Monday, April 2, 2012

More from Guadeloupe

 Monday 19 March – Monday 2 April

After Sunday's birthday celebration for Jan, Steve & I were trying to sleep in Monday morning. First Ultra called 6:30 ish to say they were getting under way when Steve got up about an hour later Wild Thing was already gone so we got ready to leave also and are underway by 8. We are motoring in very light winds on the nose, as we round the north end of the island and are passing the one town on the east side of the island when I look back to our port side and see Wild Thing whom we thought was in front of us. Hail them on the radio and they say yes that's them they had been hanging out in a bay waiting for us and we hadn't noticed as we went by so they were now just behind us and they say Ultra is actually sailing so they are tacking way out trying to get a good angle on the wind. A final look at the volcano as we pass the south east end of the island, once again in awe of the impact to this little island. Once off shore the winds pick up and the angle is better so sails are up and we have a great sail east to Deshaies (Day-ay) Guadeloupe and are anchored by 2:30. Steve & George go in to check in to find customs is closed until 4:30, by which time Ultra has arrived and settled into the anchorage also. Everyone gets checked in and we make plans for the following morning to hike up the Deshaies river to a waterfall. JoAnne & Bill have done this hike several times before so will be our guides. We head out shortly after 9:30 making our way up the river bed along the shore line if possible but mostly going from rock to rock. The few times we do make our way along the shore you can tell how few people do this hike as the trail if there is one is very overgrown. But we have a fun time watching our footing as we make our way up the river. By noon we are at a good size swimming hole, so break for lunch and a refreshing swim. This is where we (Steve & I , George & Jan) learn from Bill & JoAnne that this little 45 minute hike up to the waterfall might take a little longer with this group as we are only about half way there. We gear back up after lunch and push on, when we finally get to a road and car park Jan & I get very excited thinking we made it and Bill tells us it is only another 10 minutes to the waterfall. 10 minutes later with no waterfall in sight and the rocks we are having to climb over getting bigger and bigger Jan & I decide to sit and wait while the others hike on to the waterfall. As Jan & I sit on the rocks in the river we are entertained by some fish in a little pool, and are happy with our decision to sit and wait as it is quite some time before the group returns. Steve & George are glad we stayed behind also as the trail did prove more difficult the closer they got to the waterfall. They all had fun swimming under the waterfall, and Jan & I got to look at the pictures without any injuries. We hike back to the road and walk back to town via the road. “Next Time” we will get a ride up the road and then hike to the waterfall instead of starting all the way down at the bottom. It was a lovely day with a lot of laughs and plenty of exercise to make up for the baguette and cheese we ate for lunch. Wednesday some snorkeling and boat projects, dinner on Ocean Star. Thursday more snorkeling on the way back see another Texas boat, stop by and talk to Melanie & Casey on Bliss from the Austin area. They agree to meet us later at Hemingway's for a drink, and realize Steve & I had briefly met them in Grenada. We all decided to go to the Botanical Gardens the following day. It is not that far but it is straight up a steep road and they provide free transportation so we make arraignments to be picked up 10:45 Friday morning. We love to visit the botanical gardens on the different islands we visit, and are always glad we do. This one Jardin Botanique, is just absolutely beautiful with the added attraction of a koi pond, and a bird section where you can feed the parrots and have them stand on you. They have a fancy restaurant with a great view and a snack bar serving sandwiches, which we choose and it also has a great view from the shaded picnic tables making for another wonderful day in paradise. The walk down the road is not bad, so Steve George, Melanie & Casey tell us, as Jan, JoAnne, Bill & I got a ride back down in the van that picked us up. Meeting back up in town and a short walk up a street on the other side to a grave yard. Not just any grave yard, I have never seen so many mausoleums in such a concentrated area. It stands out so that you see it from our boats so we just had to get a closer look. Saturday all 3 boats depart Deshaies for the anchorage at Pigeon Island, a popular snorkeling and dive spot along the western coast of Guadeloupe. Plenty of room to anchor so once settled in we load snorkel gear into the dinghies and head over to Pigeon Island to snorkel. Steve & I had stopped here on the way down island the first time, it is surprising how few fish there are here in this national park. Slack tide this time so we got to swim around most of the island(s). George was towing our dinghy as he swam along so when Jan & I got too cold we were able to climb out. JoAnne & Bill carry tanks on their boat and wanted to do a dive the next day, saying we would be able to see a lot more. Steve & I would use 2 of their extra tanks and dive with them on Sunday, George came along and snorkeled above us towing the dinghies once again so when we came up we could just climb in, what service !! Sunday was Bills birthday so another celebration on Ultra that evening joined by Marilyn & Kent on M/V Cardena friends Bill & JoAnne met in Grenada. Monday we had 3 snorkelers & 3 divers go around the north point of the anchorage to check out another dive site. This location, still part of the marine park, had a good selection of things to see by both snorkelers & divers. Once back to the boats we noticed that the anchorage had gotten rolly. Poor Jan who had stayed on Wild Thing and gets sea sick at times was ready to get someplace calmer so they headed down to another anchorage. After lunch and getting the dive tanks refilled Ultra and Ocean Star went down to join Wild Thing at Anse a La Barque anchorage. Just a little less rolly and we just barely fit all fit in as it is a very small bay. Tuesday we were underway early for the short trip down to Isles Des Saintes anchoring in the bay behind Pain de Sucre, a short dinghy ride around from the town BUT no mooring balls so still a free anchorage. Wednesday Steve & I moved over to the town mooring field so we could get internet, Wild Thing came over for one night but it was too rolly for Jan so they & Ultra hung out in the other anchorage. Meeting up for snorkeling reefs, diving caves, shopping and hiking excursions over the next few days enjoying all the beauty these islands have to offer even a few boat projects got done. Over to Fort Caroline and de Pompierre beach one day and to Fort Josephine over on Ilet A Cabrit on another. Steve & I can now say we have been to all the forts in The Saints. Sharing many laughs, some at my expense like when I was trying to gear up for a dive in the dinghy and with the weights in my BC & the tank as I leaned back just a hair I fell backwards to the floor of the dink unable to get back up like a turtle on it's back. Thankful George was still in the dinghy and helped me up and into the water. On another dive I came up early getting cold and leg cramps so George used my BC and remaining air and I was going to stay near by for pick up with the dinghy. BUT the motor flooded out and I could not start it so I am drifting further & further away. I'm thinking they have to be almost out of air and will be coming up soon and see I am drifting away and come get me with the other dinghy. Well I was almost to Terre D'en Bas (next island over) when Bill finally got to me. There is a song WHO the F@!% is Alice, they were all saying WHERE the F@!% is Alice when they came up looking for me and the dinghy.

So glad we are getting to see so much more of Guadeloupe this time around and having so much fun doing it with friends. Monday the “plan” is to run into town for a few things and then head over to Marie Galante another Island part of Guadeloupe about 20 miles east of here that we have not been to yet.

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