Top of Left Island
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Sat 11 Apr 2009 22:31
Day One exploring Guadeloupe
Easter Saturday. Whilst Bear was on one of his frequent trips to the capitainerie to see if my passport had arrived, the lady in reception told him about one of the biggest events on Guadeloupe - a crab fest at Morne-a-l'Eau. Nothing for it but to hire a car and take me out. He came back to report and went to investigate cars. A little Fiat from Jumbo was cheaper for four days hire than three from Hertz. We had said we would start exploring on Sunday, so when Bear came back with the car keys, we jumped to it, got a picnic ready and off we went by 10:30. We drew a line across each island dividing them in two to make a four day plan.
We left the main road en route to Point Allegre at the top of Basse Terre Island. I saw a sign to Bear's Village and had to get a picture of Bear under it. Then we saw a sign to a nursery school in the Ann Geddes style of babies in fancy dress, delighted to see Bee's. Then we passed the Rhum Museum near Bellevue.
We drove to the museum for this photo, but as we had had such a fantastic time in Mount Gay Rum, Barbados didn't feel the need to go in. I am delighted to see a crab used in their Bologne Rhum advertisement.
Off again en route to Sainte-Rose which is a little fishing town on the east coast. We parked at the top by the small town square, market and took a short cut through the graveyard to get down to the busy sea front.
It was amazing to see a vista that included coconut trees, sea, frigate birds and graves. At first we thought the black and white graves odd, but guess it is a Breton design. The middle one bottom row - I will not like to offend anyone by repeating that Bear said That one has escaped - but I did find myself answering "Maybe just for the day". Sadly just like any graveyard anywhere in the world there is neglect, with a few beautifully maintained of all ages but it was a first to us to see conch shells as a main feature. Being Easter we spent a half an hour wandering through the rows in quiet reflection.
We stopped for our picnic on this beach at Plage de Cluny. Even in the middle of the day it was fairly people-less.
Our little Fiat Panda, map and Bear joining a band.
Another unique sight for us was seeing cow number 9253 sitting admiring the view over Vue de Gadet.
No day is complete without a couple for the "one careful owner" series at a place called Ferry.
Bear found this and said You can tell we are in a hot country because even the trees have fans. "Yes Dear". A tree climber that found an aloe.
The anchorage at Deshaies (pronounced Day Hay). Evidence of storm damage called Major and the front showing a rocky beach. No dinghy pontoon so only landing is on the other side of the bay by breakwater.
In the Chris Doyle Guide: "Deshaies is a picturesque fishing village near the north end of Guadeloupe's west coast. Attractions here include a tropical river and a spectacular botanical garden. Deshaies is set in a deep, well protected bay surrounded by hills and mountains. A breakwater forms a small harbour for small fishing boats close to the entrance to the river. A ferry terminal has been built on to the breakwater itself. Entry is via the middle of the bay to the anchorage. Guadeloupe acts as a giant windscoop to the north, especially when the wind is east or south-east. Deshaies is a vent in this system and the winds here can howl in an alarming manor, leading you to believe conditions outside are much worse than they are." It started to rain on us so we wended our way back via the D23 that cuts the island in two stopping off at the Parc des Mamelles (own blog).
We had been told by another boat "you don't want to be driving here at night". That's rubbish - compared to Barbados, St Lucia and Dominica, the roads here are well maintained, few potholes and quite a lot are well lit. They still drive here like the French and park by Braille.
ALL IN ALL a packed day with lots to see. Mountainous island in sunshine and a bit of rain - a good day out.