When I think about Brenda and me aboard our first boat, a 20′ Cape Cod Catboat, way back in 1979, making weekend voyages measured in a few days and runs of a dozen miles at most, I can’t believe that I am writing this post from near Guadalupe of all places.
I can tell you that I NEVER imagined I’d be here much less sailing around tropical waters together for months at a time each winter. I am indeed a very lucky guy. And speaking of Brenda, here she is from yesterday at Fort Napoleon with Guadaloupe in the distance. And, to do this with Brenda, the very same woman who has a photo of me from our senior prom wearing a light blue powder blue tux with dark blue piping, all the while sporting a particularly dashing Dutch-boy haircut. I guess she wasn’t thinking “power blue tux” or sailing thousands of miles with me for that matter, when she said “yes” over forty years ago. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? Oops!
I guess Ill leave it at that for now. Don’t want to jinx it.
Anyway, yesterday we rented a golf cart to tour the island with our new cruiser friends on Hi Flight. Unlike the one we rented a few years ago in Rum Cay Bahamas with our friends Dick and Anne of Nati, this one even had brakes. Good thing as the hills were very, very steep. Steep hills make for spectacular views. Is there possibly any more spectacular view anywhere? Here’s Dominica in the distance. Actually, it’s looking good for us to visit there for a few days beginning tomorrow before we head back to Antigua. Each beach was more beautiful than the next.
With views from the fort like this, it would have been tough for anyone to sneak up on the French unless they were busy eating croissants and drinking local rum.
The fort had all the comforts of home for those Napoleonic soldiers, if in a severe masonry sort of way. I doubt that they played cricket in this courtyard. “Sacrebleu! Banish the thought you English sympathizer you… To the guillotine!” It seems that there were regular cruise line routes from France to Guadeloupe in the days before transatlantic air travel was common. This cruise line poster was on display in the museum for the Ile de France, a steamship liner that my mother Shirley traveled to Europe aboard after graduating from college in the early 50s. She was in good company as Christopher Columbus also sailed the ocean blue although a few years before, aboard the Santa Maria. Yes, I realize that was an awkward segue. Anyway, here’s a nice model of his ship in the museum. I’ll bet that this fort kitchen got plenty hot. “Napoleon! Napoleon! your baguettes will be out of the oven soon. It’s so frigging hot in here so hurry up!”I mentioned in a recent post that Brenda and I used to grow orchids so we are always attracted to them in our travels. This one was in spike but not yet flowering. I expect that the flowers are small and green, not terribly showy. The plant is huge with “bulbs” over 1′ long. The flower spikes are nearly 5′ long. The fort was in active use for only about 10 years. Unfortunately, the museum descriptions were all in French and there wasn’t much about the history of the fort itself and what it might have looked like prior to restoration. However, it’s obvous that a lot of time has been spent restoring it over the years. Impressive attention to detail.
Perhaps I’ll close with the view from where we had lunch yesterday. Not to shabby. Even better, the food was French. So, here we are in the Caribbean with plans to come back next winter. Me and Brenda, and I for one, never imagined that this would happen so many years ago as I dressed for the prom in my powder blue tux. Hey wait, it was almost the color of the water here. Perhaps it was an omen?
So here we are in Guadeloupe. And all I can say is “Really?”
Tomorrow, on to Dominica.