Today we rented a car – well three cars – with Allegro, Flash, Kalunamoo, and Pandora. We drove a lot! We went to Les Chutes de Cabrit; a mile-high series of waterfalls that Christopher Columbus and his men saw from the ocean. Here we went to the third fall. I call it a hike; Mark calls it a walk. It was all a well-maintained path, so Mark says it’s a walk; but there was a lot of up and down, and a lot of sweating, so I call it a hike. Either way, it was beautiful and awe-inspiring. Huge rainforest plants leading to a terrible cascade of falling water.
After that we had lunch, of course, and then did some serious testing of the distilleries of Guadaloupe, including one that isn’t quite open, but the brewery side of the business was going strong. Of course, no automobile outing on a French island is complete without a stop at Decathlon which is a European sporting-goods store that makes American sporting-goods stores look puny. Mark finally has new shoes. (Same sandal he has been wearing for the past 6 years, but a new pair.)
We have escaped Porte-a-Pitre and are now in Les Iles de Saintes. This is a collection of small islands at the southern end of Guadeloupe that is a big tourist center for the French. People come from all over France, from Guadeloupe to Paris, to lounge on the beautiful beaches and relax in the amazing sun. We come for the clear water and wonderful restaurants. Some of us even come for the great hiking that is all around here.
In the last 12 months two of the boats we know have “gone walk-about”. Both times the owners were ashore when something went awry and all their anchor chain fed out of the chain locker and onto the ocean floor, allowing the boat to drift as it would. Again, both times helpful boat neighbors came to the rescue and stopped the boat from going out to sea and disappearing and then helped to recover the anchor chain so that the boats could go back to sitting where they belonged. Well, last night was our turn. Where we are in Les Saintes is quite deep so the easiest solution is to not anchor but to take a mooring instead. We tend to prefer to anchor, but there are times it makes sense to give in. So, we set up our mooring with a large stainless-steel clip and run our mooring lines through that instead of through the rough hoop that is part of the mooring. Last night the wind was very light and the boats kind of wandered around in lazy circles with the tides and whatever breeze there was. Evidently the clip’s clasp got tangled in the mooring lines and opened, setting us free. We were blissfully unaware of this, seeing that it was about 11:30 pm and we were sleeping. Our rest was interrupted by people rudely yelling at us, just because Roxy was about to crash into their boat. They managed to fend us off until Mark woke up
enough to realize that we needed to react and turned on the motor and backed us away from that boat. It took us a couple of minutes more to figure out that THEY were where they belonged and WE were the ones who were out of place. Once we got that figured out, we had to figure out what our next move was. Fortunately, all the commotion (and the sight of our blue twinkle lights going past their windows) woke two of our friends and Lee (Allegro) jumped in his dinghy, grabbed Steve (Flash) and came over to help resolve our problem. It was shortly after midnight by the time we were safely back on our mooring and about 5:30 before I got back to sleep.
This is only one of the many reasons why we love the Salty Dawgs Sailing Association and why joining a rally is a good thing. They give you the opportunity to meet people who understand your love of sailing who are happy to offer a hand and their expertise and a chance to create friendships that last season after season, year after year.
We have been to Les Saintes a few times in the past, and every time we do something that we didn’t do in our previous visits. This visit we were with so many boat friends that there was always something new. We rented golf carts to go up hill for a tour of Fort Napoleon and then drove across the island to a beautiful windward side beach (fortunately it is in a cove so the 8’ waves were kept outside).
We really don’t want to say good bye to our cruising posse, but the wind is right so most of our friends are going south to Martinique but Mark and I are going north. We have to be in Antigua for the next six weeks – for a number of reasons – so going two islands south just doesn’t make sense. We will play in English-speaking waters. One last stop in Deshaies for some baguettes, pastries, check-out, and a covid test, and back to Jolly Harbour.
We had a nice sail up, arriving on Valentine’s Day. Checking in took f-o-r-e-v-e-r but eventually we were all clear and ready to play. We were expecting to be receiving our new jib this week, but its production was pushed back, so we won’t get it for another month. ☹ We did get some happy news; Ann and her family are definitely coming to visit us for a week at the end of March. 😊
Another reason for our return to Antigua is to say adieu to our British friends on Alisara. They are a family of four with 8- and 10-year-old kids who have become like family to us. They have decided to sell their boat and return to England so that the kids will be able to grow up with their cousins and neighbors rather than being the only children in an anchorage or having friends sail in for a week and then leave on their journey. I get it, but we will miss them. We are looking forward to spending their last weeks in Antigua with them.
In other news, I bought this avocado:
And, just as in Bonaire, our flamingo family is quite popular with the tour boat operators and clients.