Return to the EU
Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Fri 29 Apr 2016 22:00
We had been planning to sail north to visit Barbuda before returning to Antigua and then to go to Monserrat. However, the weather forecast showed continuing unsettled weather around Antigua and better weather to the south. We cut our losses and headed back to Guadeloupe, sailing all the way in fresh easterly winds. By mid afternoon we were anchored in Deshaies bay, choosing a spot close to the fishing harbour.
Once again we enjoyed the morning delivery of fresh bread and croissants by Lydie, the pleasant seafront bars and restaurants in the evening and the easy check-in and out procedure. The bay was less crowded than when we'd been before and the winds were light (and the temperature getting into the low 30s) so we enjoyed cooling swims and snorkelling. The water was exceptionally clear and sometimes we'd see large schools of small fish passing by.
Deshaies anchorage from the north
Fishing off Deshaies
One morning we hiked up Le Gros Morne, a hill to the north of the bay, and down the other side to a long, attractive beach called Grande Anse. The trail through dry forest was steep though not really difficult but the heat soon tired us out. The forest was alive with bird calls but the only things we saw were little toads until near the end when we finally saw two of the endemic Guadeloupe woodpeckers.
Grande Anse, from on high . . . . . . a close encounter with Mr(s) Woodpecker
Another day we scrambled up the Deshaies river for almost 2 hours. The trail was not marked so we just had to find our way, jumping from rock to rock in the riverbed or scrambling along the banks where possible. Finally we reached the point where the river meets a road which winds its way up the hill behind Deshaies. Our descent was a bit quicker.
Up the Deshaies River, no need for a paddle, but a stick would have been useful
Once again the forecast was showing more unsettled weather on the way after a day or two of easterlies. We decided to take our chance and head for Dominica, about 50 miles away. The only problem with getting there is that for almost half of the distance we would be in the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. We tried sailing close to the coast but still ended up motorsailing most of the way to Basse-terre, the capital city on the southwestern end of the island. Here there is a marina but no sheltered anchorages.
It was mid-afternoon and the wind was coming from the southeast so we didn't feel like pressing on towards the Iles des Saintes. We checked the charts and looked around close inshore next to the coastal road that runs south from Basse-terre. The water was clear and we dropped anchor in an area we hoped would not have too many boulders for the chain to get caught on. Fortunately we had found a sandy spot which was well sheltered for us to have a peaceful stay overnight. Nearby there was a small gap in the seawall with steps down to the water. In the late afternoon people came (by car) to swim and sit on the seawall to watch the sunset. Hopefully they didn't mind us blocking their view!