At 05:30 the alarm went off and we jumped out of bed fully motivated for a Martinique mountain bike tour. Half an hour later and we were ready to load the dinghy BUT it was raining. Really raining. Downpour raining.
We drank coffee and kept ourselves amused until about ten when the rain stopped. We quickly loaded the dinghy with bikes, took them across to the shore and put them together. We cycled up hill for about ninety seconds and it started raining so we hid under a roof. Once it stopped we managed nearly a mile before we had to shelter under another roof. The final deluge caught us on the outskirts of Le Miran so we hid at a petrol station.
After all this start stop progress we finally had dry skies even if the ground was a little wet. We cycled through the village of Sainte Anne and on towards the southernmost point of Martinique. This was real mountain-biking. The ground changed from rock to wet roots to sand to mud every few meters and at one point it was just easier to cycle along the beach. We passed cacti, palms, desert like landscapes and cycled through thick wood. At one point we were avoiding the crabs and the next chasing greeny, furry rat things. All the time the ocean and beautiful beaches were on our right and, this being Sunday, the beaches and woods were full of partying locals and sun burnt tourists.
During the last part of the tour we headed off north along the Atlantic coast and met only two other people the whole time – and they were asleep. More woods, more marshes and more stunning views.
Back in Le Marin we went to a petrol station to wash the bikes down and promptly it began to rain. We hid in McDonalds until it stopped and the sun dried the bikes and then packed them back in their bags. The final rain started just as we stowed the bikes dry in their bags on board.