The highest point on the Saintes
We started off having a relaxed day today but, in the end, Andrea and I found ourselves at the top of the hill overlooking the whole of Terre-de-Haute so we're pleasantly tired now.
Kali went off to town first thing while we were still in bed. When we woke up, we had to work out how she'd done it as the tender was still alongside but she was gone and she couldn't have swum ashore with all the stuff she needed. Turns out, she'd tendered into the dock, left her gear then returned to Saxon Blue, left the tender and then swum ashore, got changed and walked into town. A bit like one of those lateral thinking questions although how she did it all without waking us up is equally puzzling.
I was sitting in the cockpit having my second cup of tea but without having had any breakfast when I spotted Kali on the dock so went over to fetch her. She had procured pain-au-chocolats for Andrea and I so we had a lovely French breakfast. After that, Andrea did some work on her computer and I started reading a book by Max Hastings about Churchill in the Second World War. I spent a lazy morning sitting in the cockpit reading and watching people come down to the beach and snorkel past us. Kali went off to town for a second time before lunch leaving Andrea and I with French bread and assorted fillings.
We decided to continue the theme of taking it easy into the afternoon so we eventually managed to take the tender ashore with the intention to explore the beach and perhaps some other nearby ones. We walked up to the road and past the hotel where we ate last night but, as we were about to start the walk to the next beach, we were passed by some Gendarmes and told that the road was closed. We turned around and walked in the direction of town instead and soon found the turn-off for the road up to the lookout tower on the very highest point of the island. We debated whether to walk up to it when some people came down and told us how good the view was but how difficult the climb. Hmmm.... Nothing like a challenge.
The walk up was lovely if steep. Although the concrete road wasn't much worse than the ones on the rest of the island, cars, scooters and even bicycles were banned. We climbed through forest all the way surrounded by goats and occasional leggy chicken. As we got higher, the views got more impressive until we reached the abandoned tower on the top. It looked contemporaneous with Fort Napoleon but is much higher so the view is even better. There were a couple of rickety metal ladders inside so I climbed up onto the roof and was rewarded with uninterrupted views north to Guadeloupe and south to Dominica. Nearer to us were the island where we'd anchored when we first arrived in the Saintes and a series of rocky islets all around with the patterns in the sea showing where reefs were located. The swell bent around the various headlands so some places were calm, others full of crashing surf.
Andrea and I spent a good long time sitting on some rocks just staring out at the archipelago beneath us before thirst drew us back towards civilisation. As we weren't intending to do a hike, we'd only taken a tiny bottle of water with us. We walked down chatting away until we got to the path down to our beach where some enterprising people were selling drinks from the lower storey of their house. Suitably fortified by Orangina, we walked back down to the beach, got in the tender and motored back out to Saxon Blue, patiently bobbing there waiting for us and surrounded by snorkellers as she had been all day. As we got back onboard, Andrea spotted Kali on the dock so I went straight back and picked her up along with her backpack full of Orangina and Watermelon.
As soon as we all got back onboard, we got our swimmers on and jumped straight into the water. It felt pretty chilly as the sun was low in the sky by then and the wind was keen. As ever, the sea was crystal clear and full of fish so we had a great, if brief look at all the wildlife before getting back onboard for a shower and pre-dinner drink. We've just finished a wonderful Kali special of falafel with loads of salad, rice, flatbread, chilli-yoghurt and avocado. I don't know why we bother going out when the food is so much better onboard - well, I do know, it's to give Kali a break and for a change of scenery but we don't go out for better food, that's a dead cert.
While we were eating, we discussed the lack of cars on the Saintes. I don't think there are any private cars. We've seen the Gendarmes in a Berlingo and the hotel has a people carrier. There are a couple of vans and the occasional other car but it's nothing compared to how many people there are. Everyone gets around on scooters. They can be a bit noisy but they're not so intimidating as cars and they can just weave through the people walking along the roads. It makes visiting and travelling here so much more pleasant. Compared to St Martin or St Barths which are both just permanent traffic jams, this place is quieter and feels safer. I'm sure everyone moves around much more quickly, too.
Anyway, Andrea is rigging up the computer for a bit of Battlestar action so that's all for tonight. Tomorrow, we're off to another country, Dominica. It's supposed to be very different and I'm a bit nervous along with excited to see what's distinctive about it.
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