Saturday, June 17, 2017

French Hop, Skip and Jump Part II

This would be the Skip and Jump part after the Hop part, found here... 

Moving on...  we're Leaving the island of Guadeloupe and heading for Les Saintes.

We got a late start after trying to wait out the rain... but it hung around all morning so we took off late morning just figuring we would sail in easy fashion for as long as we had daylight.

The winds were very light and mostly on the nose!  We tacked way out, and then back in toward the island...... Eventually we were done messing around and just motorsailed in the general direction we wanted to go.  The winds were not cooperating enough to get us to Les Saintes by I took a look at the possible anchorages along this coast and we settled on Marigot.

Yes, there's a Marigot... on Guadeloupe too!  This Marigot is not really on anybody's radar.  There is an Active Captain anchorage marked, but there really doesn't seem to be any dock, just rocky beach access...

We arrived near sunset with a heavy rain just beginning to fall as we did our usual loop to check out the anchorage depths.  There is no real "bay" here, just a shallow indent in the coastline.


With winds coming from a little south of east, there was a bit of swell wrapping around the south end of the island and making its way up the coast.  It seemed that there was a bit less wave action closer to the southern part of the bay, so we got as close to that shore as depths would allow...

We found our spot and plunked down the hook... That's it for the day.  Feet up, Ice Cream for dinner...

Jezabelle sniffing the air.  I wonder if she remembers places we've been before...
The last of the Rhum Raisin... my new favorite!
Evening walkabout...
Bit more rain... but not on us!  
It began to clear off by sunset...

Golden Hour view of tiny Marigot

I love the colors of clouds after a rain at sunset...

The waves calmed after sunset and we had a much more comfortable night than we expected...  Morning dawned clear and brilliant!

Birds looking for a home and a free ride!

We set sail on a light breeze... notice anything unusual about this?

Well, the wind is blowing from the WEST!  The learning curve for sailing the Windward Islands has been interesting, to say the least.

East winds are the norm, but here on the west side of the islands... you never know what you're going to get.

It's really kind of fun, trying to outwit the winds... Would it be better to head offshore to see if we could find a steady east wind?  How far off would we have to go???

In the end, we opted to hug the coastline, where we found that west wind... There were a few wobbles where the winds would die out and clock around, but nothing like yesterday... and once we reached the southern tip of the island, we found a steady breeze to carry us right into our JUMP to Les Saintes!

Of course the waves were suddenly quite a bit larger once we left the protection of the larger land mass.  But our worries that they would become unmanageable as they squeezed through this space between islands were unrealized.  It was a hang-on kind of ride though... Especially when the current took charge!

Little bouncy!  Worried that our engine would quit but had to test it!
Our Oh-shit-o-meter was just fine!

We motor sailed (Final testing on the dying engine problem... Passed with flying colors)  as close to the wind as we could and still couldn't quite manage a one tack passage... We had just barely begun to feel the effects of Les Saintes, manafested in lessening seas and winds, when we made the reluctant decision to tack back out into the fracas to avoid death on a rocky shoreline!  Choices!

We like this place already and we aren't even there yet!

After a short tack out, we nailed the lay line and soon felt a calm welcome into the arms of Les Saintes.


The waters in and around these tiny islands is flat calm and beautiful.  The Saintes form a protective ring around this safe harbour... and the moorings are reportedly very good.

Our concern was that we would be unable to get a mooring as this place is a very popular stop for Cruising sailboats... Ahhh the joys of Cruising in "off season" areas!  There were PLENTY of open balls.  We dropped sails and motored right on up to a primo spot just off the ferry docks.

Many would not choose the front-and-center ball, that's where the most wakes would be from the many ferry boats arriving and departing throughout the day.  But I like to be closer since our dinghy doesn't plane...

"Bateau des Iles" is a curiosity that can not be missed... It looks like a ship coming out of the mountainside on the northern shore of the Bay of Terre-de-Haut.  A little research reveals the story.  It was built in 1942 by a photographer who loved these iles...  In 1955 the strange house was bequeathed to the community of Terre-de-Haute with one condition... It must be used to house the physicians who come to treat the people of les Saintes.  What a nice story that is!
A passing squall on FLAT waters on Terre-de-Haut Bay
Fishing boats moored just off the beach
Businesses and homes built right on the water's edge in the center of town.

We set off with our trash in search of the public bins... French directions sent us on a wild goose chase!

We climbed the steep hill on the northern side of the Bay, passing the house that looks like a boat on the land side for a better look.

By the time we reached the top of the hill we were suspicious that our understanding of the directions to the trash bins was faulty...

We found a nice passer-by from St. Martin who spoke some English.  Newly armed with the proper words for asking further directions - des ordures - we backtracked down the hill and into the center of the city... all the while, lugging our bag of trash that most certainly declared our status as Cruisers to all.

The Flamboyant trees are in full bloom!

Beginning to look a bit more seedy...
Finally we found the bins.  The French are big on recycling so they have separation facilities throughout the islands... We learned later that these were not the bins we should have used... But we never found those more easily accessible bins.

What we did find however, was a nice bit of exercise and a crash tour of the town.

Rum Raisin for dinner again!
And ice cream.  We found more ICE CREAM!  I was obsessed!

Golden hour view from the boat

Guadeloupe at night from Les Saintes
The following day we went ashore for a little more touring.  There are hikes across to the beach and a nice fort to visit... but we are pressing on in the morning so we will leave these treasures until our next visit when time is not so short.

We picked up a few groceries and cleared out of the country... a super easy process via computer!  LOVE this about the French islands!

After another peaceful night, we quietly slipped our lines from the mooring and I motored us along the coasts close enough to take a look at some of the other anchorages of Les Saintes.  We could easily spend weeks here... the friendly welcoming feel of the place made it difficult to leave.  But, Storm season is upon us and we must flee south!

On to Dominica!

We wove our way through the smaller Saintes and continued south to Dominica!

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