Thursday, May 13, 2010





We had been looking forward to filling up with some fresh sweet spring water in Guadaloupe but it was not to be.

In Deshaies the promised dock water system is still on the drawing board. The entrepreneur who delivered our morning croissants also used to deliver water but he had lost his tank in a recent storm [ it floated away! ] so he was out of business.

Anse la Barque had none either despite having a pretty good looking deal for a pier but the water too was yet to be connected.

Our next stop was the marina at Riviere Sans and this was our banker before leaving Guadaloupe for the Saintes. However despite the guide saying water was available it was no where in sight. After a search of all nearby buildings and businesses someone was found who claimed to be able to turn on the water on one of the pontoons but he expected us to raft up against a small catamaran and the route in was some what torturous as there were two partially sunken sailboats to be negotiated so being a devout chicken when it comes to maneuvering in close quarters I said no thank you.

So it was back to studying the guidebook which gave us the reassuring news that we could get water in the Saints. A newly set up yacht club and yacht services with English speaking Jerome providing water on a buoy in the main Saints harbor.

On arriving at the Saints we duly called him up on the given channel and were given vague directions to the buoy, but not the colour which would have been useful. We eventually found the buoy, faintly marked with the word EAU and sporting a bright yellow hose poked through the loop on top of the buoy.

Ah success at last. But we were counting our chickens too early! Gisela picked up the mooring loop and tied us off and we were good to go. However as we went to connect the hose to our tanks we realized that were fooled again. There was only a short piece of yellow hose there going to nowhere.

We called him up again on the VHF and told him what we had found, after accusing us of breaking his hose he said to come to the bar with the yellow hose. However when we got there expecting to pick up the hose and work our way back to the buoy he told us to go away and he would fix it tomorrow, perhaps, if the weather was good.

At this point Gisela was ready to punch his lights out but it is the Caribbean and sometimes you just have to go with the flow and hope people fix things before they get to their recreational substance of choice on any given day.

Did I mention Jerome was clearly totally fried?

Anyway next day when we dinghied over more in hope than expectation there was another hopeful on the buoy needing water and guess what? Jerome has promised them to get the hose fixed not today as he had promised us but 'manyana' and we all know that it never comes.

We were OK as I had filled the solar shower and we had some emergency reserve still in our tanks but it was with considerable relief that we saw that a shiny new hose had been fitted next day. So over we went and wonder of wonders it worked as advertised but not at the advertised price. A 50% increase was demanded, after all he has to pay for a new hose!

Gisela goes snorkeling.

After trying just with a mask at the Cousteau centre near Pigeon Island Gisela tried the snorkel and flippers with the mask at the Islet de Cabrits and was soon zooming around the place. I admit to twisting her arm a little [ well quite a lot really ] to try it but her first question when we got back aboard was when can we go again so that is good news from my point of view as I love snorkeling.

Fort Napoleon Isle de Basse Terre

The Saints were of tremendous military value in the days of engineless wooden warships as they had protected anchorages that could be entered easily by the rather unwieldy square rigged ships of the time.

So the anchorages had to be protected and batteries were situated at several points on the islands to cover all the approaches.

Fort Napoleon was the headquarters and principal sight covering the northern entrance to the best anchorage but now is used as a museum and a home for many goats and iguanas.

To get there we had hired a scooter which managed to get the two of us up some really steep hills despite being only 90cc.

The exhibits were somewhat eclectic.

There was a good exhibit on traditional boat building and I wonder if the builders were influenced by an Englishman as the designs were very similar to the gigs of the British fleet of the 18th century.

There was extensive coverage of the famous battle of the Saints where the French fleet were comprehensively routed by the English. There were tableau, paintings and detailed explanations of why the French lost.

As well as lots on slavery and the abolition thereof.

The Saints to Point a Pitre.

A bit longer a sail than I thought but we were able to lay the course just and I used the centre board for the first time and it made a difference as our leeway was clearly less. It had been reluctant to come down as a result of barnacle growth but the rough passage down from Montserrat had loosened it off.

When the wind went light mid passage I nearly started the nasty noisemaker but it filled in again with a little more South in it and soon we were seeing 6.5 to 7 knots which we carried into the somewhat scary entrance to Point a Pitre,

Point a Pitre

A lovely flower covered city in places but there are some really ugly concrete tower blocks going up to replace the wooden framed tinned roofed houses of old.

Gisela made me giggle when I commented on the dresses in this bridal shop when she said

“Who would marry anyone dressed like that?”

Watchers at the local fish market.

We went to see the famous markets again today after finding that they only opened in the mornings. However we found them deserted as it is Ascension Day here in Guadeloupe and a public Holiday.

However Rudolphe was at work in the spice market and soon inveigled us into some purchases with some consummate salesmanship. Watch out for his special coconut rum, it is Caribbean rocket fuel!


We rented a car and toured the rain forest and Soufriere volcano both of which are in a protected park. It was a little disappointing to find many of the attractions were closed due to the lack of funds to maintain them.

However we had a long walk in the dripping rain forest and soon we were both dripping too but we escaped the cruise ship crowds and were rewarded by a real sense and sight of a primeval landscape. Even the paths we followed had been recolonized by the jungle with a carpet of roots.


Tomorrow we are up at 4.30 am to catch the only opening of the bridges on the route north between the two halves of the “butterfly” that is Guadeloupe.

We shall explore the mangroves, lagoons and reefs of Cul de Sac du Marin and head up to Antigua on Saturday hopefully on a beam reach for the 40 mile passage to English harbour.

1 comment:

  1. What a to-do finding water!

    I have to say... wish I was there!