9th - 13th February
Our sail from
Martinique to Les Saintes off Guadeloupe totalled 71nm and took us just over 12
hours. With our early start we did just manage to get our anchor dropped before
dark but it was already dusk as we approached the large anchorage of "Anse
Galet" off the island of "Terre de Haut" in Les Saintes.
It was a lively
upwind sail that took us from the top of Martinique along the western coast of
the beautiful island of Dominica and across to the archipelago off Guadeloupe.
We had about
20kts of wind for much of the passage and saw a lot of rain off the top of
Martinique and again as we reached the top end of Dominica which served us up
some absolutely stunning double rainbows. It was with a bit of a heavy heart
that we sailed past Dominica without stopping. We would love to visit the
island and the interior is meant to be breathtaking; certainly what we could
see from the coast looked incredible. Luscious green rainforest and mountainous
peaks. As Dominica does not belong to the French islands though we need to make
arrangements with an agent for checking-in prior to arrival and as the covid
regulations are different to those of the French islands it made more sense to
bypass Dominica for the time being and plan to visit at a later stage. I really
hope we do. It looks stunning.
Les Saintes did
not disappoint however, we had 4 nights anchored in the picturesque, if rather
bouncy, anchorage there! We saw some pretty windy conditions which accounted
for much of the rocking and rolling that we experienced but an open channel to
the north let in quite a swell and regular ferry traffic also contributed.
There was a large field of mooring buoys taking up the prime area in front of
the town; which were not expensive to be fair but we don't tend to use mooring
buoys if we can possibly anchor so we were probably more than half a mile
across from the town where we had our anchor down. This provided Jamie with
some serious excercise when it came to rowing our little dinghy ashore! The
first trip we took ashore we just rowed to a small beach a couple of hundred
metres away where we pulled our dinghy up on the sand and walked into the town
to complete our checking-in formalities for Guadeloupe. A couple of days later
we went ashore again but there was more surf on the nearby beach due to the
strong winds so we set off across the anchorage towards the town with Jamie
rowing like a Cambridge Blue! The wind and current were so strong that I'm
pretty certain we were paddling on the spot for much of it but we eventually
made it ashore and tied to one of the little piers that services the town of
Terre de Haut.
It was such a
pretty place and we really enjoyed exploring the quaint little town with
brightly painted buildings and little restaurants backing straight onto the
waterfront. We walked across the island to the windswept beach on the far side
where we attempted to snorkel beyond the surf before eating our picnic lunch on
one of the bench-tables provided under the shade of the palm trees and watched
as the pelicans dove head-first into the bay and expertly fished their lunch
from the clear blue waters.
It was on one of
our walks back from town that Jamie spotted a 2ft long Iguana disappearing off
into a tree. I didn't manage to catch a glimpse of it but I heard the sound of
it moving through the undergrowth and based on what I heard I have no reason to
question it's size!! We also saw several local cats each of which looked like
pedigree breeds and pampered pets - not a scruffy stray in sight!
It really was a
very beautiful place but it definitely had a "boutique" resort feel
to it - much as we enjoyed walking around most of the establishments were a
little beyond the reach of our modest cruising budget so we didn't sit in any
of the beachfront bars or restaurants. We were quite taken with a spot near the
beach where some of the local men were playing dominoes and had their music
playing. We bought some bottles of beer from the supermarket opposite and went
and found a spot on the sand in the shade of a beached fishing boat and enjoyed
a couple of hours in our own beachfront bar with local music and cool beers.
During our stay
off Terre de Haut we had a day on-board organising Hamble Warrior a bit and
having a good clean and tidy up. Jamie hadn't really organised his workshop
properly since our Atlantic crossing and there was a bit of a pile of
"things to be fixed" accumulating so he spent some time sorting those
out and I had a good clean. It was very satisfying to have Hamble Warrior tidy
and "ship shape" again although this type of "housework"
isn't without a little risk when you are crawling around on your hands and
knees in a pitching anchorage; I was a little unlucky to end up with the toilet
seat slamming shut on my head as I tried to clean around it! It's not all
glamour this boatlife!
enjoyable few days we set off for a very short sail around the corner to the
neighbouring island of Terre de bas and the pretty little anchorage of
"Anse Fielding". As soon as we sailed into this protected little spot
we could feel the wind disappear and the boats all lay at odd angles to each
other; some seemingly lying to a current running through the anchorage. I went
up on the bow to release the anchor ready to drop it while Jamie circled
between the boats looking for a spot suitable to drop. Before we had even begun
to drop the anchor one of the boatowners suddenly appeared in his cockpit
gesturing wildly with his arms and yelling that "with all this space why
anchor near me"?!!! This was odd for 2 reasons; firstly because we hadn't
actually started to anchor yet and secondly in the reasonably limited space if
we HAD dropped our anchor near his boat then by the time we had let out 30
metres of chain we would be on the other side of the bay anyway! But I didn't
really have time to say anything other than to yell "I haven't started
yet" before he threw his hands up in disgust and disappeared back down
below decks. We never saw him on deck again after that and the next day he left
early. Friendly lot these sailor folk!!! I'm sure we will see him again
somewhere; I'll make sure I get close enough to say "Hello" every
time I do!
managed to get our anchor well set in a perfect spot and we took the dinghy ashore
to land on the small beach and take a walk across the island. We walked through
a small residential area of beautiful brightly coloured houses with a little
park; everyone we saw waved "bonjour". We had just reached the bay on
the windward side of the island where there are a couple of local restaraunts
when a proper squall of wind and torrential rain enveloped the island and we
raced back to the anchorage in driving rain to check on Hamble Warrior.
Needless to say by the time we got back the worst of the rain had passed and
Warrior lay peacefully bobbing on her anchor. We walked up to the top of the
hill over-looking Anse Fielding and sat watching the sun go down in a little
wooden shelter with a picnic table surrounded by small goats grazing on the hillside.
It was a lovely peaceful spot to watch Warrior and her neighbours despite being
a bit soggy after our dowsing!