Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Tue 18 Feb 2020 18:37
The wind was strengthening as we left Portsmouth and we had a good sail north, past the small islands of The Saintes and up the west side of Guadeloupe, as far as Basse Terre, the capital. Then the inevitable happened and the wind died so we continued under motor, through the Cousteau marine reserve at Pigeon island, arriving at Deshaies mid-afternoon.
The best part of the anchorage is taken up by moorings but with our shallow draft we were able to find a suitable spot to anchor, close to the town. With a forecast of unusually strong winds (Force 7) and plenty of rain we braced ourselves in for a few days of discomfort while we prepared ourselves for visitors.
On the next mooring - a popular spotting location for the local pelicans
Fortunately the weather was much calmer when Noreen, Lea and John arrived. Lea and John were staying ashore but Noreen opted for onboard accommodation. It's been over a decade since she sailed with us on Lynn Rival so at the beginning found the process of getting in and out of the dinghy a bit challenging!
Waterfront restaurants in battened down mode as the swell comes ashore in the form of 2m breaking waves
For the first few days we had calm weather, enjoying some snorkelling on the reef on the north side of the anchorage and making trips ashore to meet Lea and John in the evenings. Then the anchorage became awful with a long period northerly swell coming into the bay. By this time we had moved to a mooring buoy but the constant and unpredictable movement of the boat was very wearing. Getting into and out of the dinghy was also very hard and as the town quay was out of action - the planks had been removed to stop them being washed away - getting ashore involved a longer dinghy ride up into the river mouth - it was quite a palaver for several days.
Eventually the swell subsided and we hired a car to visit the various highlights of the island, including the Botanical gardens which are as lovely as ever. One day we drove east to the Atlantic coast and got thoroughly wet as the stormy weather and heavy swell was still very much in evidence.
Iguana heaven - a prime sunbathing spot opposite Pigeon Island
Another day we visited the film set for "Death in Paradise", both here in Deshaies and at Grand Anse beach. At this time of year the famous inspector's house is dismantled so we were unable to see it in situ. Of course we spent many evenings watching the sunset at Catherine's Bar.
Where is the Inspector's house?
Well, we found his wheels
All too soon it was time to take Noreen, Lea and John to the airport. It was great to have them here and for a few days after we felt quite lost without them around. At that point we both went down with horrible colds and bronchitis so the last three weeks have been a write-off.