Friday, March 3, 2017
Guadeloupe – West Coast
What a difference a few hours sail makes. From the desperate situation for 4500 residents of Montserrat arriving in Guadeloupe is a quantum leap forward. 330,000 folks call Guadeloupe home. Our first port of call was Dehaies a deep fishing village at the northwest corner of the island. The anchor was dropped in 50 feet of water however the boats already anchored were pointing in every which direction in the bay. It wasn’t long before we were way to close to another boat so pulled 175 of anchor chain up off the bottom (love having a great windlass) and found a better location clear of everyone. We cleared in at Deshaies – a rather interesting situation where you find a small clothing boutique on the main street called Le Pelican and in one corner is a desktop computer where you fill in all your specific details and they print a copy for you and you leave! Nothing is checked, nothing verified. Amazing!
We found a little restaurant to celebrate St Valentines day with a lunch out. Red Snapper right off the grill – delicious. Maryse’s brochette de Mahi Mahi was unfortunately overdone – good thing we had a very nicely chilled Rose from Provence to enjoy.
Our next stop down the west coast was Pigeon Island – this island group was purchased by the Jacques Cousteau Society to protect this as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. We were not the only ones with the plan to snorkel here. Bus loads of tourists filled dozens and dozens of kayaks to paddle over from the mainland to the islands. The rest of the tourists piled on snorkel and dive boats to enjoy the waters and the reefs.
We took the dinghy over and tied up to a mooring ball and slipped into the water. The hour-long swim about did provide us with lots of fish and coral to enjoy – as it was rather late in the day most of the other swimmers had already made their way back to shore.
The following morning we planned a quick stop in Basse-Terre to check out a marina and make a reservation for next week. Marina Riviere Sens Sud Anchrage was a nicely protected place. We had no issues getting a reservation all set up.
Ambition was tied to one of 12 mooring balls (13 euros a night) at Ilet à Cabrit which is close enough to Bourg des Saintes to dinghy over but also far enough from all the other boats. One evening our friends on Island and Caffe Latte organized a beach BBQ dinner for a bunch of the Canadian boats . Michel was chef for the evening and did a great job cooking by headlamp! Much to our surprise Michel was also the evening’s entertainment as he brought out his guitar and an endless stream of music around a campfire. A super evening!
These islands are dotted with old forts and trails and Maryse and I took the opportunity to hike up to Fort Josephine. It was interesting as there is a concrete path the entire way up to the old fort structures, which were used up until 1908 as a prison! The views were spectacular.
We headed back to Guadeloupe and Marina Riviere Sens to clean up the boat and get ready for company - Michelle and Michel are stealing away for a little visit south.
A big surprise was the cost of the marina – 140 euros for 5 days at the dock including water and electricity (unfortunately both set to European standards ) we were not able to get the electricity to work even with the loaner transformer and the hose connections rendered ours useless – the little ship store fixed that with a new hose!
All is good on board!