|Fish Market in Pointe a Pitre|
Usually if you wait a few days after a good blow, the seas will calm down a bit and you will have a nice crossing. This was not the case from Antigua to
Guadeloupe. But, the nice thing about the Caribbean, is , for the most part, the amount of time in the open ocean between the lee of the islands is realively short, so you only have to get beat up for a few hours, or in our case, about 6 hours.
We were about half way through our journey when the magical sound of the fishing line peeling off sounded in the howling wind. And then the sight of a 250 pound blue marlin jumping behind the boat sends the adrenaline rushing through the blood stream.
“Come around behind it” Scotto yells as he hooks up the fish. “Yeah, right” shouts back Maria, as we have all sails set in a good 20 kts of wind and bouncing in 6-8 foot seas that again, seem to be coming from all directions.
“How about I bring her into the wind, slow the boat down and you reel her in, tough guy.”
I have never seen facial expressions like Scotto had as he huffed and puffed and reeled that big fish in. We got her right up to the boat, got a video or two of her, and just as we were going to get a good picture of her, she broke the line. I guess she was a bit camera shy.
|Veggie Market in Pointe a Pitre|
We pulled into Deshaies (pronounced Day-ah) in
Guadeloupe, which is a very French island. The anchorage was surrounded by hills and mountains that acted as a giant wind scoop, so we always had a nice breeze sitting on deck. Clearing into Guadeloupe is a snap as all you have to do is go to the one internet café in the town, fill out a form on the computer and they send it to Customs via a dedicated link. Two minutes later you are cleared in…all for a whopping 2 euro (it is free to enter Guadeloupe!).
Deshaies is a very quaint fishing village where not one person spoke a lick of English! The did, however, have the essentials that every person needs… 2 Euro bottles of red wine, brie, baguettes and pan au chocolate. What more does one need?
Maria and I took a bus to Pointe a Pitre, the largest city in
Guadeloupe. Pointe a Pitre has a large Creole influence and has great old buildings. The waterfront is home to a bustling market with ladies dressed in colorful madras dresses selling all kinds of fruits and vegetables. As you walk along the the water, fishing boats are docked along the wall, selling fish fresh from their boats. We continued to walk around the city and stumbled upon a beautiful flower market in one of the squares, and a make-shift band jamming reggae in another. Lively does not even begin to describe Pointe a Pitre!
We had lunch in an open-air restaurant and then hopped on the bus to return to Deshaies. We hung out for the next day or two, explored the small town and did some maintenance. While we were there, we befriended a single-handed sailor, Andrew, who was about our age. He and Scott became good friends, and Scotto decided that it was time to seek out new adventures and hopped on Andrew’s boat. I can only image the mayhem those two will cause down island!
|Scott sailing away|
The next day, Maria and I hauled our anchor and sailed a few miles down the coast to check out the
Cousteau Underwater Park at . We went snorkeling and diving with our friends Nola and Jerry on s/v Moonsong and it was unanimous that Pigeon Island had the best diving thus far on our voyage. It was only 25-35 feet deep but the water was crystal clear and the reefs were teeming with activity. The coral was healthy and colorful and housed tons of brightly colored reef fish including a peacock flounder, lots of turtles, and, my favorite, cuttle fish! I chased these poor little buggers all over the reef with my camera! It was a great way to end our time on beautiful Pigeon Island Guadeloupe.