Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Deshaies to Iles des Saintes

March 8-10 Deshaies to Iles des Saintes

Monday was spent on the boat because it mostly poured all day. We went into town briefly to buy a few grocery items but came back immediately - sopping wet. Luckily we had bought time on an internet wi-fi site so we got caught up with email and the blog.

Tuesday started out slightly cloudy but at least no rain. We opted to leave to check out Pigeon Island, known for good diving and snorkeling at the Cousteau Underwater Park. The sun became ever so stronger but, unfortunately, the wind and sea did too - all from the south where we were heading. By the time we got to Pigeon Island the wind was clocking twenty plus knots from the south. The anchorage was on the southern side of the island, which made it untenable to try to moor safely and the underwater visibility also probably was effected. We motored onward.

Next we thought of stopping at a small anchorage called Anse a la Barque. But as we approached it, the bay didn’t look all that inviting - small, deep water, a road around it and an unspectacular beach. Hey, we’re spoiled - if it’s not pristine looking, it’s thumbs down.

Now we were looking at the major town of Basse Terre, where there was a marina just south of it. As we closed up on it, we could see the volcano appear. It’s an active volcano but not spewing lava. The city of Basse Terre looked nicely laid out, with fields of sugar cane on its northern border. We called the marina on channel 16 but got no answer. The cruising book said it was difficult to find a slip there. The anchorage generally was considered to be a rolly one. We had had enough of that the last couple of nights at Deshaies. Onward we went, now to Iles des Saintes.

The weather kept improving, so it became warmer and the wind and sea action died down. The Iles des Saintes are a small group of islands, only a short distance south of Guadeloupe. There is only one small fishing village, Bourg de Saintes, that is on the island of Terre d’en Haut.

As we proceeded south, we suddenly saw a huge tail and a big splash - whales. The performed for us (all be it far away) doing some fancy tail maneuvers, breaches and more. It was quite the spectacle that lasted for several minutes.

We got into Bourg de Saintes and anchored just in time for drinks and dinner. The following day we walked around the village and ended up at the Napoleon Fort, high on a hill on the east side of town. Great view. They had a worthwhile museum that told of the island’s history and the naval battles that had taken place just off the islands against the British.

All-in-all we had a very pleasant day at this spot and decided to stay another day before heading off to Dominica.

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