Well, we did it. We left Antigua after nearly a month. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very nice island but the bread? Well, let’s just say that it’s not French.
Our son Christopher left two days ago to head back to San Francisco after an all too short visit. It’s the first time in a few years that we have actually seen him relaxed and not thinking about work every waking moment. He was quite disiplined about email and I don’t think he even looked once. Amazing.
However, he did spend time reading up on quantum computing. That’s what he does. Don’t know what that is? Ask him, I guess.
He explained that the papers he was reading were hard to understand (no kidding) but after the second reading he, sort of, got it.
Notice his “lobster” complexion? That’s what happens when you visit the tropics after spending 18 hours a day in a lab for months… Oops!We visited Shirley Heights on Sunday evening with about 1000 of our closest friends. It was a lot different from when Christopher and I hiked up there a few days earlier. However, what a beautiful place to watch the sunset. And, it seemed that just about every tourist in Antigua thought the same thing.
Here’s Critter and his mom. That’s what his older brother called him when he was too little to pronounce Christopher.
Our friends Bill and Maureen of Kalunamoo went with us. They are our closest cruising friends and they too spent a long time in Antigua, mostly with us. Ok, ok, how about a nice shot of Critter and his proud parents? Now that all the portraits are out of the way let’s move on to sunsets. And, you know how much I like sunsets. As Shirley Heights is considered the perfect spot to view such things, let’s have a few more shots of a remarkable display. “Bob, don’t stop… More sunsets, please.” Ok, just one more, if you insist.Before Christopher left us to fly back home, we decided to move from English Harbor to Falmouth for a change of scenery. It was amazing how lumpy it was outside of the harbor from all the strong winds. Fortunately, it’s calmed down now so we could make the run to Guadaloupe.
Remember when I mentioned that we had snagged someone else’s anchor in English Harbor when we dropped it to back down to med moor? Well we did, so we knew that we would have to hire a diver to untangle things. They followed our anchor chain all the way out to the “tangle” and attached a lift bag to our anchor and filled it up with air. Up came the anchor. I reeled in the chain, anchor, diver and all. Brenda kept Pandora in forward gear, still tied to the seawall to keep the boat us from hitting the dock. When the diver and anchor were near the bow he untied everything and we were on our way. It was quite simple. All it takes is $60U.S. Tangles are so common in English harbor that there are divers on call all day long so they can come to the rescue, for a price, at a moment’s notice. They are very busy divers.
So, after taking Christopher to the airport and drying off the tears, Brenda and I headed off for a bit of sightseeing.
We visited a, sort of, restored, sugarcane plantation called Betty’s Hope. One of the windmills used to crush the cane is still operational and does demonstrations on certain days. There were no “sails” on when we were there as they were not open. However, the native goat community was in full swing. They kept careful tabs on my every move. Some stood on a wall seemingly to say “You’re obviously not from around these parts. You can go now.”There were some “kids”, so young that their umbillical cords hadn’t yet dropped off.
Fast forward to yesterday when we headed out to make the 50 mile run to Guadaloupe. The forecast was for gradiant wind of about 10-15 kts. When going between islands the wind is strongly effected by the high peaks of the islands. As you leave the lee of an island you often see much stronger winds as they are funneled around the end of the island making the wind near the islands about 10kts stronger than the speed of the actual wind. This meant that we had winds of over 20kts as well as a passing squall to contend with as we left Antigua.
After we were about 5 miles out things settled down nicely. As we approached Guadaloupe things picked up again but backed a bit so the stronger winds were from behind the beam, giving us a pleasant run. Once we were in the lee of the island we lost much of the wind and had to turn on the motor.
That’s the drill, we have been told, when you go from island to island. Along the way we let out a fishing line. Happily, we caught a small tuna. Brenda prepared a ceviche tuna salad but without a recipe and little experience with such things, she wasn’t very happy with the results. Oh well, better luck next time. So, here we are, anchored in Deshaies harbor Guadaloupe. A picturesque fishing village. It’s beautiful and oh, so French. What a sight, a tiny village tucked into the base of the moutains.
Interestingly, clearing into a French island is so simple, unlike Antigua which involved three offices and multiple forms as well as a meaningful fee. In the French islands you can clear using a computer, in this case, at a “T” shirt shop and all for 4 Euros. I guess they know you are really more interested in a good meal so they don’t want you to waste any more time on paperwork than is absolutely required.
Everything is neat and tidy in town with a beautiful montain backdrop. I saw a lady selling ice cream out of two old fashioned hand churns. There was quite a line of folks waiting for their turn. I hadn’t yet found a way to get Euros so I couldn’t have one myself. Well, perhaps today. Guadeloupee is the first of the “islands that brush the clouds” that we have visited so we hope to spend time in the rainforest on the windward side of the island in the next day or so. So, for the next few days, we are anchored in this beautiful spot. Well, I guess I had better sign off for now as it’s time to head ashore so we can eat a croissant. Oh yeah, we had a baguette last evening with some nice cheese and a bottle of French rose. So glad to be with the French again.
I so needed a baguette. All better now.