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Martinique Boat Festival 2007

The ‘Fete du Nautisme’ took place across all Martinique, thanks to the initiative of Metropolitan France, under the guidance of the FFV (Federation Francaise de Voile) on Saturday, the 12th and Sunday, the 13th of May, 2007. Inaugurated in 2000, the Fete du Nautisme allows the public to gain an initiation in sailing in all its forms, and to discover exactly the nautical pastimes in the region. It’s an opportunity for all to share experiences and passions for a weekend. At the various sites, inscription takes place on the day itself, and advice is free!

Tartane is a fishing village on the islet of Caravelle on the northeast coast. We were there on Saturday 12th, on the Surfers beach, the ‘in’ surfing spot on the island. It’s a beautiful beach with white sand, a coral reef a meter below the surface, and small natural pools where children play on Sundays under the watchful eyes of their parents. For the surfers, the action takes place beyond the reef, with a series of breakers. Here, then, was a chance to get a taste of surfing. The Bliss surf school was in attendance (on the left at the approach to the beach, www.surfmartinique.com), along with the Madinina surfing club and the UCPA.

Some fifteen kids from four to 10 years old were happy to register, after a small warm up and twenty meters swimming to get them in shape. Foam boards were available (from Bliss), with an instructor from UCPA. Teaching is difficult—they have to paddle up to the ‘Peak’, breaking through the waves, and on the signal from the instructor, launch themselves onto the wave. Tough stuff!

Afterwards, it was the turn of the Longboard. Each adult took a youngster in front to make a team. The younger experts showed off, either on their partners’ shoulders or on their heads. A real surfing circus! The eight-year-old Marie-Sol, with fear in her belly, threw herself into it and managed to get up on the wave, before falling straight back in. Enough for the day!  After effort, reassurance, juice, and sandwiches, the children were delighted.

On Sunday, the festival took place at Vauclin, a fishing village on the southeast side of the island. It was a rendezvous at Faula, on the beach that fringes the beautiful lagoon and its clear bottom. The local organizers were the CNV (Club Nautique du Vauclin) and the UCPA. Stephanie, Gilles, and Vincent from the club were in place early under the white tents where people could sign up for the sports in exchange for a bracelet. Thus, 350 people were registered for a single day in Vauclin.

The municipality in Vauclin made a serious investment in putting up the tents. A small exhibition took place on diving and marine life, and how to protect turtles and whales.

Many registrations were recorded for the program—kayak trips on the sea, Optimist sailing, windsurfing, Funboard, and Hobie Cat. A lot of youngsters from 10 to 20 years old came from across the commune, and got a taster with pleaser of nautical activities.  What a great day!  Club nautique du Vauclin :0596 74 50 83.  UCPA : 0596 74 21 90.

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