The "sun21" is in the mind of the people in Martinique. The crew was cordially received and the arrival of the solar boat was reported on by several tv and radio stations.
During the first days on firm ground, we have had time to realize that "we made it"…! In addition to frequent visits of harbor officials, politicians and business people, there was an overwhelming joyful reaction by the public in the streets. If one of us enters a photo shop, the owner says immediately: "Je vous ai vu à la télé" (I saw you on television). Shortly, the solar boat is in the mind of the people and globetrotters in this old harbor town.
One day, classes of a technical college took turns in visiting the boat; and two professors invited the whole crew for a tour to the first four windmills of the island and for a meal with Martinique specialties. The garden was resonating from a concert of crickets, frogs and cicadas.
Here is a list of events:
1. Arrival: Several TV and radio stations, among them the most important stations of France d’Outremer.
2. Afterwards the correspondent of Télévision Française 1 joined us for half a day and made a film for the main 8 o’clock evening news (Téléjournal, over 20 million viewers).
3. Visit to Sainte Anne, where we were welcomed hosted by the Mayor, Garcin Balsa, a well known Creole man of the party of the Independence movement (Indépendentistes). This very original man has initiated a series of ecological measures; and it was on the pier that we met the first environmental policeman ("police écologique") in our lives; and we joked with him about that. At the next morning, at 8 o’clock already, the most important member of the Martinique executive body visited the "sun21", Alfred Marie-Jeanne, the President of the "Conseil Général”, a similar personality, equally witty and modest and aware of the urgent ecological needs of this ecologically burdened and stressed island – one symptom is the constant flow of heavy car traffic, from the morning until the evening – quite a shock after one month not having seen a single car.
4. A reception — organized by sailor friends of Michel with leading town and harbor officials, also with nautical business people — was the main event. For that occasion the boat was docked at the entrance of the port. We used every opportunity to describe the huge potential of such a big harbor: If every ship had an own solar installation the 1200 boats would form a huge solar power plant that could feed the surplus electricity into the electric grid. In the evening, we were invited by the town for dinner and received the sailor medal of Le Marin from the Deputy Mayor. On 7 February, the team of Swiss TV ("Mensch, Technik, Wissenschaft") arrived, the beginning of two days of making a film that will be shown in March. They left us just now, on late Sunday evening. Tomorrow the journey goes on.