Guadeloupe - And Happy New Year to all!

Thu 31 Dec 2009 18:23
A Christmas lunch of the most expensive chicken ever @ 27.90 Euros. The plus side being it was the tastiest bird we have ever had. The wing bones were humungeous and we both think it must have been capable of flight.
Guadeloupe seems a long way from home with its exotic plants and unrecognisable sea birds. The pelicans stalk the fish market each morning waiting for scraps.
Our neighbours blotted out the view of the palm trees as you can see
Having a super yacht parked 8 feet awayperhaps gives a hint of why prices are so high. The marina has some high priced boutiques so Caroline looked to the local town centre to see what clothes were available. The shops were stuffed full of clothes designed to emphasise bums and boobs. A streetwalker would not be disappointed with the choice.
Twice walking to town we have seen young girls with very tight clothing and full make up sitting singularly on chairs by the roadside or standing at the road edge, tottering on high heels.
The tourist office is a magnificent colonial relic and gave none of the usual problems. All over Europe we have had to push to one side literature in numerous languages; Italian, German, and so on. Here there was no such problem as all the information was in French. From the back room the staff kindly provided maps showing English and French flags, hinting at the possibility of information in English. Still it was all a tease and the maps and info were still in French. In the same way, this is the first place with a choice of languages coming up on card readers in shops. They tantalisilingly ask 'Langage Prefere?' The choice is, however limited to 'Francaise'.
At the end of the Atlantic crossing we knew we had arrived at civilisation, and French at that as an empty fag packet floated past.
Our worries over being in a French marina from previous experience of being near French boats, were allayed, however, as apart from a brief attempt to sing Christmas carols, quickly abandoned as no-one knew the words, the festive season passed unsullied by any French displays of musicality. One night we worryingly heard the dismal cacophony of badly plucked guitar strings, but thankfully after a few minutes the night sank back into its usual incredible insect orchestra of whizzes, whirrs and clicks.
We have been at Bas du Fort Marina for 10 days now. Murray has cleaned all the fuel system, moved the Autohelm computer and made it easier to drain the fridge into a bucket, which seems to be the only way to get it going sometimes. Caroline has hand-washed for England, the laundrette she dreamed of being only available to long stay boats. All of the interior has been cleaned and we are about ready to move on. Just the touristy bits to do.
Murray had the idea of walking to see the nearby fort the marina is named after. We hit a number of dead ends and followed the only route we could find which included walking next to a motorway (it's amazing this island has a motorway).
We walked past a car hire office, which belied all our internet searching and would have been a fraction of the price of the Hertz hut in the marina, if we hadn't already booked a day!
Anyway, we walked for 2 hours, to find ourselves at the fuel berth on the opposite of the water from our boat. There is no footpath round the marina as such to take us back by way of shortcut. Fortunately Murray had enough French to blag a lift of 2 minutes from a refuelling boat.
We used the hire car to go to the Chutes du Carberet (waterfalls).
We also wanted to climb La Soufriere, the volcano at the heart of Basse-Terre.
The volcano is still active.
The scenery is green and lush with mosses and ferns unique in appearance. The walk was hard work upwards in beautiful sunshine, but we were rewarded with spectacular views. The car hire man had told us that this was the first time for a year that the peak (gets 30-40 feet of rain per year) had been clear of clouds. After he had said we were lucky for the twentieth time we started to get the message.
A great walk with smoke and fumes and the sulphur eggy smell we all remember from school science. The walk began at a volcano heated pool and slowly wound its way to the peak. Even better, the clouds descended after we had finished at the top, giving a cooler walk down. So we have finally climbed a volcano, and an active one - sorry the Hellie missed it as she spent the first part of the trip trying to find a volcano to look into.
The volcano has not erupted since 1976 and is now permanently monitored.