Montserrat to Guadeloupe

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Tue 20 May 2008 13:31

Saturday 17th May

So, having left the angry shouting behind us, we headed off  down the north coast rather than going all the way round the south of Montserrat.  As we motor sailed along the coast we could see the old airport which had been partly covered by lava and had been abandoned. We can also see Antigua away to the north and still just see Nevis behind us.  We can sail a direct course towards Deshaies our destination on Guadeloupe some 42 miles away.



                             Lava & Ash flows                                                                  Lush green hills and lava flows. Quite a contrast!                                                                                  



                                                             Top of the volcano, Gallway’s Soufriere                               


It’s a great sail and as we approach Guadeloupe, the wind begins to allow us to ease the sheets a bit and we are making good time.  We have the fishing rod out but the fish know better and stay away.


As we get closer to the bay of Deshaies (pronounced Day Hay) the wind suddenly swings round 90 degrees and is coming from the west!  We can still sail the course and make directly into the bay dropping the anchor at 16.45.



                    A gray day arriving in Deshaies                                                         Very happy skipper now the sun has come out!!


The wind in the bay is quite flukey and we re-anchor so as not to be too close to a couple of other boats.  We can already see two boats who have swung into each other.  We pick a nice clear spot but then a large Dutch boat comes and drops their anchor almost on our stern.  Why DO they do that?  We start the generator on the sugar scoop and they decide to move away.  Serves them right!


We will stay here until Monday as customs are closed on Sunday and we need to clear in before we move on down the coast.


Monday 19th May

Deshaies is a pleasant enough place but there is no beach and the town is quite small.  There are quite a few nice restaurants and we ate in one of them with the waves coming right up to the edge of the restaurant.


We walk up the hill to the customs office and fill in the necessary paperwork which is minimal as Guadeloupe is French and therefore part of the EU.  Bought some petrol for the generator , did a quick shop in the supermarket and then went back to the boat.  We are only going 9 miles down the coast to Pigeon Island so there is no great hurry.  We depart at 13.15 just as a rain squall sweeps down from the hills and blots out the bay.  We think we have escaped but the next one gives us a good soaking.  We drop anchor in the bay which is part of the Jacques Cousteau National Park but the water is not that clear and the beach is dark sand with a road right behind it so we don’t bother going ashore.



                                                  Sunset at Pigeon Island Anchorage. The cloud even looks like a pigeon (-ish)


Tuesday 20th May

We are getting low on water now and there is a marina shown in the pilot book just a few miles down the coast beyond Basse-Terre.  The pilot book warns us that it was badly hit by a hurricane and the entrance is now difficult as some of the boulders from the outer wall were washed into the main channel.  We decide to anchor off the marina called Marina De Riviere Sens and nip ashore in the dinghy.  I’m glad we did because we find the marina a very depressing place (filthy scummy water and a bit smelly) and indeed the entrance is filled with rocks.  We decide we will wait until we get to the Saints to fill our water tanks and quickly return to the boat.



   The marina looks quite nice from a distance at dusk!!!                                                             Cool sunset though!


In the evening most of the townspeople seem to come out either to ride bicycles, swim off the beach or go running along the sea front.  Never seen anything quite like it and they are still running, cycling and swimming well after it gets dark.  Must be something to do with being French?!  Perhaps they are all in training for the Tour De France.  It’s a rolly old anchorage and it rains on and off all night.  We really should have incorporated some sort of rain catching device in our bimini design and then we would have plenty of water.  Oh well, buckets will have to do for now.