Holly Turner escapes Martinique’s busy bays and finds a secluded tropical paradise in the French Caribbean
This beautiful hideaway is scenic and secluded – the ideal place for escaping Martinique’s built-up touristy areas. Named for its black sand, the tiny cove has dazzlingly clear water enclosed by green hillsides.
Anse Noire is on the south-west coast of the Caribbean island of Martinique, an overseas region of France. Just under six miles south of the capital, Fort-de-France, this is an idyllic spot for a day’s snorkelling and an evening of relaxing.
Tucked in slightly north of Les Anses-d’Arlet, this steep jungle-like valley is backed by palm trees and provides good protection from prevailing east trade winds.
It is, however, open to westerlies and north winds, and is best avoided if these are forecast.
Fishing pot markers are often scattered around the entrance of the anchorage and as any Caribbean sailor knows they can be nothing more than a painted empty bottle, so arriving in daylight is recommended.
When dropping the hook, keep to the central section of the bay where the holding is sand with between 3-6 metres of water, but look out for dense patches of sea grass as these can prevent the anchor from digging in.
The grass also provides shelter and food for aquatic life, such as sea turtles, so help marine conservation by avoiding them.
Unsurprisingly, both sides of the anchorage are rocky and shallow so stay clear of these.
Around six to eight boats can fit in comfortably without overcrowding or invading each other’s personal space, though if it is busy be sure not to upset your neighbours by snagging their chain while setting your own anchor.
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A jetty provides mooring for your dinghy, but be prepared to climb a short ladder.
Unfortunately, it is in need of repair after being damaged by a Category 4 hurricane in 2017; the timber boards running down the middle have warped, so tread carefully.
With little to no facilities ashore, ensure the boat is well stocked with provisions before arriving. A small café offers a limited menu during the cruising season but don’t rely on this being open.
Coral and large groups of colourful tropical fish thrive around the rocky outcrops, making it a popular place for snorkelling.
Less busy than neighbouring Anse Dufour, most visitors only tend to stay for the day so it’s not unusual to be the only boat residing overnight.
Why not sit back and take advantage of the quiet, enjoying sundowners while contemplating the sunset over dinner in the cockpit.
As darkness falls the only noises will be the sea lapping against the shore and the chirping sound of tree frogs.
Welcome to the true definition of ‘island time’.