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Some of our readers may have gathered that Rebecca and I have this almost uncontrollable urge to climb the highest hill in our vicinity. While we haven’t managed to summit the tallest peak on every island that we’ve visited, we’ve come close. The highest point in Martinique is the famed Mount Pelée. Not only did we make it to the top of that peak earlier this year, we made plans to climb it again on Monday with our new friends, Jane and Ritchie on the catamaran Panthera.

Jane and Ritchie are a couple of cool Canadians cruising on a nice Leopard cat, and they’ve got a lot of beautiful pics on their website. Check out the site, and while you’re there, give them a comment to say Hi!

While climbing Pelée does do a lot to satisfy our hill-climbing urges, there is a very pointy and imposing piece of rock that we’ve been staring at ever since we arrived in Martinique. Diamond Rock, just west of St. Anne, has an amazing history, and it’s been calling to us, every day that we’ve been here saying, “Come climb me, you can do it!


Sailing past Diamond Rock on ZTC in 2012

You may recall me having already written about climbing a Diamond Rock. Well, it’s true, we did, twice as a matter fact, but in both those cases, I was referring to another small island of the same name, located just north of Grenada, close to Kick ‘Em Jenny, the underwater volcano. You can read about, and see pics from those epic excursions, here and here. And yes, I already commented on the apparent lack of creativity when it comes to naming islands and bays.


Diamond Rock, Martinique, 176m high


Diamond Rock, Grenada, 205m high

Anyway, the Diamond Rock just off the southwest corner of Martinique has quite a storied history. Apparently, in the early 1800s, the island was actually commissioned as a ship by the British Navy. You read that right, it was designated as a stone frigate, and named the HMS Diamond Rock. Crazy, right? I had never heard of such a thing, but if you check out the Wikipedia page, you can read all about that, along with the history of the island and its military significance.


The Battle of Diamond Rock


Google Maps even lists it as the HMS Diamond Rock!

Knowing that the British managed to get cannons up on top of the rock, even if it was with some difficulty, the island must be climbable. I’ve yet to find anyone who has done it though, or find any reports of it.

Chris Doyle, author of the excellent The Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands, told me that there is an account of someone climbing the island in the book A Cruising Guide to the Caribbean and the Bahamas, written by JC Hart & WT Stone. Since we use Chris Doyle’s guides, I don’t have a copy of that one, and thus have no idea what was written. If you have a copy of this book in your possession, please let me know. I’d love to know what it says.


Raising a cannon up to the island

Here’s what I do know. We’d need to arrange transportation out to the rock, because it’s way too far to go in the dinghy. I also suspect we’d be swimming or wading to shore like we did when we climbed the other Diamond Rock. The language barrier here increases the difficulty in making arrangements to do this, but who knows, maybe we could pull it off. I’ve also heard rumors that the island is infested with snakes. That should make climbing it even more exciting, don’t you think?


Do you see any snakes up there?

Although actually getting to shore on the island isn’t common, or perhaps even possible, Diamond Rock is a popular dive site. In fact, our friend Steve Bennet from Uncommon Caribbean wrote that there’s actually a cave that runs underneath the island, and that experienced SCUBA divers can swim from one side to the other. While climbing a snake infested rock doesn’t bother me too much, diving in a cave like that is super scary, and way too hardcore!

Will anything come of this? Maybe, and maybe not. Regardless, it’s good to dream. We have a lot of exciting plans in the works, and they’re what keep us going. I hope you too have some big plans to keep you excited.


Our view at night


  1. From a certain angle we think it looks like Darth Vader. Look forward to reading about it when you guys make it to the top!

  2. So wait, the island is infested with snakes? What do they eat? Climbers? 🙂

    From reading your blog, I know you guys are not really “what if” fans, but do you plan for different scenarios when hiking and climbing something like this? Such as packing first aid equipment, a radio, or parachutes for base jumping? Just curious.

    • Actually, when it comes to hiking, I very much am a “what if” guy. It must be my boyscout background. If we’re doing a serious hike, I normally have 1 or 2 methods of (proposed – they may not work in the jungle) communication, first aid, knife, and a even fire starting device. This is in addition to water and snacks. I’ve also been known to bring rope if I think they’ll be some sketchy climbing, and we’ve had to use it here and there too.

      As for the snakes, I actually just had a conversation about them with a friend. Because most of the islands here have mongoose, there are very few, if any, snakes. We saw 1 snake, a tiny tree boa, on the other Diamond Rock, and none anywhere else. My guess is that there are no mongoose on either of these rocks/islands. The only exception to the snake thing is Statia. There are a lot of non-poisonous snakes there. We came across a bunch while hiking The Quill.

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