May 14th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

While I was in Concordia, I ran into these ruins near a rental car lot all the way down the road from the EDF building. According to an archaeological map I found, it seems this might be Sucrerie Diamant, but other than that I have no info on it. The map I found does show the location of the Sucrerie Friars’ Bay, which may be helpful since I wasn’t able to find that before.

April 23rd, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

I’m way late in posting this, but below are a few photos of our initial construction session when building the Apocalpyso with team member Stephen. The Apocalypso was a raft built from reclaimed materials, which was based on the general from of the pirogues that the Amerindians used when colonizing St. Martin. Conceived and designed by Stephen, Jenn and I helped him do most of the construction in a few hours. The boat was completed and featured at the Love the Lagoon fundraising event.

February 26th, 2011 by Marc AuMarc

Today we attended the annual Arrowroot Jollification in Colombier. Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a tropical plant cultivated for its starchy roots. A jollification is a St. Martin custom similar to an Amish barn-raising, where a community comes together to complete a task, such as building a house, fixing a wall, or preparing arrowroot, while also having food together and hanging out.

The main steps of the arrowroot process include harvesting the roots, cleaning them and removing the skin, pounding them in large mortars and then straining the pounded root with water to separate the starch from the fiber. The starch ends up in the water, and once it has settled, the water is carefully removed and the remaining starch water is dried in the sun.

The jollification also included food and drink stands, a DJ and a youth marching band. The event was really fun, and attendees are encouraged to participate in the arrowroot preparation, particularly the pounding. The jollification will continue tomorrow.

We also happened to see some interesting things on our walk into and out of Colombier. The small stream that runs through the valley is completely dry in many places, including areas that were home to crayfish and three species of fish just one month ago.

November 20th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

The Sucrerie Saint Jean was a sugar mill between Marigot and Grand Case. Now, the well-preserved ruins of this 18th century complex are quite overgrown. Although sugar production was not as prominent on St. Martin as it was in many other Caribbean islands, the remains of several sugar mills may be seen on the island.

If you walk up the hill behind the Sucrerie Saint Jean, be advised that the grassy hill extends all the way to the back walls of the buildings and it would be easy to fall right in because they have no roofs. Actually, it’s probably also worth noting that, although there is a sign marking the historical site at the roadside, you have to hop a fence to actually get to the site.

August 2nd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Grand Case has a lot of parties. Harmony Nights are a weekly mardi gras party that happens for a couple months in the late winter and early spring, but after that there are a variety of events. The other day there was another festival. I’m not sure what the occasion was, but there was a big party on the beach as well as bands and dance recitals near the community center.

February 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We held the second annual Tacousteau on the roof deck of our new apartment and it was a great success. We enjoyed the delicious Mexican food, tacos, and watched two episodes of the first Jacques Cousteau series. Fish were trapped in plastic bubbles, sea turtles were saved by Falco and much, much more. Everyone wore red hats, including our video projector. Special thanks to Big B for taking the photos!

January 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We made another excursion to Fort Louis and found a number of new and informative signs. Restorations were also made to many of the canons, which were placed in battle formations. We also visited the museum for the first time since its restoration and found it quite informative, particularly with regard to the prehistoric inhabitants of the island, which came in several successive waves.

January 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Last Tuesday was the second of many Grand Case Mardi Gras nights. This time I took a lens that could autofocus and I think the photos came out a little better. You can see the band, Kevin, some kid with an awesome purple hat and much more.

January 22nd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Tuesday was the first Harmony Night of the year. For the next several months, every Tuesday night will see the main street of Grand Case closed off for a mini Mardi Gras celebration. I went out with a vintage Nikon 50mm lens that has no automatic metering or focus, which made for either a challenge, or an exercise in futility, depending on your point of view, but I had fun trying.

December 25th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Yesterday we visited Fort Louis with Nuzum and Olivia, who were visiting from New York. The fort was built in the early 1700s to protect the harbor of Marigot. Prior to its construction, the settlement was basically a handful of people whose meager crops were regularly stolen by British privateers. After construction of the fort they were able to successfully defend against invasion and the colony began to prosper. Today it is the most intact of the early forts on the island and still offers outstanding views of Marigot and much of the rest of the island and surrounding seas.