Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pelicans and gunkholing around the Saints

Terre D'en Bas

This island is part of the Saints but very undeveloped. There is only one good anchorage and it is sheltered from the North and East. We had a big easterly swell running so I thought we would go and explore this little corner of the Caribbean for a day or two.

The pilot guide mentioned the ruins of a pottery as being worth a visit and we dutifully trundled along the edge of the bay to view the usual piles of stone only to find an enchanted walkway constructed with love and effort inhabited by lots of very cute goats.

When we actually made it into the site of the old pottery we found a small archeology team at work under a lovely old professor with muttonchop whiskers. The professor took time off from his digging to show us around the site and explain what they were looking for which was to establish the original factory size and wall heights before they expanded.

The factory was established in 1760 to make molds for the sugar plantations. These “Pain du sucre” pottery jars were needed in large numbers and the owner had a profitable business up until the sugar crash of 1815.

The grinding circle where the donkey driven grindstone worked the raw clay into a fine paste, the drying beds, potters work stations and the kilns were all still there although the kilns needed some support after the earthquake of 2005.

We had the bay to ourselves for much of the day which surprised us as the main anchorage at Bourg had a big swell running and was pretty uncomfortable.

A tall ship Stad Amsterdam

was in Bourg when we returned and looked very authentic. A pleasant change from the floating multi story car parks with some sails stuck on as afterthought.

It measures 256 loa and was launched in 2000.

We saw it next day under sail, heading for Dominica.

Isle de Cabrits

We girded up our loins and hiked to the summit of the Isle de Cabrits to checkout Fort Josephine. The views were spectacular but other than a few cute pygmy goats snacking on fallen flowers there was little wild life to be seen other than land based hermit crabs.

PelicansThe pelicans kept us amused
with their seemingly kamikaze dives into the sea often right off the back of Elephants Child most of which were successful and sometimes netting [billing?] quite large fish which they would have to juggle round and choke down still wriggling.

I failed to get a decent picture of a dive.

Note to self learn how to use camera!

We are off to Gosier tomorrow.

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