Mysterious holes...

Mysterious Holes Above Anse Turin, Martinique

Follow the seaside road that runs south from the historic town of Saint-Pierre on Martinique’s northern Caribbean coast and you’ll soon encounter a narrow stretch of beach known as Anse Turin. Beautifully dark volcanic sands run right up to the road. A thin line of trees offer a modicum of shade. The water, an unreal amalgam of blues.

Looking out on the water here, it’s so peaceful that you barely notice the cars whizzing by just a few paces away. Less easy to miss: the mysterious holes behind you…

Anse Turin Holes

You can see ’em in the photo running along the face of the rock wall above the coastal road and beach. Dozens of holes of varying sizes can be found here. Some form clusters that give sections of the wall a distinctly Swiss cheese character.

During my earliest visits to Martinique, I often wondered about the Anse Turin holes. What sort of supremely powerful/mutated bird or exotic animal could’ve carved out these rock homes, I thought. A woodpecker with a metal beak? Huge land crabs with steel claws?

Umm… no.

As it turns out, these mysterious holes were caused by something much less strange. Something not mutated, though certainly powerful in its time…

The British Royal Navy

Look back in the annals of the various wars between France and Great Britain. In them, you’ll find that there are several different skirmishes carrying the title “Battle of Martinique.” All were fought between 1759 and 1809. The 50-year stretch saw the two European powers clash in the Caribbean as part of at least four different wars. The Seven Years War, the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars.

These were contentious times, to be sure, with Martinique and her famed capital city of the age, Saint-Pierre, a top strategic prize. Repeated British attempts at taking the city resulted in the mysterious holes at Anse Turin. They were caused by the scores of British cannon balls fired upon the area. Most of them likely date to a failed invasion attempt in 1759 during the Seven Years War.

For history buffs exploring the ruins up the road in Saint-Pierre stemming from the famous eruption of Mt. Pelée in 1902, a stop at Anse Turin to check out these mysterious holes only adds to Martinique’s historic allure.

As a bonus, you get to refresh yourself in the cool, calm waters of one of Martinique’s nicest beaches…

Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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