Petite Martinique, Grenada

Photo: dpursoo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: dpursoo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
You’ve been staring across the water at a little island all week. It has a volcanic peak and green hills. Small sailboats come and go. But for the most part, it seems quiet. Very quiet. No cruise ships during the day or bright lights at night. It looks like paradise. You must find a way to get there.

The little island is Petite Martinique. It’s a dependency of Grenada, though it’s closer to the Grenadines chain that are part of St. Vincent. The island was claimed by a French family in the 1700s. Cotton farming, slaves, and Catholicism were brought to the 586-acre island. Slavery was abolished long ago, and corn and peas are the only things grown in abundance now. Petite Martinique is more known for its fishing, boat building, and regattas.

You board a water taxi on Petit St. Vincent and head south toward the little island. Piton, the highest point, looks bigger and bigger as you glide across the water. The east coast, bordering the Atlantic, is rough, rocky, and very isolated. The Caribbean west coast has calm water, a long beach, and two docks. Colorful gabled houses dot the hillside. A single road, Main Street, runs along the west coast. While fishing boats, in various stages of completion, fill the waterfront.

As expected, Petite Martinique is unspoiled and quiet. You watch boatbuilders set up frames, plank the boards close together, and caulk open spaces to prevent leaks. You watch bottom-line fishermen hook their lines and talk about what is biting. You hike around the island—it only takes an hour—stopping to stay hello to everyone you pass. Then you follow the music to the Palm Beach Restaurant & Bar. Tables are littered outside in the garden. Crashing waves mix with the drum beat. A rum-filled Planter’s Punch is delivered shortly after you eye someone else’s. And you order way too much food. It’s just too difficult to choose between lobster bisque, cracked conch, and grilled lobster. Besides, you’re in no rush now that you finally made it to paradise.

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