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Date: 07 May 2007 00:47:44
Title: Cock-a-hoop in Guadeloupe!

Position 15:52.0N 61:35.1W

 

And so after our brief visit to Montserrat, it was off to Guadeloupe. The forecast wasn’t great, not too windy but from the wrong direction, southeast, exactly where we wanted to go. Oops. Still, we couldn’t stay in Montserrat too much longer so off we went, down the west side of the island getting a good view of the destroyed capital, Plymouth, as we went. Fortunately, and unlike the day before, there wasn’t a great cloud of dust being blown our way from the volcano so the vacuum cleaner stayed in it’s box, but there was enough wind to make it impossible to sail where we wanted to go, which was Deshaies in the north of Guadeloupe. No matter, we thought, we’ll make landfall a bit further south…after a while it became apparent that “a bit further south” was likely to be Venezuela, as we couldn’t even make a southerly course never mind southeast. Oops again. The only bright spot in an otherwise horrible day was the sighting of a small sperm whale close to the boat. I say small, it was probably the length of our boat, but small by whale standards. He (or indeed, she) didn’t hang around long before diving into the deep, but what an impressive sight it was. To cut a long story short we managed to end up heading sort of in the direction of southern Guadeloupe before starting the engines and motoring for a few hours to Anse-a-la-Barque, which turned out to be a lovely little anchorage with no other boats in it. Splendid. Since we needed to arrive “officially” in Guadeloupe we set off again the following morning for Pointe-A-Pitre to do the formalities. This is the largest town in Guadeloupe, although not the capital (which is Basse-Terre) and since we had a decent mooring we decided to hire a car with the Malarkeys and have a look around the island. How different from the other Caribbean islands – good roads, European-like petrol stations (with U.K. prices), all very civilized, and I have to say a little bit dull. And grubby – what is it with the Frogs that they have to daub everything with graffiti? Still, the countryside was impressive, lots of rainforest and waterfalls to look at, picnic lunch by a river, very nice. We amused ourselves by visiting a botanical/zoological place which to my delight (as I was getting bored looking at plants and racoons, as you might imagine) had an aerial walkway up in the forest canopy. Especially interesting as Trevor from Malarkey suffers from vertigo. Fair play to him, he kept gamely on although he looked far from happy. We were hooked on with climbing harnesses and lifelines but it was all a bit wobbly, none more so than Trevor – here’s Tarzan himself putting a brave face on it:

 

 

After another day or so in Pointe-A-Pitre we decided to battle the weather again and had a very bumpy sail down to Les Saintes, a group of half a dozen islands off the southern tip of Guadeloupe – no whales this time but a very nice Tuna that fed the four of us for two days:

 

 

 Les Saintes, I should say, are lovely. We’re anchored off the main town, Bourg-des-Saintes, and it really is a great spot. Good snorkelling (and no doubt diving but too expensive) and walks – the piccie below is from the highest point on this particular island and it was a bloody hard walk let me tell you. Obviously we chose to do it at midday when it was really hot just to make it more fun…

 

 

The plan now is to check out of here tomorrow for the short trip to Dominica, where we plan to do yet more rainforesty stuff, and if I can find one, another bigger longer aerial walkway for Trevor now that he’s got the taste for them.

 

In case you’re wondering, I had to cheat a bit since we didn’t have time or an internet connection in Montserrat so the blog posted yesterday was actually sent from here, Les Saintes. Now you know.

 

The sun is now a very long way over the yardarm (whatever that is), and the locals appear to have stopped noisily celebrating the outcome of the French election, so I must away as it’s very definitely beer ’o’ clock. But before I go, explain this to me: how come, after all the wars that were fought over Caribbean Islands between ourselves and our French cousins, they ended up keeping theirs while we quite rightly handed ours back, only hanging on to one that later exploded? Answers on a postcard please to the usual address.


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