After guzzling down Tom’s birthday cake, we snuck out of English Harbour in the dark and set sail for Guadeloupe – some 40 miles away. Finally, the wind direction was in our favour, and I had a great sleep without the engine chugging along beside my bed, until Pete awoke me around 1 am for my shift. It is so nice to be sailing at night without the motor, with headphones on, and a good audio book. The time passed quickly until around 6am when the wind finally died as we rounded the northern tip of Guadaloupe. I tried a few different tacks to find the last breathe of wind, until finally giving up and putting on the engine.
Our landfall was to be about halfway along the western side of the island, a place known as the Pigeon Island Anchorage, famous as being the location of the Cousteau Underwater Park. After a late breakfast we headed across to Pigeon Island and enjoyed snorkelling for about an hour. Tom unfortunately had a headache, so sat out some of the snorkel on the island. A cuddle from me helped a little!
After chatting with a local, we dropped the older boys back at the boat and headed to another well-known snorkelling spot just at the tip of the north end of the bay. Called the Japanese Garden, it had lots of lovely coral formations and plenty of fish! Our photo’s do not do the setting justice.
As Pigeon Bay had quite a serious roll happening, we up anchored and headed to the capital of Guadeloupe in search of a quite spot for the night.
Basse Terre is on the south end of the west coast, as we passed the main part of town we saw tree lined, wide streets and the town looked quite interesting. Our arrival to the anchorage however found us in very rolly seas once again, so we snuck into the marina. Everyone had gone home, so we took a risk and selected our own berth from a row of 3 vacant berths. A few hours later a marina rep turned up and checked us in, not concerned at all about us taking our own spot!
Next morning, a Saturday, was a school morning as we had been skipping quite a few days of late due to large amount of travelling we had been doing. It is impossible for any of us to do anything closely related to school work when travelling as the tilt of the boat and the motion brings on a slight feeling of seasickness in the boys and I. After school work was finished we planned hiring a car in the afternoon to visit the nearby famous waterfalls. Once again we struck out as it turns out everything shuts after lunch on Saturday, even the car hire places. Wow – the French nations really know how to get good work/life balance. Even the restaurants surrounding the marina were closed.
Max and I attempted a walk into town, but struck a fairly rough area so we headed back to the boat for an early dinner!
The next day (Sunday), as time was against us we decided against staying another day for the car hire places to open for our waterfall visit, and set sail for Iles Des Saintes, a small group of islands just south of Guadeloupe.
Unfortunately, Guadeloupe, which has much to offer with amazing scenery inland, was not to be experienced by us on this trip! Perhaps next time it will be open…………..