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A daylight passing of Mt Pelee

Daylight passing Mount Pelee

Sailing along the northwest coast of the Caribbean island of Martinique offers panoramic views of one of the world's most famous active volcanoes. Mount Pelée most recently erupted in 1932, but it was the eruption in 1902 that made it infamous. The 1902 eruption destroyed the island's historic capital city of St.-Pierre and claimed the lives of most of its 30,000 residents. The most famous survivor was Louis-Auguste Cyparis, who was imprisoned in the (still-standing) jail cell that saved his life. He went on to travel with the Barnum & Bailey circus as "the man who lived through Doomsday."

As they sail around Mt. Pelée, passengers have the chance to spot other natural and historic landmarks, including the ruins of St.-Pierre and nearby Le Carbet, the spot where Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1502. Le Carbet is also where the famed French artist Paul Gauguin later lived and worked before he settled in the South Pacific. 

Smaller, but no less scenic, volcanoes called the Carbet Mountains stand south of Mt. Pelée, while on a cruise around this part of Martinique passengers can catch glimpses of the many black-sand beaches that have been carved from the volcanic coastline by the perpetual lapping of the Caribbean Sea.