From France to England
20 April 2013 | Falmouth Harbor, Antigua
Connie and Steve inspecting the fermentation process.
When we woke up in the anchorage of St. Louis, Marie Galante, yesterday morning with Steve and Connie, it was pouring rain. Our plans was for a day of snorkeling at Iles de la Petite Terra some 18 NM away, but the forecast was for rain most of the day. An unexpected twist.
Since Steve and Connie got here we have dined out at French Restaurants in Guadaloupe and Iles des Saintes, stuffed ourselves with pate' and French cheese on the boat as well as a gourmet duck breast dinner with orange sauce and enjoyed French wine from both the bottle and box! We have also found time for some good snorkel experiences, including swimming around in the anchorage of The Saints with a dolphin and her baby. Oh, and we got in the obligatory hike to the local Fort and museum, got in and out of every tourist shop in Bourg de Saintes and rented a car for touring Marie Galante.
Marie Galante is a pretty laid back island and one of the few left in the Caribbean that still has an economy based on sugar cane. The harvesting as now done with big farm equipment that slows down driving around the island. They still have 3 big active rum distilleries as well as a pure cane sugar factory.
We visited the Bellevue Distillery and checked out the production process, which is very simple.....crush the cane, let the juice sit around for a short week to ferment into alcohol, distill and stick the juice with a little water into an oak barrel for a few years and voila.........you have Rhum. Amazingly, they let us wander around inside a factory with spinning fly wheels and steam coming out of pipes unattended - we almost pushed some of the controls just to see if we could help them speed up the process.
Anyway, back to yesterday morning. After sitting around in the rain for 3 or 4 hours reviewing a forecast that was supposed to build to 25+ knots we decided to skedaddle to Antiqua, 84 NM away. After motoring along in the mist for a few hours the wind came a little earlier than expected with some most interesting squalls to keep us on our toes - wind stayed in the 18 - 22 knot range except on the front of the numerous downpours where it would build to the high 20's and low 30's. We finally made it into Falmouth Harbor, Antigua and got the anchor down at 11 PM during a major squall that felt like hail! Nothing like coming into a crowded anchorage at night with hardly any visibility finding a spot to drop the hook! We had a cup of that Bellevue Rhum before hitting the hay.