Friday, May 17, 2013

Les Saintes, Guadeloupe


A few miles south of Guadeloupe is a group of small islands called The Saintes.  We had heard from other boaters how much they loved these little islands.  It is a beautiful place, with gorgeous sunsets every night.  The small town is very French.  Ferries run all day long bringing tourists from Guadeloupe over to spend the day on the main island of Les Saintes.  On of the interesting things about visiting the French islands is the mid day siesta.  Just about every shop in town closes from 1pm till 4pm.  Which can sometimes make it difficult, when you show up to go to the store for some quick groceries, and they are all closed for the afternoon.  Just one of those neat experiences, different from at home. 


We anchored behind the piton hill call Pan de Sucre. The other nearby anchorages required picking up a mooring ball or anchoring far behind the mooring field in a more exposed area.  We like this small quieter anchorage.   Behind the beach on shore was a resort that nicely provided us with internet access while we were there. 


We enjoyed our week stay in The Saintes.  We took the tender around all the islands exploring the area, and saw a few beautiful looking anchorages, but with only 2 towns in the whole area, we would not have had internet access if we had switched to one of these beautiful remote anchorages. On some of the islands the bushes were growing in a diagonal pattern from the wind.  If you look at the picture above you will see what I mean.  The greenery seems to swoop up diagonally.  The wind blows so much that they are pushed in this direction, it creates a pretty manicured look.


We enjoyed snorkeling right from the boat out to the cliffs off the island.  And towards the piton on a different day.  There are numerous other snorkeling sites in the area had we wanted to take the tender out to them.  It was nice to just jump in from the boat and swim for the afternoon.  We had noticed there were so many baby fish everywhere.  It is spring, and the eggs have hatched.  The kids convinced David to set up the trampoline for them to play on off the back of the boat.  We hadn’t had that out since we left the BVI’s.


We visited Fort Napoleon on Terre D’Haut above the town.  It was about a mile hike uphill to get to the Fort perched on the hill.  It is a small fort with nice displays on what it was like shortly after Columbus came to island.  It also included a history of the battle fought on the water over the islands.


They put this fort in the right place.  The view from the top of the hill is incredible.  Just beautiful.  We enjoyed looking out over the islands and anchorages.



On the walk down from the fort the kids decided to split it up into races.  They had fun running down the hill to the next switchback and stopping.  They even let Matthew win a time or two.  Sometimes we would add more challenge, by skipping, or hopping, or going backwards.IMG_7826IMG_7872IMG_7879IMG_7900

David and I were able to get in a couple of Dives while we were there.  We hadn’t been diving since Saba, since I hadn’t gotten sick.  It was a whole new experience diving with the French.  First of all, it was more expensive than any of the other places we had been diving.  They only go out for 1 dive at a time.  And you have to get all your gear ready – even if you are renting.  Then carry and swim your heavy gear out to the dive boat, then load it onto the boat.  After your dive you swim and carry your gear back to the shop, unattach it, and wash it off.  All the other places we have been diving—they do all the work for you, it’s part of what you are paying for.  So not only did we pay more here, we had to do all the work ourselves.  But that is the way it is here in these French islands.  Another first for us was entering the water with a back roll off the side of the boat.  I was a little freaked out I would smack my head, but not at all.  It went smoothly entering the water this way.


Our first dive site was La Baliene, (the whale).  It was very pretty with lots of colorful sponges, boulders and canyons and tons of fish, especially baby fish.  We saw a turtle, and lots of drum fish, and a couple of eels.  The next morning on our dive we headed south to a spot called The Virgin.  It was also very pretty and colorful and full of fish.

Soon it was time to head south again.  This time we were headed all the way to St. Lucia where we would leave the boat for a few months to head home to Idaho.


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