....to the safe Harbour of Pointe-a-Pitre 16 13.48 N 061 32.05W

Paul Downie
Thu 20 Mar 2008 23:57
Malendure Beach anchorage is a lovely place, which we have grown to love - everything we need is here, a beach with small lively bar/snack area and dive shacks, a supermarket and car hire within 10mins walk, and the COUSTEAU RESERVE of Pigeon Island, a diver's paradise.
We have seen some amazing underwater sights....it appears to be the mating season for many fish species, in particular we see male Sargeant Majors fiercely guarding dark-blue eggs that the female has smeared on a rock surface and pretty blue Trunkfish mating in quite an ecstatic fashion!

Paul has also dived the Franjack wreck with Archipelago Plongee, but afterwards had very mild decompression symptoms, so as a precaution went back to the dive shack for a dose of oxygen - before he knew it he was on his back in a Helicopter flying low around the coast to the main Hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre at the centre of the Island. This meant that I, Rosie, had to return to Barada by dinghy on my own for the night - but all was well and early next morning I rented a car and drove across the mountains and rainforest to pickup Paul from the Hospital. The Dr advised Paul not to dive for a week as a safety measure. Therefore, change of plan, we hired a car and visited the mountainous region of Basse Terre: the picturesque waterfall 'Cascade aux Ecrevisses' in the rainforest; the Volcano Soufriere where Paul made it to the summit at 1,467m and we enjoyed a bathe in the natural pool of warm thermal waters on the way back down; the Chutes du Carbet with waterfalls at 3 levels and the highest in the Carib. We also visited coastal villages and got lost in the pretty countryside lanes; we looked around the workings of 'Damoiseau' Rum Distillery, set amongst fields of sugar cane, which was very interesting and flavoursome. The delightful small Humming Birds are a joy to watch and Bananaquits, yellow and black finchlike nectar feeders enjoy steeling the sugar from sugar bowls in Cafes. Guadeloupe is a beautiful island, not generally frequented by the English and not on a direct flight route from the UK (direct from Paris) but we would thoroughly recommend it as a holiday destination with variety.

Then on Wednesday morning we awoke to an onshore swell making it difficult to get ashore to return the hire car - a yachtie neighbour had mentioned an approaching northerly swell up to 14-18'. We found the dinghy dock had been dismantled and waves were crashing onto the shore and rocks, but Paul managed to get from Tinker onto a dive boat at the end of the dive-pier and I went back to Barada. At anchor there was just a gentle roll.
We later listened to Montserrat local radio news at 1800, which reported that the more northerly islands had been badly affected by the northerly swell with all ferries cancelled and locally a dinghy had not been able to return to its yacht due to the size of the surf on the shore. The forecast confirmed worsening conditions through to Sunday with accompanied high winds. We had hoped to weather the swell at Malendure, but for safety immediately decided to up-anchor and motor-sail overnight down the west coast of Guadeloupe, around the south coast and up to the centre of the Island to the protected southerly Harbour at Pointe-a-Pitre, the Capital.
We arrived at 1005 this morning and are now anchored near the entrance to the Marina 'Bas du Fort' following a 15 hour journey, half of which was against the wind and waves so very slow-going in Barada but with a nearly full moon, which is always a bonus. We have had a sleep and the anchorage is very calm, like a millpond though overcast and rainy.

We will add some pictures in the next day or two so watch this space. HAPPY EASTER to you all...Paul & Rosie