Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Fri 13 Mar 2015 18:17
Alex and co. and other grandparents have been on the boat and left last Sunday to sail southwards to Les Saintes where they have had a good week swimming, snorkelling and exploring - they hired an electric car one day ( the island only has scooters or electric cars and apparently Sam was more excited than Dan. As I write this they are on their way back north having stopped over at Pigeon Island for a couple of nights to I am sure hopefully swim with turtles.
At the beginning of this week we still had our friend with us and so on Sunday in spite of the wet cloudy weather we decided we'd go and try and climb the volcano on the southern end of the island. We had seen this in glorious sunshine when we had sailed past. We have hired a car for the week but it was a 2 hour drive to get there as the road down the west coast is very twisty and plenty of traffic on it with French holiday makers as well as the local traffic. The road went someway up the volcano so we were not starting from the very bottom. Initially the cobbled path goes through rain forest and then all of a sudden this disappears and you are on a very stony, muddy path through low scrub and as we got higher apart from the drizzle it got very windy and cold and by the time we were near the top the visibility was virtually nil. We got as far as a noisy steaming vent and a fenced off area which again was smoking but you couldn't really see down into it. Unfortunately we couldn't see anything else around us so have no real idea of what was there. They are apparently monitoring the activity of this volcano and we did see one of the monitors. So we had our lunch on top and then went down still pretty damp and misty and pretty steep in parts and we were amazed as people still going up (already 3.00pm) mostly youngsters and some of the locals were in interesting attire or lack of for quite a strenuous walk/climb. There was a hot pool at the bottom but as getting late and it didn't feel that warm we decided against a dip as knew it would take us couple hours to get back.
As the next day was our friends last day we thought we'd go and visit Guadeloupes highest waterfall. Again a longish drive but we went over the route traversee over the top ( not great views as the cloud was down again) to the eastern side of the island. Here there is a dual carriageway going north to south so a much faster road once you are over the top. More rainforest but not raining this time and a fairly easy path to see the first waterfall. We then decided we would like to see the higher waterfall so set off to walk up a pretty steep and wet path but as we hadn't got a map with us we really weren't sure how far to the waterfall so after about 3/4 hr I gave up, partly because I was wearing a borrowed pair of sandals which were rubbing as my walking sandals had given up on the volcano the previous day and also I was pretty tired from the previous day's efforts. The men carried on but in the end they never got to the waterfall because they came to a ravine which was very wet and slippery and they would have had to clamber down and then up the other side and actually couldn't see anything as the mist was down again. So two good days exercise but we do believe we have now done rainforests, waterfalls and at least got up one volcano even if we didn't quite see the crater.
On Tuesday John was flying back to the UK so we took him to Pointe Pitre which is the narrow bit between the two halves of the butterfly shaped Island. This is where we arrived from Dominica and spent some time in the marina - now two weeks ago. A visit was made to the chandlery as we needed a new bilge pump and then we had lunch in The Creperie - savoury to start and then desert crepes plus cider. Very yummy, very uncaribbean but we are after all on a French island. Before we dropped him at the airport we drove north up the west side of the east part of the island to check out a harbour which we could possibly leave from to give us a better angle on the wind for Antigua. Unlike the west wing of the island which is mountainous volcanic and rainforest the east part of the wing is low and flat and made from coral and has sugar plantations everywhere but again a lot of traffic. There is a canal between the two wings from Pointe Pitre but sadly it has been closed for a while - we think due to bridges needing repair according to the sailing bible Doyle. If open this would enable a quick passage northwards.
So for the rest of the week since John left we have caught up with a lot of emails, administration, our diaries and booked our flights back to the UK from Antigua on the 12th May. Generally relaxed and read and had a couple of early morning walks along a beach not far but still a drive from the town. We've sampled several of the restaurants in the town, checked out the Spar so we can revictual the boat before we head north as well as buying food for general consumption. It has felt very strange being back on dry land and we haven't found the driving around easy - partly the car we hired and the roads but we are out of practice!
Tomorrow Saturday we take over the boat again and Alex and co. head with other grandparents to another cottage but this time on the SE corner of the eastern wing of the island by the beach. We are not sure what we shall do or where we shall go for the week until next Saturday when we are together again to continue sailing and the rest of the adventure but it does give us an opportunity to check out what if anything is still in deep storage, what supplies we still have on board and a general sort plus we can plan where we are going for the next 6 weeks until we have to make landfall in Tortola BVI toward the end of April.