15 58 700N 61 42 900W
14/1/14 Isles des Saintes - Guadaloupe
We sailed up to Riviere Sans and anchored off the beach with the marina entrance in sight. We took the dinghy into the marina to look for customs to check in, and on the way past the harbour walls Jez spotted a beautiful Iguana sunning himself on the rocks – another great photo opportunity and he kindly obliged by staying quite still for his portrait. Clearance into the country here is on a computer in a restaurant, shut of course on Sundays. So we had to wait for the following day, and another trip back into the Marina for the opening time stated on the restaurant door for clearance, but whilst the restaurant was open the clearance person wasn’t going to be there for another 2-3 hours. So we took the dinghy a mile or so up the coast to the town of Basse Terre, and a very helpful English speaking business owner took time out of his busy day to walk with us to see his friend at the customs office, waited whilst we completed the paperwork, and then showed us the way back, directing us to a car hire place. Unfortunately the car hire place no longer hired cars! We were directed to another, no cars available that day. Jez returned back to the boat to change the impeller on the generator, and Mum and I sought out the bus station and after asking down a never-ending line of buses we finally found the one that went to the closest village to the waterfalls. The bus driver phoned his friend to translate to us the journey was about an hour or so and that then when you reach the village you must get a taxi to the waterfalls and taxis are not usually easy to get in the village! AAGGH! By this time it was about 2pm, so we decided that the safest bet was to stay in town and do some shopping.
We sat in an empty bus shelter to eat our lunch, and Mum put her camera on the bench. We soon had a young man walk up behind us and make a bee line for the camera, luckily out of the corner of our eyes we had seen him and Mum grabbed it and put it around her neck just as he approached. We ate up and left quickly, realising we had just had a lucky escape. Close to the bus station was a lovely covered market with lots of fresh produce and some local rum punches, we were treated to a taster of each one before deciding which one to have. By the time we had got to the shops they had all closed for the afternoon! Feeling a little doomed that day we decided to head back to the boat and Jez came to collect us.
On the dinghy ride back we watched an Osprey dive into the water not far from the boat and emerge with a large fish in its talons! We sped along beneath him, watching as he flew off with his meal and this definitely made up for the unsuccessful trip into town. Jez had fixed the generator and we were back in operation on board too and could now top our batteries up, phew.
We sailed further up the coast to find a more picturesque anchorage, and just as the sun disappeared we arrived in a small bay called Anse la Barque, and anchored behind Pannikin who had made it there a couple of hours earlier! The following day we continued north to Deshaies, a small fishing village with a large protected bay (although the wind was howling through there) and we anchored and took the dinghy ashore. After a fabulous lunch we walked about 1.5km up a steep winding road to arrive at the Botanical Gardens (on the way we heard a rustle in the bushes and out came a tethered cow by the road!), and were rewarded with an afternoon stroll through amazing landscaped gardens with thousands of plant species and birds. We saw three different types of humming birds, in abundance here, parrots, flamingos and a very large butterfly which hovered like a hummingbird. We sat and had an icecream overlooking the spectacular coastline with Montserrat in view, and were visited by a red throated bullfinch who sat on the table and helped himself to the icecream lid!
Luckily the walk back was all down hill, and when we arrived back at Joy we discovered another yacht had anchored directly infront of us, way too close and possibly on top of our anchor. We thought we would keep an eye on him for now. After eating dinner I noticed a clonking sound on the bow and thought I would check out the anchor and the boat infront as the wind was picking up, I went forward and thought the yacht seemed even closer, and the noise coming up from the anchor chain wasn’t usual. By the time I had gone back to get Jez to take a look and we had both gone forward, the boat was almost upon us, they were dragging and about to hit us. After shouting at the occupants, one lady appeared from the cockpit and explained she was on her own as everyone else had gone ashore for a meal, and asked for help. We quickly got the dinghy re launched and whilst Mum and I hovered on the bow with fenders Jez collected the lady and raced ashore. They eventually found the captain and crew after going through the restaurants, and they came back to lift anchor whilst we were ready with engine on just incase they lifted ours too! They moved to another spot away from us and happy that we still had a bite on our anchor we went to bed, grateful that hadn’t happened in the middle of the night! We all agreed that Guadaloupe was a great island and well worth a visit, although we should have brushed up on our French beforehand as not many people speak English!