Sunday, June 1, 2008


Sainte Pierre, Martinique
14 44.5N 61 10.7W

As you can see from the photo we are anchored under a stunning volcano off a quaint little town of about 5,000 inhabitants. After exploring ashore we found out the incredible story of this place and the 1902 eruption of Mt Pelee the volcano.

On 7th May 1902 St Pierre was a city of 30,000 inhabitants, with a cathedral, an 800 seat theatre, wide boulevards etc etc. It was the largest city in the French West Indies and known as the Paris Of The Caribbean.

By 8am on the 8th of May, all but one person was dead and the town completely destroyed, after the side of Mt Pelee exploded and a cloud of superheated toxic gas swept over the town with a force equivalent to 40 Hiroshima bombs.

The only survivor was a prisoner in solitary confinement at the town gaol, which is sighted under a cliff and one of the few buildings not completely destroyed. He was found 4 days later by rescuers and later toured with PT Barnum as a sideshow displaying his burns.

The town museum has a few artifacts from the explosion, most notably the molten and bent remains of the cathedral bell, the harbour has the wrecks of about 20 ships that were in harbour on the day of the explosion, and a few stairways and the foundations of the theatre remain in town - that's it, everything else vanished.

If you want to see a photo of the town post explosion take a look at
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