Friday, March 29, 2013

Marie Galante as a birthday gift

We stayed in Saintes till Friday. On Thursday evening the Royal Clipper sailed by, it was a rare view of her having almost all sails out.

Before we left on Friday morning, Madeline and Skip of Saralane came by to say hello. It was so nice to see them again. Check their blog at .

We sailed off to Pointe a Pitre late that morning, we wanted to stop at the marina to arrange a mooring buoy for Heron while we fly home. Day was cloudy, all around us were rainy clouds, and eventually one of them caught up with us. Sailing wasn't too bad, but it wasn't very nice either. No fish got hooked on our lure, and it was a bit boring. Until...

Until we got very close to entrance to Pointe a Pitre. Captain yelled all of a sudden "Whales!" I couldn't believe my ears. Here? In 30m of water? In almost closed bay? And then I spotted a black back with a small finn and a spray of water some 150m from us. Wow, a Humpback Whale! I started yelling: "Do something! Stop the boat! Turn! Let's go closer!" And with the patience captain did a heave to and almost stopped the boat, he knows how I feel about whales or dolphins. We were really lucky, as the whales came our way. I saw a smaller back that came to the surface more often and then a big back that came up only twice. I'm guessing it might have been a mom and a baby, that was born in the protected water of the shallow bay. I still remember a similar event, when we were observing a mom and a baby Humpback Whale in 30m of water in British Virgin Islands some years ago. Photos are not great, but I was shooting them while still trying to see everything that was happening. They came quite close to Heron, took a couple of breaths, and then disappeared. 

We stayed there for quite some time, trying to see where they would surface, but without success. But we were still amazed by what we saw. These were our first whales since last spring.

We anchored in front of Pointe a Pitre marina and arranged everything about mooring buoy for Heron. On Saturday morning we bought fresh baguettes, and since marina wi-fi wasn't working, there was nothing to keep us there. At noon we left for Marie Galante.

Weather was great, sunny, we had a good wind, and sailing was really enjoyable. I was hoping we would see the whales from the day before, but they were probably already far away.

Marie Galante is a sleepy island to the South of Guadeloupe. Although there are many ferries traveling back and forth between Pointe a Pitre and Marie Galante every day, there aren't many tourist on the island and not much is happening. The way I like it! The "J" was of course faster than us, but I'm sure people traveling with it didn't have half as much fun as we did.

We anchored in pretty bay in front of Saint Louis. The bay is wide and shallow, with only few boats anchored there and a crystal clear water.

Next morning I went snorkeling. I knew it was mostly grass on the bottom, I could see that it was, and didn't expect much. But it was a pleasant surprise. We saw many pretty Cushion Sea Stars there.

This is Giant Anemone - or "Pretty in pink"

Tomaz checking on a fish trap.

This is Yellowline Arrow Crab, hiding beneath Fire Coral.

This is a Corkscrew Anemone, the pattern in the tentacles looks like a spiral of a corkscrew.

While I was taking photos of anemones up close, I noticed some tiny things moving between tentacles. I've read about the crabs living in association with anemones, but I haven't really saw one until now.  Luckily I can now take photos of even such small things.

This is a Squat Anemone Shrimp, and it's only up to 2cm in size.

And these are Spotted Cleaner Shrimps, up to 3cm in size.

I like this one, because of the transparent tentacles of Corkscrew Anemone it looks like the shrimp is hanging in the air.

This is a Goldspot Goby.

Day was relaxed and peaceful, we were reading and swimming a lot, and enjoying the summer feeling. We decided not to go out for the dinner, even though next day was my birthday. We had too much food to eat until we fly home on Wednesday. And besides we knew we will be eating more than enough when we're home. Still, a pretty little restaurant on the beach caught my eye and we're for sure going there next time. Before  I fell asleep I thought how beautiful last two days have been and how much the feeling I was having in Marie Galante reminded me of Barbuda feeling. And how happy I was to have such a great birthday gift.

1 comment:

  1. Belated Happy Birthday, Lili!

    What a wonderful couple of days before flying out, especially getting so close to the "humpies."

    We saw dolphins here in St Thomas' bay the other day. The local livaboards said that means the local marine food chain's kicked into gear.

    Your photos are fantastic!

    Wishing you a wonderful trip home.

    Wayne & Dana (still stuck in St Thomas w engine trouble)