"Not only is the universe stranger than what we imagine,
it is stranger than what we can imagine."
Sir Arthur Eddington

Guadeloupe 1/28/2019 07:39


On Guadeloupe for lunch
On Guadeloupe for lunch


We made for Guadeloupe from Falmouth at first light. The Trades were moderate for January to make the open water passage so the beam reach was a great sail. The ultimate concern was with the coming north swell later in the week. They were forecasted to be over 10’ from the north, rendering any open anchorage facing north to be rolly, at least. Even the normal anchorages on the lee side of the islands, the west coast, may feel the effects. These conditions are not unusual in the winter and are not particularly dangerous, usually just uncomfortable. If sailing, a swell from the north combined with the wind driven waves from the east make a washing machine type effect. If you must land a dinghy on the beach in such a situation, it could get interesting very fast. These swells are the result of storms in the North Atlantic, the ones that dump snow and frigid temperature on the East Coast. Thanks for the calling card!

After a great sail south from Antigua to the western coast of Guadeloupe, we dropped the hook at Pigeon Island. We anchored near Bob and Carol on Oasis who came down the day earlier. The next morning at dawn we both set sail south around the southern point of Guadeloupe and made our way to Pointe-a-Pitre. This harbor, just at the juncture of the two halves of Guadeloupe is very well protected from swell as well as from strong trade winds. It is also a great place to base a tour of Guadeloupe. In the harbor besides Oasis were Mermaid, Blue Moon, Ubiquitous, Grey Ghost, and Stealing Time. Needless to say, we had enough company for days. It was great meeting everyone as they all would be going in different directions from here.

Point Des Chateaux
Point Des Chateaux


Rum of course!
Rum of course!


In the mangroves of the Riviere Salee
In the mangroves of the Riviere Salee


Last year we spent a month here and really enjoyed the time spent. We will not spend that much time here again but already visited the new slave museum (a must see) and a two-day road trip with Bob and Carol to Point Des Chateaux on the east end, some Rhum Distilleries, a drive thru the rain forest in the rain, and lunch in Deshais. We didn’t anchor in Deshais this year but managed to stop for lunch when we were on our road trip. The British TV series “Death in Paradise” seems to be getting very popular and Deshais is cashing in on being the filming location. You can visit the “police station” for 10 euros!  We also did a dingy trip up the Riviere Salee and had a raft up in the mangroves with Oasis, Blue Moon and Ubiquitous. Sun downers and even a jam session was had. Of course, the French food is a main attraction so the food in our freezer remains.

The "police station" of Death in Paradise
The "police station" of Death in Paradise


We are anchored outside of Bas-du-Fort, the big marina complex here. It is the destination of the Route du Rhom race. This is a race (open to all) of solo sailors from France to Guadeloupe. It is held every 4 years and attracts world class sailors from around the world. A few years ago we met the parents of Alex Thompson in Antigua (his parents were cruising at the time). Alex is a professional sailor for Hugo Boss, the British clothing company. Their son is famous for his walking the mast video and others for Hugo Boss commercials. He competed in the Route du Rhom that ended here last November. Sailing solo from France (a 7- 8  day race) means that sleeping is part of the routine, although you can’t stop and must keep the boat “up to speed”. Alex’s normal routine was to sleep in 20 or so minute periods and set his watch to send a tiny electric shock to wake him up after that time. Imagine how tired you would be after a week of competitive sailing with only cat naps!

Alex's boat in Antigua after the race
Alex's boat in Antigua after the race


In any case he was near the end of the race, at the north end of Guadeloupe when his watch failed to send the required shock to wake him. Seemed the battery died and as a result he overslept. Unfortunately, there were rocks and small islands in the way while he slept. The shock that woke him was not from the watch.

The winner of the Route du Rhom 2018
The winner of the Route du Rhom 2018


He needed to start his engine to get the boat off the rock and automatically earned a 24 hour penalty. For him the race was over. We saw his boat in Antigua last month. This reminded me of running Kalunamoo over some nasty rocks in St. Thomas a few years ago. No penalty for me other than a week on the hard patching the hole. The lesson is that these islands can be hard on a boat and one must be ever vigilant. On the other hand, the Road to the Rum is not a bad road at all. We’ll be here in Guadeloupe for a little bit longer.  

Current Blog Article: Guadeloupe 1/28/2019 07:39