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One thing I definitely wanted to do in Martinique was go on a boat tour and swim with sea turtles. I live in Florida but in the Tampa area, we don’t have an area where we can go snorkeling to see sea turtles (at least not that I know of), so I wanted to make this happen in Martinique. There were a few boat tours to choose from but what stood out to me most was the catamaran excursion with Calypso Croisieres. Their subheading stated “Explore the reefs of the south coast of the Caribbean and meet sea turtles” and that’s exactly what I was looking for!
I e-mailed the company to get a few more details about the excursion and they quickly responded with all the information I needed. The tour starts at 65€ per person but if you include a meal, it is 85€ per person, which I highly recommend. They have a talented chef on board and he made an amazing lunch for us. More on that later.
There were 2 options we could choose from: The North Tour and The South Tour. The North Tour goes to Saint-Pierre looking for dolphins and then stop at a little bay near Carbet to go snorkeling. The South Tour goes to Les Anses D’Arlet and Le Diamant discovering hidden coves. We were torn on which tour to do since they both sounded amazing but went the North Tour since it was the more popular one.
I had to make a non-refundable deposit of 85€ to book the reservation over the phone (or What’s App) to pay with my credit card. Martinique in general prefers wire transfers but since I wasn’t comfortable with that, I chose to pay with my credit card over the phone.
The tour started at 9:00 AM and we were late by 5 minutes because we came from the other side of the island and didn’t realize it would take us close to an hour to the dock. I felt terrible for being a tad late but the company and the other guests were incredibly nice and happily welcomed us on board.
We were introduced to our French captain, Yannick, and he went over the safety guidelines we needed to follow while on board. One of the main things he pointed out was the sunscreen. We were instructed to apply sunscreen every hour since the sun gets really harsh out in the open water. We were also introduced to our chef who would be preparing all of our meals on board. There were already light snacks and coffee out for breakfast. There was also some liquor and mixers to make cocktails for ourselves. I tried the chef’s special rum punch but it was a little too sweet and strong for me.
There were a total of 12 people on the tour: me and my 4 friends, a French family of 5 and 2 siblings from the US. We all got along great and I especially fell in love with the French family. They were so much fun and full of love. I seriously wanted them to adopt me.
Once we started going, we were amazed with the stunning views of Martinique. It was a gorgeous day and the mountains in the background over the bright blue sea was so picturesque. I enjoyed sitting next to the captain and learned that he’s lived in Martinique his whole life and has been driving boats for years. He loves living in Martinique and knows he has the life.
Our first stop was in the middle of the sea at Saint-Pierre. We didn’t get off the boat but just looked out into the sea for dolphins. At first, we didn’t see any signs of them but then all of a sudden we saw a family of them jumping out of the water. I get to see dolphins in Florida but I still get excited spotting them anywhere I go. Yannick told us that this is usually the time dolphins look for food in the area so that’s why we see so many at once. We stayed here for about 20 minutes or so and moved on tour next location where we would snorkel.
The last time I tried snorkeling was in the Phi Phi Islands but I failed miserably because I didn’t know how to use the gear properly and panicked a little. I regretted not trying harder because my friends were telling me about all the colorful sea creatures they saw. This time, I was determined to try harder and stay in the water as long as I could. I also used flippers for the first time too. By the way, all the snorkel gear is provided by Calypso and they have a large variety to choose from.
The sea life underneath was incredible and I loved seeing all the cute, colorful fish in the clear, turquoise water. I was hoping there would be more fish but I didn’t venture too far from the catamaran so I may have missed it. I still had a great time snorkeling.
Next, we were called in to have our lunch. We were served a popular Martinique dish called the poulet boucané which is smoked jerk chicken. It was definitely my favorite dish on the island and the chef prepared it perfectly. We had a great time eating lunch with our new friends and cheering to “our new French family”, as me and my friend kept on saying. Again, I adored this family.
After our lunch, we moved on to our final location to swim with sea turtles, the moment I was waiting for! Finding the sea turtles wasn’t as easy as I thought. We were swimming around for a good 20 minutes but I didn’t see any sea turtles in sight. My friend, Alyssa, saw some but they kept on swimming away and they swam fast.
I almost gave up but the captain, my hero, swam with me (actually, he basically carried me so we could swim faster) to go find the sea turtles and thanks to him, I was finally able to see them! They are such remarkable animals and I was in heaven being able to swim with these cute guys.
Finally, it was the end of our tour and we had to say goodbye. Before we disembarked, Yannick gave us some homemade rum to try. He warned us that it would be strong and yeah, it was brutal. I couldn’t even drink it after one sip. After the drinks, we took a group photo and went our separate ways. I was actually said to leave the French family.
We stayed at the port to watch the sunset which was the perfect ending to an incredible day. If I ever return to Martinique again, I’d go back on the catamaran tour in a heartbeat and experience the South Tour.
*Arrive 15 minutes early (or 30 minutes just to be safe)
*Bring your own towels and plenty of sunscreen (advised to apply every hour)
*Bring a waterproof case for your iPhone and/or water-resistant gear like a GoPro
*Tip the awesome crew
33 Avenue Robert Deloy | Ponton de Grande Anse, Les Anses d'Arlet 97217, Martinique