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Boarding Taxi Capon the islets of Sainte-Anne

A day at Chevalier islet with Taxi Cap

Leave for a day with Taxi Cap on the îlet Chevalier of Saint-Anne. Discoverz the Sainte-Anne islets national nature reserve, the white funds (the bathtub) and the coral reef.

The emblematic figure of Cap Chevalier for over 35 years, Garcin Doré has passed the helm of Taxi Cap to his two sons. Jonathan and Judickaël have taken up the torch of this institution in Sainte-Anne in the south of Martinique. On their boats, they take visitors and locals alike to discover the natural sights that stretch from Islet Chevalier to Les Salines. I’m boarding with them for the day!

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©judikael-jonathan-taxicap-sainte-anne-martinique
Jonathan and Judickaël

Taxi Cap captains

Meet at Cap Chevalier

We rmeet at 9:30am for a departure at 10am. The boat Taxi Cap II is moored at the small pontoon in the fishing port, opposite the islet. For smaller excursions or simply to get to the Chevalier islet*, Taxi Cap also has 2 skiffs: “Patience” and “Taxico”.

For now, we’re greeted in good spirits with a welcome drink by Jonathan and Judickaël. They take the opportunity to give us on-board safety instructions and tell us how the day will unfold.

The Sainte-Anne islets and the Baie des Anglais mangrove

Everyone settles onto the benches and off we go, heading for the barrier reef! We can see the white foam of the waves breaking on the coral reef that protects the Atlantic coastline. Judickaël tells us that it stretches from the the Salines point in the south to the Caravelle peninsula in the north. Little music to get us in the mood!!!

We skirt the coast and discover the various islets. Those of the Réserve naturelle nationale des îlets of Sainte Anne (Hardy – the largest, Poirier, Burgaux, Percé) are off-limits, as this is a breeding ground for Lesser Antillean birds such as sterns and straw-tails. Boats can’t get closer than 100m. The other islets (Rats, Chevalier, Aigrette and Trois Roux) are accessible. The color of the water is as sublime as ever: a true cameo of turquoise and translucent spots. It’s magnificent, and a real pleasure for the eyes!

The boat then heads for the Baie des Anglais, this is the second mangrove de Martinique in surface area, after that of Génipa. It’s a completely different environment, with the water changing color and becoming as calm as a lake. Our guide explains the fauna and the flora of this reservoir of biodiversity: mangroves, fish, crabs, birds…

The atmosphere on board is cheerful with a backdrop of Caribbean music, Judickaël tells us some amusing anecdotes and throws in little quizzes to get everyone involved! Humor and fun are the order of the day.

Bathing at the white bottoms

After a short hour’s sail, Taxi Cap II drops anchor on the white bottoms  off the Chevalier islet. Everybody off!

It’s time for the famous baptism of rum! The swim is delicious, with waist-deep water, it’s an experience enjoyed by all.

As is tradition, the “baptized” taste the rhum arrangé from Martinique directly from the bottle, kneeling in the water, it’s great fun. For my part, I settle for a small glass of planteur, served with creole black pudding and accras… After this festive moment, we climb back on board and Judickaël sets course for Chevalier islet for the rest of our day.

Discovering the Chevalier islet

We disembark on the islet. On land, a large, well-shaded kiosk is set up in the clearing just behind the beach. Large madras-covered tables are already set up for lunch.

Fairly it’s already aperitif time! On the menu: ti punch, planteur, rhums arrangés, juices are served at the all-you-can-eat bar, accompanied by cod accras. The atmosphere goes up a notch, good-natured and without fuss… I’m having a great day…

Then everyone helps themselves to the Creole buffet. On the menu: fish soup (very good and fragrant!), grills on the barbecue, local vegetables, Creole sauce and a small pot of ice cream. (A lobster menu can be ordered upon reservation).

Jonathan and Judickaël remind us that the meal was prepared by “Chez Gracieuse“, the family-run Creole restaurant in Cap Chevalier.

Then it’s… free quarter! For some it’ll be farniente, sunbathing and swimming on the beach. For others it’s games, dominoes, coconut leaf braiding, and of course a little zouk dance.

I set off to do the tour of the islet along a path hugging its contours, discovering its vegetation, its two small beaches and getting plenty of eye candy with pretty views over the bay and the ocean. The walk takes just an hour, perfect for digestion!

The cockfight

a unique experience!

Only at Taxi Cap can you witness this. Rest assured, this is exhibition without injury or killing, it’s more of a demonstration that Judickaël offers us. With great humor, he shows us how to train these top athletes to pedal, run, turn around and stand up again. Then two volunteers hold the two “warmed-up” roosters before putting them down and releasing them at the same time for the fight. It’s a fast-paced affair: they clash to the loud rustling of wings under the cheers and applause of the audience.

Of course we take the opportunity to film and take lots of photos, as it’s a rather rare and authentic attraction.

Cockfighting: a centuries-old tradition

Introduced to the West Indies by the Spanish as early as the 15th century, cockfighting is an enduring tradition in Martinique, deeply rooted in local culture! It should be noted that they are banned in France, with the exception of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and overseas regions (Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion), which can justify an “uninterrupted local tradition”. In general, these fights pit roosters against each other in the “pitts” ring, in an overexcited atmosphere where money bets go hand in hand. In the official fights, the roosters are weighed: they must weigh exactly the same and be the object of as many bets as each other (some fights go up to bets of 2,000 euros!) Judi tells us. If one of the roosters goes down, he has 40 seconds to get up, otherwise he loses. If both lie down, it’s considered a draw!

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About 4pm it’s time for the quintessential Martinique snack, the famous “pain au beurre chocolat” flavoured with spices, lime zest and cinnamon… Yummy!!!

It’s already 4:30 pm, the day is coming to an end, between guided tour and lazing around on the islet, nice atmosphere, warm, cheerful, filled with laughters and smiles… Thanks boys, I had a great time!

*Shuttle to Islet Chevalier

Go ahead from us!

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