walk away which has a launderette and bar.
The food and drink is much more expensive in the french islands but the choice is good, especially for cheese and the wine was a good price!
In January/February of 2013 we returned to Martinique and spent time anchored in St Anne’s. We stayed a week but would have stayed much longer as it was a lovely place. The town is pretty with lots of shops, boulangeries and interesting architecture. The dinghy docks are excellent, with rubbish bins next to them and a bus runs into Marin if you need the chandlery and larger supermarkets. It is also possible to dinghy in from St Anne’s. The holding was excellent in sand and the clear water meant we could swim and also check the anchor.
One tip – if you get your clearances confused from another island and don’t have the correct paperwork, then go to a french island next. They don’t check anything, don’t ask for your previous clearing out documents, just take the 5 Euros and sign your printed form. So if you get in a mess at any time, having to leave an island without clearing (which you really should not do, for the record), you can reset the clock.
We also sailed north a few miles and used the new mooring buoys in Grande Anse and Petit Anse. At the time there was no charge and the moorings were in excellent condition.
Being well funded from France, we were never bothered by anyone trying to sell us anything or beg in the streets, so that was a refreshing change. We also felt very safe there, leaving our ‘door’ and hatches open at night. We would love to spend a lot more time in Martinique next season, to practice French and enjoy the lovely bays.
We visited again in May 2014 and the posts from then have further details.