Antigua, so yesterday! Guadeloupe today!

afresh It’s a beautiful day here in Deshais Guadeloupe.  Not sure what this is all about but at daybreak yesterday morning in Antigua this unusual cloud formation appeared.  It’s not a jet trail. We made the 45 mile crossing to Guadeloupe in sporty conditions from Antigua yesterday, where Pandora had been since we arrived in mid November.   Along the way we were hit by a squall with near 30kt winds.  Brenda was not amused. The sail was sporty, fast and we averaged over 8kts on a close reach.   As we passed Montserrat, we could clearly see the smoke from the volcano. Here is the view of the town of Deshais, Guadeloupe that greeted me this morning.Deshais is a charming little French village on the NW end of Guadeloupe.  The harbor, more of an indent in the island actually, is very tiny and the bottom drops off rather fast as you get a few hundred yards from shore.   To port is an impossibly steep cliff.The down dinghy dock is very large but sometimes the wrap-around swell from the ocean makes it unusable.  In those cases the town pulls off the wooden top of the dock to keep it from being wrecked.  It’s amazing how clear the water is.   Pandora is anchored in about 30′ of water and you can see the bottom.   This shot, off of the dock, gives a feel for the beautiful color of the water.  Hard to believe that it’s about 6′ deep here. Pretty nice beaches too.  Of course, baguettes, foie gras (not frowned upon here) and many wonderful cheeses in the stores.  Unlike stores in the US where soda, chips and, God forbid, fried pork rinds, take up multiple isles, here the mix is very different where even the smallest grocery has a great selection of pates and cheeses, not to forget loads of rum and wine choices.  I do know the word for rose, it’s rose but with a funny thing over the e.  I so wish that I had paid attention…

After a croissant and coffee, at the local boulangerie of course, we went for a short walk up the of “river”, more of a stream.  It was very peaceful.   Babbling brook. No idea what this flower is called.  In town we did a bit of provisioning.  Chicken on the hoof anyone?  What sort of dish can you make with chicks?  Chicklets?Mainstreet is very charming.  Lots of colorful shops. A lovely church. A bit of excitement.  Some sort of rescue mission going on on the hill overlooking town.  Hope it was a drill. One of the crew was dropped on a cable a moment later. Unlike in Antigua where checking into the country involves going from window 1 to window 2, window 3 and back to window 1 again and then to window 4 to pay, here you clear in at a kiosk in a T shirt shop.  One and done.  “That will be 5 euros please”, up from 3 a year ago. Inflation.

This is an important fishing port for the island and before daybreak many of the boats head out to sea, gently rocking Pandora on her anchor.    The teacup harbor where the boats are stored is protected by a large stone breakwater. To the side is another wall that lines the river that feeds into the harbor.  It’s more of a stream actually.   When the surge in the harbor is too big and they have to dismantle the top of the dock, you can bring your dink up here into calm waters.   This sign says “no swimming!”  See, I can speak French after vall. Here’s someone who decided to dock here for the day.  I fear that if I spent time alone in the Caribbean, without Brenda, this would be me in a few years.  Can you say “man bun?”  I do already have shades like his.   Somehow I doubt that they are trifocals though. And speaking of civilization.  I came upon a local tourist office, set up to give information to folks off of a small cruise ship that was visiting the harbor today.  They had lovely flower arrangements on the table and I asked if there was somewhere I could purchase some flowers for Brenda.

The lovely ladies offered me their flowers so as not to let Brenda go wanting.  It was such a nice gesture.  “Here, let me yank your lovely arrangement apart.  Quick, look away.  Run!”  Not wanting to seem to grabby.  “Sorry Bob… too late. You are grabby”.  I asked one of them to pick for me.   Excellent choices.   And, delivered with a smile! Quick!  Back to Pandora.  Can’t let them wilt.  Well trained after 50 years…

Some late afternoon entertainment from a small sloop.  It was plenty windy and these boats don’t have internal ballast.  Notice how the boom is bending.  They are full keel and this one looks like it was brand new.  A gust of wind.  These boats are very heavily canvased.  Everyone hike out!Like most days, a late afternoon squall.  Rainbow!And about 20 minutes later.  Rainbow #2.  It landed right on the church.  “Jesus, look at that!”  No, I take it back.  That was bad taste. What a beautiful place.  It’s going to be hard to leave.  Well, unless we drag in one of those strong wind gusts that Deshais is known for.  Then I’ll have to add Honduras to the list.

Tomorrow, what to do?  So many choices…

I love Antigua but, well, for the moment, I guess it’s love the one we are with.  Guadeloupe is just so today.   Well, for today anyway.

I do love those baguettes though.

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