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Date: 22 Dec 2006 21:14:57
Title: Happy Holidays from Les Saintes

Hello Friends                                    "15:52.4N 61:34.2W"
 
As you have guessed from the lack of blogs, we have been resting and testing the local produce (rum in particular !). We have also done a fair amount of cleaning of us, Blue Sky, clothing - and the bedding, which was beginning to acquire the patina of a well-loved barbour jacket...
 
We have rigged dinghy davits, slung under the arch, but if we want to lift the outboard in situ we will have to strengthen the poles. A job for next week. The clew of the Kemp spinnaker has been repaired and we've upgraded the solar panels fuse which blew, suggesting that we're getting full solar output.
 
Guadeloupe ('Gwada' to the locals) has plenty of local colour together with the benefits of French influence - so good infrastructure, good shopping, good chandleries etc. We checked out the market in Point a Pitre, mostly specialising in spices and rum punches for the tourists...
 
 
On Wednesday we sailed south to Les Saintes, a group of small islands to the south of the west 'wing' of Guadeloupe. We saw waterspouts on the way across under a dark squall, but they were far enough away for safety, though the system helped us across at more than 8 knots for most of the way, so we managed to arrive and anchor just before nightfall after a satisfying sail.
 
Yesterday (21 Dec) was George & Michael's first Civil Partnership anniversary and Michael's 50th birthday. The planned fun was slightly curtailed by Michael's morning swim being marred by a close encounter with a jellyfish. This particular jellyfish was not identified but was spectacularly venomous, causing sufficient pain to produce audible squeaks from the skipper 6 hours after the attack as the nematocysts fired in sequence, causing spasms. Anyway, things seem to be mending now and yesterday I managed a smile for lunch as the Carib lager seemed to help.
 
 
(note new dinghy davits)
 
Thanks to all those who emailed greetings for the anniversaries. Due to the jellyfish incident, I didn't leave the satphone on as I didn't feel conversational for most of the day, sorry!
 
Today we had a great short sail, checking out another anchorage for morning coffee then beating up to the eastern end of Les Saintes just for the fun of it. Here's a pic of Dominica just 14 miles to the south, which I guess we'll visit later in the season.
 
 
The trip upwind was worth it as we are now tucked into an idyllic bay on the eastern tip of the islands. There is a narrow and to be honest rather dodgy entrance with dangerous rocks, but with 2 pairs of eyes on the bow, George on plotter and much care, we made it in safely. The lagoon inside is ringed by unspoilt hillsides, grazed by the local wild goats and palm-fringed white beaches, one of which has a few palm leaf sunshades but no other development.
 
Here's a view out to the open sea (not the entrance we came in by though - that was a little bit wider). This one lets the trade winds through to keep the wind generator going and the drinks cool. You will have realised by now that despite jellyfish, we are having a rather good time.
 
 
So while we're enjoying ourselves here, we hope that all our family and friends enjoy Christmas and the Holidays, wherever you are.
 
Very Best Wishes for the Holidays and a Happy New Year
from George, Michael and the crew.
 

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