Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
Our snorkel off Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe, was as good as we had hoped. Lots of friendly fish not at all bothered by snorkelers, I was swimming along staring at the coral beneath me when I glanced to my right and jumped when I saw a large fish staring into my goggles – the fish incidentally jumped too! It was a funny moment, but you get used to their closeness as you become enveloped amongst inquisitive fish. We saw a very large spotted porcupine fish, they are so beautiful with very round heads and large dopey eyes. You could see the spines on this one lying flat against its skin, they blow themselves up to erect their spines when threatened so we left him well alone. We have seen only a couple before in the BVI’s and St Martin, and as they are quite shy and hide under rocks when they spot you we haven’t been able to make out their spines before. A large school of Blue Tang are always a delight to see, and hidden swimming amongst them are other species of fish trying to go unnoticed including a very large trumpet fish hanging upside down. A sea snake slithered its way across a patch of sand and disappeared under a rock. On the way back to the dinghy we ‘ran’ into a couple of small jelly fish, their transparent bodies only a couple of centimetres long, I managed to get out of the way and Jez unfortunately got stung, nothing major just like a sharp nettle sting although it leaves a mark for a few days. We were pleased to have chosen an early snorkel, as just as we were leaving hoards of day trip boats and kayakers descended on the island. The jellies got me later in the day when I went for a swim off the boat whilst the boys were back on Pigeon Island for a scuba dive.
The following day we roared off out of the anchorage in a great gust of 22 knots, steaming ahead at 8 knots we were healed over to the gunnels. Then in a split second the wind disappeared to zero for a few minutes, then another gust and we were off again screaming past Pannikin who had not had the gust yet! Then back to 5 knots and after an hour and half, still with Pigeon Island clearly in sight, we gave up and put the motor on! This at least gave me a chance to knock up the bread for lunch, rather difficult when the boat is on its side – although do-able, your mountaineering skills are put into practice, it takes five times as long and you get covered in flour and bruises. The calmness only lasted an hour, and then we found 20-25 knots off the mountains to carry us down the east coast of Guadeloupe and across the strait to Terre-de-Haut, one of the Isles des Saintes, with only two extra tacks needed.
We anchored off a delightful beach at Anse a Cointe, and took time to cool off with a snorkel along the reef at the base of the rocky coastline. As we got back to the boat we noticed dozens of jelly fish along Joy’s hull waiting to pounce. These ones were different, same size but with no tentacle and strange electric pulses flashing through their bodies like fairy lights. I got back on board quickly unscathed but Jez swam on to check the anchor and sported another rash on his upper arm when he got back. We were glad, however, to have a lovely calm anchorage to get a good night sleep before our sail to Dominica the following day.