Saint Pierre, Martinique

We spent a couple days in Saint Pierre, Martinique before heading to Dominica. The history is really interesting and we wish we had a little more time to spend in the science museum before we had to head out to catch a good weather window.

Late afternoon arrival in the Bay of St Pierre (Rade de St Pierre)

Saint Pierre, in the North of the island  used to be an important trading and cultural center, sometimes called 'the little Paris". The entire town and its inhabitants were wiped out in  90 seconds during the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée on May 8, 1902. Out of around forty ships anchored in the bay, only the Roddan escaped the pyroclastic flows. In the city, an estimated 28,000 people perished, with only 2 survivors. What did not get destroyed during the eruption was burned in the ensuing days.

Ruins, a rooster and very large leaf.

Today it is a small touristic town with interesting ruins, the old fort, the jail where the prisoner Cyparis survived and the theater and a couple museums, the 'Memorial de la Catastrophe de 1902", newly restored in 2019 and worth the visit and the CDS, "Centre de Decouverte des Sciences de la Terre".  We visited the latter on a Tuesday when a government team was educating visitors on the local risks, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and the measures one should take.

Great museum with a good self paced audio tour (included in the admission). Audio tour offers 3 levels of narrative: 100 level for children, 200 level  for artifact description and 300 as testimonies. Very innovative.

The Science museum is about a 20 minute walk from the center of town. The film is really well done!

An entire exhibition dedicated to puzzles! We will be back next year!

While we are quite familiar with earthquake preparedness as residents of San Francisco, we learned more about the Caribbean plate motion (subduction) and its impact in the region. 

We learned a lot from the almost hour long film at the museum, both on the volcanic eruption of 1902 and the volcanic formation of the islands . The next island to be added will be near Grenada where Kick'em 'Jenny, an active submarine volcano continues to rise slowly. Note that we went close to Kick'em Jenny and noted the 1.5km exclusion zone on our charts!

On the walk back through some ruins we saw a beautiful cat...

One more cat picture....

Final sunset on the way back to the boat