A right soaking
Wednesday 2nd March 2011
On Sunday we stayed on board, and by Monday the wind between the gusts had eased considerably, and we took the rib over to the town to take a look around. It had a quiet holiday town feel, and it didn’t take long to wander the one main street. We found the Post office and just sneaked in as the doors were closing to post off a parcel containing Steve’s headlight which had failed, and which is covered by warranty. Two small supermarkets, a couple of souvenir shops, an internet cafe and a couple of restaurants made up the rest of the main street, and as there was nowhere open to sit with a cold beer, we made do with a Haagen Dazs ice cream tub which we ate sitting on the small pebbly beach.
Deshaies – the main street runs parallel to the shore
On Tuesday we decided to wait until Thursday to leave as the wind would be from the East and lighter. We also decided to move the boat as we had slowly been pulling our anchor chain straight (it was laid in an ‘S’ shape as we had no way to pull back on it with no engine) and were getting uncomfortably close to the rocks at the side of the bay. So we pulled it up and relaid it in a position nearer the middle of the bay which we were much happier with. The engine sounded fine during this exercise, so fingers crossed it will be ok now until we can get the tank cleaned out. In the afternoon we went ashore and caught the courtesy shuttle bus (you just ring them and they come and collect you) to the Botanical gardens, where we spent a pleasant few hours feeding the Koi carp, eating Columbo chicken in the restaurant and wandering among the many and varied species of plants and trees. Steve also overcame his nervousness of birds and became quite friendly with some colourful parrots.
Steve was a little nervous when the first parrot landed on his shoulder... ...but was soon a family friend!
Today we decided to hike along the Deshaies river. We put it off first thing because it had been raining a fair bit in the night and there was still a lot of low cloud and rain over the hills, but by late morning it had brightened up a bit so we got out our walking boots and taking our lunch with us we set off for the river. First stop though was ‘Le Pelican’ internet cafe where we had to complete the paperwork to clear out of Guadeloupe. In the islands of the French West Indies the forms are computerised and in many places it’s not necessary to visit Customs, as the local internet cafes have been given the authority to clear the paperwork for them. Once cleared, we have 24 hours to leave the country, and we plan to leave tomorrow morning before the internet cafe opens anyway, so now was the best time to get it done.
Once at the river, we set off up the concrete path that runs alongside. This path soon ran out and it was then a case of picking our way over boulders to cross to the side of the river that offered the best terrain. We had great fun scrambling around like kids, and made it quite a way up the river. However, it is not called a tropical RAIN forest for nothing, and the rain which had been gently falling on and off for a while suddenly decided to come down in sheets. Before we could get out our kagoules we were already soaked to the skin so that they became redundant, and we sheltered under some trees (which we hoped were not manchineel trees!) and ate our lunch.
We pressed on a little further when the rain eased, but then found that the way became more of a climb than a scramble, and now that everything was even more wet and slippery we decided that this was probably the point at which we should turn around and find our way back to town. We arrived back at the dinghy dock soaking wet, muddy, and with a few scrapes and bruises, but having spent a very enjoyable couple of hours. A couple of local ladies had set up a stall nearby selling homemade coconut sorbet, so we rounded off the outing by giving it a try. Delicious!
Intrepid explorers on the Deshaies Riviere... ...soaked but happy!
Back at the boat we had hot showers, tidied up and made ready for sea tomorrow. Fortunately our clearance papers had been protected in a ziplock bag so were bone dry. Our clothes and boots however, were another story...
We set the alarm for 0530 and had an early night.