…and back to France! Isles Des Saintes is a small group
of islands to the south east of Guadeloupe, and firmly part of the wider French
empire. The main island town is Bourg des Saintes, overlooking a wide anchorage,
mostly taken over by mooring buoys run by the town.
We anchored on Tuesday night after a fine sail from
Dominica, but this placed us well out in the bay and open to the swell that
rolled in from the north. Having
looked round the village and found it delightful, we decided to stay for a few
days, but moved to a mooring further into the bay to get out of the worst of the
swell and gusts.
Clearing in was relatively easy, with the self-service
Martinique system once we had found the right café! This sets us fair for
Guadeloupe too, which is the administrative centre for these French
Does Carnival Never End?
Another place, another day of Carnival! This time,
however, it was a pleasant experience, with lots of happy youngsters dressed up,
happy and parading along the tiny streets of Bourg des Saintes. The music was
muted, and it ended late afternoon.
This is clearly a destination for the roving French
looking for sun, sand and sea in the winter, whilst still able to buy a baguette
twice a day and have croissants and coffee in the morning, all transactions
conducted in their native language. The ferries spew out hundreds of tourists
with roll-along baggage, aiming for the rooms and cottages to let.
There are lots full of scooters for hire, the favourite
mode of transport for the island….and it is important to watch out near these
places, as proto-mods climb aboard and launch themselves unsteadily along the
road. Typically papa has one youngster clutching to his back and maman another,
though sometimes it is both parents and one child squashed onto the same
machine. Unfamiliar with the gears, throttle and brakes, they wobble along the
road weaving between pedestrians (remember, acute shortage of pavements!), and
striking fear into all who encounter them. Accidents must be a regular
occurrence, and the outcomes will be unpleasant since folk are often wearing
swimwear or shorts and t-shirts - we did see some people with cuts, rashes and
bandages which may well have been the consequence!
More Work and a Bit of Play!
Another bout of maintenance work took up a day and a
half. The forward heads was still not quite right despite protracted graft a
couple of weeks back, so once more into the breach! We carry a complete spare pump, so
exchanging this for the one that we cleaned and serviced last time seems to have
done the trick. Why I did not do this before is another of life’s mysteries,
never to be solved….
….and finally we have a speed log back working, after a
bit of hull scraping and another clean and polish.
Showered and smelling sweet again, it seemed worthy of a
meal out, but many of the restaurants were shut. We settled for the one closest
to the dinghy dock, which was fine. Madame plays the piano beautifully, though
she was on strike for the evening, but we had a fine time.
Our pleasure was enhanced once the loud and strident
woman sitting behind us thankfully departed when her friends arrived off a
yacht. A couple of Canadians who were at an adjacent table were equally grateful
that she had left, and we had a very good and informative conversation with them
about the sights on Guadeloupe, where they had stayed for a fortnight before
coming over to Isle des Saintes.
We are still debating the strategy for this summer and
where we are headed. The options remain as they were when we came back to the
boat – leaving her stored ashore for the summer (hurricane season), heading for
North America and lifting her there, or bringing her back to Europe in
April/May. Wending our way north is common to all three options, but we will
have to reach a conclusion before long, since we will come to a crossroads
Our next destination, Guadeloupe, presents us with some
decisions that could affect the debate – how we navigate round the island will
make some options easier and some harder without precluding any. We will,
however, not be able to procrastinate for very much longer…..