It’s great to wander the streets around Bourg de Saintes on the Island of Terre d’en Haut, Les Saintes. The locals and some tourists buzz around the town on scooters through the narrow streets. It is a quaint seaside town with red roofs and balconies that face out onto the street so that the locals can stop and chat as they walk home. You definitely feel like you are in a little French village and yes baguettes, French wine and cheeses and chorizo are available and of course we enjoyed them on our first night. The ice cream was appreciated given the heat and just hanging out in the square watching the buzz as people get ready to board the ferries at 5pm back to the main island of Guadeloupe.
On the Sunday we anchored off the beach near Pain de Sucre point close to the Hotel Bois Joli, where a lot of boats from the main island of Guadeloupe had come over to enjoy the snorkeling and the restaurant. It was amazing watching the place clear out late afternoon and we then had the anchorage basically to ourselves. We all went snorkeling along the shoreline and enjoyed the clear calm waters in the bay. There were all sorts of fish hiding around the boulders.
In the morning we sailed up to Deshaies ready to clear out bound for Antigua. Coming across the channel between Les Saintes and the main land was a dream as we cruised along; yes great winds. The coastline along Guadeloupe was very rocky with lots of little towns along the coast and rolling hills beyond.
We arrived into Deshaies just after lunch and of course in true French tradition the town is closed till 4:00 for a siesta. It’s a picturesque fishing village at the north end of Guadeloupe’s west coast.
Time to relax before town reopens. Mum has already finished one book and is on her second. She seems to like this position in the boat even while sailing.
Wandering around the small town we couldn’t resist picking up more baguettes. They are cheap and tasty and a great addition for our pork tenderloin dinner, if it makes it back given Brett likes them so much. Doesn’t our cheese, chorizo and baguettes look tasty.
We left St Lucia at 3pm bound for Les Saintes, Guadeloupe and had a great sail past Martinique and Dominica, arriving in around 1:30pm the next day. The winds were reasonably strong with a East North Easterly so not too bad for where we were heading.
Dad wanted to experience the night sail so was kitted out with everything and did his shifts, including dealing with a squall and mastering large freighters coming towards us fast in the dark. He’s looking a little dazed given one of his shifts was from midnight to 2am.
Mum stayed up with everyone keeping us fed, so was a great addition in the galley. All in all a success and yes everyone is in bed as I write this blog at 9:30pm.
Wow what an impressive group of islands to visit. We stayed on mooring at Ilet a Cabrit and were right beside some of the best snorkeling we have had so far this trip. The water was crystal clear with loads of fish (fish we have never seen before) and great coral around huge boulders. We climbed up to the top of the island on a concrete track passing lots of goats to some beautiful views of the islands including Le Chameau, which we hiked up to.
We then moored off the town of Bourg Des Saintes on the island of Terre D’en Haut with its red roofs and the older style Caribbean buildings and really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of the town. There are 2 dolphins that have apparently made the anchorage their home and spend the day moving between the moored yachts exciting all the people that see them.
We wandered the concrete streets where the mode of transport is mainly by foot, scooter or electric bike. There are a few cars but not many. When the ferries come in with day trippers you can see how the economy thrives with people buying goods, enjoying the restaurants and all hiring scooters to get about. It’s a small place to get around with a relaxed holiday feel to it, but there are a lot of hills. Trust me I walked or rode my bike up them. Fishing is big here and you can see that when you wander the foreshore and see all the fishing boats lined up.
We enjoyed a seafood meal out at a place called Au Bon Vivre, which was delicious. Strange having smokers in a restaurant again.
The hike up to the lookout at Le Chameau, 1000 feet up, the tallest peak on the island had incredible views of the islands. You follow a very steep concrete path that is blocked off to motorized vehicles to the top.
It was a long weekend so there was plenty of things going on in town and a lot of people out and about at the local market. There was a park which had lots of events going on with music and lives bands, boat races and people just limin’. A great place to people watch.
They even had a pretty impressive fireworks display out over the bay Sunday night which we were able to enjoy.
We also went up to Fort Neopleon, a restored old fort with a deep moat in great condition. Within the fort there are gardens with cacti and other succulents and a great breeze to sit and look out at the Carribean or the Fort. Inside the Fort you can wander from room to room and get some history of the local sea battles.
Heading to Martinique tonight.
We set sail from Antigua to Deshaies, French Guadeloupe and had an awesome sail all in 1 tack, wow. The winds and seas were great allowing us to do between 5 and 8 knots. Deshaies is a cute fishing village with just a couple of streets with French restaurants, produce and souvenir shops. You clear in at Le Pelican an Internet cafe, which does not look like a customs office. Very efficient computerized process though. Brett wishes everywhere was like this……
We had heard about a great hike from ZerotoCruising.com which starts on the left side of the Deshaies River on a concrete road and then you wind your way up the river through the mountains jumping from boulder to boulder. We had a lot of fun. It takes about 2 hours to get to a parking lot on your left where you can stop but if you continue up the river for about another 20 minutes you get to a giant cave gully with a pool of water and a huge boulder in front, where there is a waterfall behind it. Pretty impressive. You get out by going back to the parking lot and following the concrete road back down and eventually you arrive back into town after about 40 minutes. We couldn’t believe how high up we were. Really enjoyable hike and the swim at the end was so appreciated.
After loading up with some French cheese and wine we have decided to head to Les Saintes, Guadeloupe as we have heard some great things about it.