'The Saints'

Tue 3 Feb 2009 22:55
So Guadeloupe is on strike.  Thanks for the info Marion.  It's official, even whale watching is cancelled due to lack of fuel!
We spent considerable time in Deshaies walking up and down the hill to the Customs office to no avail.  A friendly little town with the French cafe style superimposed on Island life.  Our wifi 'supplier' was off the air or however it goes so no great help getting all excited about that.
At a loss, and at the weekend so no customs open, we decided to move down the coast to Pigeon Island home of the Cousteau Marine Park.  The water was crystal clear in the anchorage off the mainland so a short reci along the beach (more like through the car park actually) gave us an impression of how the park is set up and when dive boats were back and forth.  Booked on the 10am dive with Les Heures Saines we rescued the dingy from a very busy dock and back to Winny.
Signing in in the morning it seemed there were 3 divers and 1 snorkeller booked so with 2 dive masters/instructors on board Alyson had a leisurely 63 min buddy dive/guided tour.  The water was clear and the fish were unafraid and big, the pace was so leisurely we were overtaken by a French Angel fish the size of a pizza for 4. A group of Atlantic spade fish swam in front of another dive group coming towards us so got a good view of them, I sure hope the camera does the place justice the colours were fantastic, bright orange corals with groups of blue, black and yellow Creole Wrasse in front.  Vents in the sea floor where hot water came through were a pleasant surprise.  Max depth of the dive was 25' but only a few more meters away from the island its 150+' between the island and the beach it goes down to 135'.  Considering how many people a day swim and dive at the sites they are in very good condition lets hope they can keep them that way. Dive buddy recommended a dive shop here in the saints so may go with them but looked very busy today, spoilt now.
Still in pursuit of a customs official we spent the afternoon sailing in fluky winds down to Basse Terre, a much larger town and nowhere near as inviting, a night spent in a rolley anchorage just outside the marina convinced us not to bother and sail straight for Les Isles Des Saintes. 
As usual the GPS told us it was 9 miles and we managed to do 12 getting here.  There are alot of boats anchored here and one a particularly laden 47' catamaran is sitting right over our anchor.  They assure us if we need to move then they will go first but if they drag anchor goodness knows what.  That has put us off going ashore to eat, so rissotto on board tonight.  Suffice to say no Gendarmes at the town hall to clear us through customs this afternoon, the girls in the tourist office couldn't believe it so they phoned the office, no reply.  Tomorrow we will go early to try again, then coffee in town and hire a mountain bike to explore the island.  A little like vietnam here most folks are moving around on scooters, however haven't seen wardrobes, ducks or pigs being carried... yet!
Sorry no pics this time we have a 'card error' asking to be formatted, but that means loosing all photos we didn't download already.  That maybe what happens, anyone with any ideas please.
Anchor watch again, all for now, bye. xx