After more than three weeks in Antigua we headed off to Deshaies, Guadaloupe yesterday, a bumpy and fast 50 mile run south to the next island. This tiny harbor is a popular spot with cruisers and yet, when the wind is up, can be a tricky place to anchor, with winds that can really whip down off of the mountains overlooking the harbor.
It can also be quite unpleasant with a nasty wrap-around swell that can make it really rolly. Aren’t I making it sound just so great?
In fact, the town dock can be so bumpy that the decking is sometimes removed to keep it from being blown off by the waves. When I went in to clear Pandora yesterday I found the dock “topless” only an open framework and no deck to walk on. I had to find another way ashore.
The clearing in process here is such a contrast to Antigua with it’s multiple stops and fees, just so English. Here you just visit a local T-shirt shop, fill out a one page form on a PC and you’re done. As a point of comparison, when I checked Pandora out of Antigua the bill for two months in the harbor, not counting mooring fees, came to $250US. These fees were in addition to our mooring and dockage fees. By contrast, my fees yesterday, clearing into Guadeloupe came to a total of $4 Euro. “Nope, we don’t charge a lot. Just go buy some of our French wine and cigarettes. What you don’t smoke. It’s never too late to start!”
Anyway, we are here in Deshaies and it’s lovely. The village is impossibly charming with a little French bakery and loads of, you guessed it, French restaurants to choose from. As we got here fairly late yesterday, we ate aboard and enjoyed a bottle of rose, some French cheese and cured meats that I purchased in a charming little shop. Yum! No, make that Triple Yum.The harbor can be crowded and arriving late in the day we had to anchor fairly far out in 40′ of water. It was a bit rolly but this morning we were able to move in closer and it’s much more settled. At 25′ deep you can clearly see the bottom. Schools of pilchards or sardines, swim around the boat as well as dolphins and turtles. It’s quite a spot. Sorry, no photos. Have you ever tried to take a photo of a dolphin or turtle. Good luck catching them at the perfect moment.
Oh yeah, it’s wash day. Well at least the whites that I hand washed in a mix of ammonia and water. It works very well and brightens up dingy grey items a bit.
There isn’t much wind right now as the trades are low which is a good time to visit. Interestingly, while the trades are always from the east, this harbor has an onshore light westerly wind, a sort of Station Wagon effect, where the wind blows over the mountains and curls around 180 degrees in the lee of the island.
This means that when you approach an island that is mountainous the wind will abruptly shift 180 degrees within a few miles, an odd experience.
We will likely be here for a few days or longer and then may head back to Antigua to await the arrival of our new compressor for the fridge. The old one is still working but I fear that each day may be it’s last. Fingers crossed that the new one will be ready to ship before the old one is kaput.
Not sure about our next destination, Antigua or somewhere to the south, but getting the new compressor unit installed will be fairly easy in Antigua as opposed to somewhere else where I don’t have any contacts. I guess that will depend on how long it takes till the new unit is ready to ship as I don’t want to spend all season in Antigua, as nice as it is.
If we do head back to Antigua we are looking forward to a reception like this that greeted a recent arrival from the Talisker’s Whisky Atlantic Challenge rowing race. “Welcome back, Bob and Brenda. We are so happy you are back! We missed you so much!”They would be waving American flags, I’d expect. “Here they come! I see them coming into the harbor. Yes, It’s Pandora, I see them, both Bob and Brenda are aboard! YES!!!”“No wait, it’s only a little rowboat.”Never mind. For now, it’s great to be somewhere that is “just so French”. Can I have another baguette?