Saturday, December 15, 2012

Deshaies to Ponte a Pitre

 We didn't stay in Deshaies long, although it is my favorite town in Guadeloupe.

Photos are from recent years, this weekend the anchorage wasn't even half as full as in photos.

 Entrance to Dehaies river.

Pelicans occupied the fishing boat.

We sailed on already the next morning. After thoroughly cleaning the front cabin, retightening of the front hatch, that was leaking, and sewing the zipper on bimini that got torn by the strong wind the day before.

We knew that when the wind is light, Guadeloupe high hills stop it and many times there is even a westerly wind on western coast. But we were hoping that we would have a steady easterly wind for the day, since the wind was so strong. It would surely make it over the hills. Not so. We had wind ranging from 2 to 33 knots, changing directions from north east to south east and behind the tallest hills it even came from west. It was a lot of work, watching the sea to spot next wind gust, to guess wind direction and to try to prepare sails for another 30+ knots. By the time we reached south west point of Guadeloupe we were already pretty tired. But then the fun only just begun. Wind was coming only from one direction, from south east, but with constant 25 to 30 knots and the waves were steep, high and mean. Soon we had sea and salt all over the boat and us again, some of the water even managed to get down the stairs into the salon.

At about five we reached the anchorage behind Paine de sucree. We were again wet, tired, cold and hungry. And the routine was the same as the evening before - first we cleaned the boat, then ourselves and then we had dinner. It was beef chili burritos, Susie's hot sauce, celery and yoghurt, very yummy.

Night was quite rolly, but we decided to stay another day. You don't have a free wi-fi in French islands very often. After another rolly night we escaped to Anse Fideling on neighbor island Terre de Bas in hope of less swell. We anchored twice to find the spot that was the quietest. The night was a bit better.

Anse Fideling is not the prettiest bay I've seen, but it's not bad. It is very quiet and there's some good snorkeling at the west side of the entrance.

Still captain decided to leave for Pointe a Pitre on Wednesday, our friends Marion and Harald were already there. They are our "oldest" sailing friends, we first met on Menorca last September, and we haven't seen them for half a year. So we were anxious to meet them again, but I would maybe stayed on Saintes till Friday, until the wind would calm down a bit.

It is a short ride, only about 24 miles, but the wind was getting even stronger and turning more to the north. We put out the storm jib and second reefed main, but gave up hopes of sailing to Pointe a Pitre already after few miles. We just couldn't stay on the right corse and the sea was too rough to tack. So we pulled down the main and started the engine. At the beginning we didn't even fish, it would be even harder to get the fish in than on Saturday. After some time captain couldn't help it and he tossed the hook into the water, but without any success this time. We reached Pointe a Pitre after four and a half hours of very bumpy ride. Should I say we were wet, tired, cold and hungry? Well, maybe not cold, but the rest was true. And the familiar routine followed - cleaning the boat, cleaning ourselves and then eating.

We met Marion and Harald already on Wednesday evening, and had some very nice time together since then. In the company of good friends one almost forgets wild and wet and bumpy rides.

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