Wed 23 Feb 2011 21:46
Arrived at Pointe-a-Pitra, Guadeloupe on Friday 11th Feb, the plan was to see if we could get to Marie Galante or if not Isles de Saintes, however it was not to be so. The weather was bright but the wind increased as we sailed from the lee of Dominica and it would have been on the nose fro Marie Galante, as we came in line with the Saintes we felt it would be an uncomfortable anchorage in the conditions so we just kept going and arrived in Port-a-Pitre, under a triple reefed main and small Genoa.
It is not all glamorous anchorages and PP is a busy container port, our anchorage gave us great views of the port, and put us in a good position to hear the night life in the town. Don't really know where the time went but we spent the best part of a week walking around the town, finding the Uship chandlery, a bus ride, taxi ride and long walk, glad we had Thomas and Regula who speak some French!
On Saturday 19th we were ready a 05.00hrs to get under the bridges across the Riviere Salee, which is a navigable shallow river, mud bottomed and edged with mangrove ,splitting the two halves of Guadeloupe, the clearance is 1.8m and we draw 1.9m so it was a close thing, in fact when we were scrubbing the hull here in Baie Mahault we notice a clear .5m of keel where we ploughed through the mud! (another of the myths, I thought that snorkelling would be all coral reefs and pretty fish, hull needs scrubbing every couple of weeks...) A very narrow turning to get under the first two of the bridges and then a slow motor through the mangrove channel as dawn arrived and with dawn flocks of Egret making their way from the night roost, with a full moon shining, it could have quite turned a girls head.... but then we had the mossies....
We are now in what is called Grande Cul-de-Sac-Marin a national park made up of a system of reefs,and navigation is by gps and eyeball only on sunny days, in fact once or twice we wished we had a lifting keel!. There are no other touring yachts and just the couple of local boats in the bay, pity we are on the flight path to the airport, and we are enjoying the singing and preaching from the 7th day Adventists, sound does carry. However we went and anchored off one of the many reefs and the snorkelling was just fantastic, lots of corals and plenty of fish and after the day trip boats left we had the reef to ourselves overnight and all of the following morning, Pics will follow shortly.
Chris has a new past time, since the fish are as elusive as ever, he has turned his hand to 'Fly Catching', we seem to have a lot of black flies, presumably from the mangrove and Chris had quite a passion for spraying them, it became quite a war, however yesterday as I was beginning to think that we may die of spray before the flies Chris bought the ultimate weapon... FLY PAPER..., it is quite disgusting but hanging in the cabin we now have a sticky end for flies of all kinds. Chris is very happy and stopped counting bodies after the first 40! Yesterday was quite an adventure, as no one on this Island seems to speak English and we had no Thomas and Regula a trip by bus to find the Uship chandlers where we bought some suction pads, to use when cleaning the hull, and they did not work, was going to be a challenge! One which we rose to and all is well.
We are custom cleared in Guadeloupe until the 27th and then we plan a course through the reef into the open sea and head for Antigua where we hope to catch up with Sean and Anna on White Whisper.