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TO4A Martinique

Yuri, VE3DZ will be active as TO4A from Martinique Island, IOTA NA - 107, 13 - 21 February 2024.
He will operate on HF Bands, including activity in ARRL DX CW Contest, 17 - 18 February 2024 in Single Operator All Band Category.
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TO4A Log search Outside contest he can use also FM/VE3DZ call sign.
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Yuri Onipko, 1265 Creek Road, R R 2, Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON, L0S 1J0, Canada.

Martinique: the island of flowers and volcanoes

Martinique is one of the Antilles, an overseas department of France and a popular Caribbean resort. The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his legendary voyage to the shores of the American continent.

It was probably hard to surprise a former traveler, but Martinique succeeded. Columbus wrote in his diaries that it was "one of the most beautiful islands in the world".

TO4A Martinique Island QSL Card
TO4A. Martinique Island. QSL Card.

A little history

Despite all its beauty, the island did not interest the Spanish. Navigators were looking for gold. And Martinique had golden beaches, palm trees, exotic flowers, volcanoes... and not a single gold nugget.

But soon the French arrived and established one of the first European settlements in the Antilles. The native Carib Indians were soon wiped out. The reason was not only enmity with the aliens, but also diseases unaccustomed to the natives. Soon African slaves arrived in Martinique. Here they grew sugar cane and bananas, exported fruits and honey.

In the mid-fifties of the twentieth century, colonial law was abolished. But Martinique did not become an independent state. It is a department of the French Republic, the islanders have the right to send four representatives to the state parliament.

TO4A Martinique IslandMartinique Island. Author - Juju de Tonnay.

Pearl of the Caribbean

Now Martinique is a popular tropical resort. But attracts travelers not only beach rest, but also a fascinating excursion program. On a small island is concentrated a lot of unique sights. These are palaces and temples of the colonial era, defense structures, ancient volcanoes, tropical forests.

It is worth noting, of course, and beaches. Here you can find gray volcanic and golden sand. There is excellent diving near the coast. In the coastal waters there are shipwrecks of various historical epochs, coral reefs, picturesque rocky landscapes. One of the favorite places for divers is Diamond Rock. The stone massif rises above the sea, and in the underwater part forms terraces. .

Another entertainment related to the sea is Caribbean fishing. Everyone can go to sea on a fishing boat and catch barracuda, octopus or other exotic inhabitants of tropical waters.

National treasures

You can't go to Martinique without experiencing the most famous and ancient local crafts - banana growing and rum making.

You can go to the banana plantation in the village of Belfort by excursion train, see how this tasty fruit grows and even taste the yellow sweet fruit.

Well, and, of course, it is worth paying tribute to the famous Caribbean rum. Travelers are gladly escorted to the sugar cane plantations and to the rum factory. During the tour, the guide will tell in detail how the drink of pirates and sailors is made: starting from the production of alcohol and ending with aging in barrels.

TO4A Martinique Island DX NewsMartinique Island. Author - Dominique Simon.

Underground fire and bats

There are many active volcanoes on the island. The last major eruption, later called the worst natural disaster of the twentieth century, occurred in 1902. Flows of lava literally buried the whole city: St. Pierre. It is noteworthy that out of thirty thousand inhabitants, only one survived. It was a prisoner serving his sentence in a prison cell. He was granted a pardon by the authorities: after all, nature itself saved the prisoner from death.

Now the "culprit" of the catastrophe Montagne-Pele volcano is slumbering. The sleeping mountain has become an object of pilgrimage for tourists. You can climb the volcano and look from a height at the panorama of the island. Particularly impressionable tourists say that they can hear lava quietly moving under their feet.

There is a museum of volcanology on the island. The expositions tell about the most famous eruptions in the history of mankind and how volcanoes changed the face of our planet.

There is one more place to visit for thrill-seekers - a cave with bats near the village of Les Anses. You can get to the cave by boat. In the middle of the sea there is a rock with a small cave where a colony of bats live. In the evening, when it gets dark, the animals start flying out to hunt. It's an eerie sight, especially for those with a well-developed imagination.

Butterflies and flowers

But of course, not everything in Martinique is so gloomy. This paradise was once known as the "island of flowers". And to see the lush tropical plants you can go to the Botanical Gardens of Bolat. There are more than three thousand species of plants brought from all over the island.

It's also worth taking a walk along the Rut de la Trance eco-trail, which leads right through the tropical thickets. Here you can see lush tropical flowers and giant butterflies in their natural habitat.

TO4A Martinique Island Tourist attractions spotMartinique Island. Author - Francois Leroy.

Cities and monuments

Fort de France, the capital of Martinique, occupies an entire island. Once almost the whole area was occupied by cane, tobacco and banana plantations, and now Fort de France is one of the tourist centers of the country. There are mountains and volcanoes, natural beaches framed by tropical greenery, many cultural and architectural sights have been preserved here:

  • St. Louis Cathedral. The cathedral was built in the nineteenth century under the personal supervision of the French king. The building combines elements of Gothic, Byzantine style, has a rich interior decoration.
  • Rut de France. A pedestrian route that allows you to get acquainted with the historical center of the city.
  • Bolat Botanical Gardens.
  • Fort St. Louis with its perfectly preserved defenses.

St. Pierre. A ghost town buried beneath frozen lava and ash. It was once a thriving port city and the island's capital. The first sugar cane plantations were established here, and rum began to be made. Now travelers can see the ruins of the city. And at the same time swim on the luxurious beaches and scuba diving. In the vicinity of St. Pierre is a rich underwater world.

At the foot of the volcano there is a museum of volcanology. Here you can see the bell of the city temple, left after the disaster, get acquainted with photos and drawings that tell about the terrible eruption of 1902.

Diamant means "diamond". On the central embankment there is a sculpture of an uncut diamond - the symbol of the city of Diamant.In this place there are many historical monuments that tell about different epochs in the life of the country:

  • The ruins of the castle of Tiberius Carafa, one of the most famous rulers of the island and a great politician who lived in the eighteenth century.
  • Colonial style houses.
  • Baroque buildings.

Another attraction of Diamand is the painted walls of the houses. This tradition is more than a hundred years old. Artists who came to the island were amazed by the beauty of nature and started painting landscapes directly on the whitewashed walls. Now many painters visiting Diamand also leave their own masterpieces on the buildings.

Traveling to Martinique will give bright impressions. Here you can find conditions for recreation and entertainment in accordance with your interests, mental inclinations and even momentary mood. You can simply lie on the beach, climb a volcano, feel like a pioneer in the tropical jungle, explore ancient forts and mansions. Or just sit in a cozy cafe, drinking a cocktail with rum and listening to the sounds of the surf.

TO4A. Where is Martinique Island located. Map.

TO4A Martinique. Sunrise 06-15-2024 at 09:33 GMT sunset at 22:35 GMT
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  • 2020-02-14 10:48:25