Quadeloupe and the Saintes
11 February 2010 | Deshaise, Anse a' la Barque, Ilse Des saintes
The sail to Guadeloupe was yet another wonderful and safe passage. About 40 miles with the wind on a tight reach but fairly light so we were power sailing, that is sails up with the engine running in gear giving us an extra boost.
Guadeloupe is by far the largest of the islands we've visited so far. We dropped the anchor in Deshaies, Day-ah, and called it a day. Once again a chance for that elusive green flash, with nothing but ocean behind us and no clouds we were hopeful, but such was not to be, sorry Alice maybe next time, just to rub it in, ha ha!
The next morning we checked with customs and immigration and then tried to rent a car. No such luck for the Smithies so we decided, ah that is Alice decided, we should visit the Jardin Botanique de Deshaies gardens on the top of the hill behind the village. We hiked up, and up and up and although the total distance walked was probably no more than a mile or two the vertical was 500 feet. That may not sound like a lot but for us ole fogies putting one foot in front of the other up, around a corner and up some more and more; whew! The hike was worth it, the gardens were unbelievable. Well over a thousand species of plants with everything from cactus to orchids. Varieties of trees, palms and very bazaar looking plants that even a guy like me was very impressed. After the walking through the gardens we stopped in the restaurant and ordered guess what, ice cream for lunch!! Three scopes each, sitting looking out over the Caribbean sea with Montserrat in the distance. Yup life is good on Lucky Bird!!
Having no car we decided to get out of dodge and head further south along the island's coastline. We were aware that by Friday there would be a very high probability of a strong northerly swell of 10 to 15 feet so we knew we had to find a safe harbor. Our plan was to sail around the southern end of the island and then east and north to the island's largest city Pointe a' Pitre. Guadeloupe is actually two islands separated by a mangrove channel. The islands look like a butterfly tilted to the left slightly. Well that plan didn't work. As we rounded the southern end the wind shifted and picked up to 20 - 25 knots right on our nose. So what do we do when we don't want to pound into a rough sea? We change course and in this case Isle des Saintes happened to be just 10 miles away and on a reasonably comfortable heading to the winds and building seas. The waves were now 5 feet and breaking, but with our new enclosure we just laughed at the spray, Ha Ha, we laugh at you spray. We were cozy in our enclosure as Lucky Bird worked her way south.
We are here in the Saintes and will probably explore for the next few days then we'll be off to Dominica, more mountains, rain forests, huge waterfalls and great sailing.