Iles a Cabrits to Guadeloupe, 30 December 2013, 16.18.36N 61.47.96W

David Batten
Fri 3 Jan 2014 22:45
It was a somewhat disturbed night in Iles a Cabrits, as just before turning in, the Skipper’s final check up showed Alcedo becoming a little matey with an Austrian MV that was anchored when we arrived.  The Doberman on board was getting very excited and the owners wife more than a little anxious, so we re-anchored in the dark in what seemed like the middle of nowhere but far enough away not to trouble the neighbours.  It was quite windy and a little rough, so we set the anchor alarm and the skipper’s wife slept in the saloon for ease of lookout.  All was well, but it was not conducive to a prolonged stay, so we left for Guadeloupe after breakfast.
We had a great sail, doing 9 to 11 knots with the wind just forward of the beam, to the southern end of Guadeloupe, when the wind became more variable.  During one of the motoring phases, the skipper’s wife decided it was a good opportunity to get the fishing gear organised, just so it was ready for action.  So, the recommended lure, some other flashy green and yellow things, a piece of wire line and 100 feet of line were connected and trailed off the stern, assuming that nothing would happen as usual.  Within half an hour, the wind got up again, the boat took off and the skipper announced we had a fish. Skipper’s mate said ”rubbish we have just increased our speed”, but sure enough, the skipper pulled in a lovely fish that looked a bit like a huge mackerel.  We have never caught anything other than a minute red mullet before, so chaos ensued with the boat roaring off at 9 knots and the skipper squealing like a school girls because he hates dealing with fish and birds and anything to do with blood and guts and the fish is jumping around on the end of the line on the after deck.  So it has to beheaded pronto by the skipper’s wife wielding a large kitchen knife, who is also yelling that the skipper should deal with the boat while she deals with the fish.  Fish dead, blood rinsed off the after deck and the boat under control, there then ensues a conversation about ciguatera, where it is most likely to occur (Guadeloupe and Northwards) and which fish are edible and which are likely to have ciguatera and so will give us severe cramps, nausea and serious neurological symptoms and possible death.  The head is overboard by then and we do not have enough information with which to properly identify the fish, so we take a photograph in the hopes that we may be able to identify it when we have an internet connection. 
What sort of Fish is it
We anchor in Deshaies, a lovely but windy bay at the Northen end of Guadeloupe and improve the shinning hour by filleting the fish (what a mess, much more practice needed) and freezing the result and also making sure the water maker is working.
The Bay at Deshaies
The grand finale to this exciting day is a visit to the Jardin Botanica, a beautiful place, only a kilometre out of town, but up a steep hill so a better work out than we expected.  With lovely pathways through the most wonderful plantings of exotic trees, shrubs and flowers, an aviary of delightful and colourful parrots, flamingos and Macaws which seemed to be free ranging and orchids and humming birds, it is a heavenly place.
The Botanical Gardens at Deshaies
The Stream in the Garden
Orchid in the Botanical Garden
One of a number of Orchids
Another Orchid
Another Orchid
The Skipper's Wife is besoted about Parots
These parrots are fully fledged members of the “keep the tourists happy club”
More Proper Parrot Behaviour
More natural parrot behaviour
Very photogenic Macaw in the Gardens
A very handsome Macaw in the gardens
The Flamingos at Deshaies
And some Flamingos
David playing in the garden
And a juvenile Skipper
After a very happy time in the garden, we book in and clear customs in an internet cafe and shop in the local Spa.  Very French with lovely cheeses, decent coffee (very expensive), fizzy water and Ricard!
We have a fairly peaceful night with no dramas and as the weather is not brilliant, decide to push on to Antigua the next morning as we plan to send more time in Guadeloupe when we go South again.  We are also having trouble with internet connections, so the blog is likely to be late for a while.