We’ve discovered that in Guadeloupe, it’s quite appropriate to live on a diet that consists almost entirely of carbs and wine. Also the French wine here is cheaper than water, so it’s really the economical choice. We’ve fallen into quite a fat habit of waking up and taking the dinghy into town where we follow our noses to the nearest boulangerie to pick up some freshly baked bread and croissants. We then proceed to eat the croissants back on the boat with a whole pile of butter and marmalade and a mango, sipping our coffees while sailing to the next little town on Guadeloupe. Needless to say, we are happy here!
So far, we’ve visited the towns of Deshaies, Baie-Mahault, and Iles des Saintes on Guadeloupe. They have all been wonderful! In Deshaies, we anchored near our new friends, Charlie and Karen, after we sailed together from Montserrat.
The next morning, we all hiked up a river through the rainforest. It took us about 4-hours round trip. The trek up to the waterfall was a bit of a scramble; we were hopping from boulder to boulder, trying not to slip and bust our knees but it was so fun and worth it!!
The next morning, we woke up early and sailed up to Baie-Mahault. We were cruising along and all of a sudden we saw WHALES! It was so amazing; they swam along next to us for a few minutes before diving down. I wish I had a good video but we were too in awe watching them that by they time I remembered to grab my camera, they were diving beneath the surface.
I had to take a cab into the city of Point-a-Pitre while my dad worked on the engine. I needed to find a FedEx office to mail something back to the states to get fixed (big surprise). After about 45 minutes, I finally found a cab, but the driver didn’t speak any English, only French. At one point in my life I was proficient in French but unfortunately that was no longer the case, and I thought, no way we are making it to this FedEx office. I didn’t many options for transportation to the city so I went for it and jumped in the cab language barrier and all. In what I’m sure was abominable French, I was able to tell him I spoke very little of his language (stupid tourist), but that I was trying to get to the FedEx office in the city. For fear of coming off like an ignorant visitor unwilling to speak the native language, I thought well screw it if I sound like a bumbling idiot, I may as well try to talk to this guy!
We spoke in French the entire round trip! He was so patient and understanding with my god-awful language skills. We practiced days of the week and directions, it was awesome! I probably should have paid him for language tutoring as well as the cab fare. When our journey was nearing its end, I asked him to drop me at the closest boulangerie so I could buy more bread (the fat habits continue). Jean-Pierre paid, bread in hand, I wandered back to the boat feeling pretty proud of myself for the successful morning.
We set sail for Pigeon Island, our stopping point for the night so we could wake up early and get to the Isle des Saintes, which quickly turned out to be my favorite little cluster of islands! Even their “Do Not Touch” signs were aesthetically pleasing.
We had dinner with Charlie and Karen at Au Bon Vivre on Isle des Saintes and set sail for Dominica the next morning. We ran into a bit of trouble on our way there, but nothing we couldn’t handle! Just as we had cleared our way out of the harbor, we heard a high pitched alarm going off. It took us a minute or two to realize it was the overheating alarm on the engine, indicating the alternator belt had snapped. We were lucky that we heard it quickly enough so the engine didn’t completely fry itself and end our trip earlier than planned. My dad shut off the engine and I pulled the sails up to keep us moving. He went downstairs and changed the belt for 3 hours while I sailed towards Dominica, running down below to assist when needed (thank god we fixed that autopilot!).
Dominica was beautiful but this was just a teaser – we were only here for the night but we’ll be back to explore more later. We had just enough time to have a beer on the beach and buy a freshly caught Mahi Mahi to cook for dinner.
We set sail early the next morning for a long 100-mile haul to St. Lucia
We had the best sail of our trip so far, and maybe my best sail ever. We were cruising – doing a solid 7 knots the entire way, which is fast! Not only was the sailing top notch, but we saw a 400-pound tuna propel himself straight up, out of the water 4 feet into the air repeatedly! It was unreal. I couldn’t tell if he was playing or chasing dinner. To top it off, we saw the sunset over the ocean and witnessed the green flash. It was a pretty awesome day.
We made it to St. Lucia! AND, our hydraulic backstay was at FedEx! Remember the one we shipped from St. Kitts to St. Maarten with the hopes that they would send a repaired one to St. Lucia?? Well, it was here but suffice it to say, it wasn’t easy to pick up. We discovered there were many hoops to jump through and forms to fill out because we were a vessel in transit shipping parts internationally. We didn’t simply waltz into FedEx and pick it up as I imagined. But WHO CARES?!?! After 4 hours of jumping through the hoops, we got it!!!! Now we just need to figure out how to put it back in place…. That’s a job for tomorrow. For now, we are picking up an old friend at the airport and getting ready to sail to Martinique!