They often say that if you don’t like the weather, wait a few hours. In the case of the Caribbean, one thing you can sadly count on is that most of the anchorages can not be counted on to be calm. Sure, there are places that are predictably calm, but they are not the norm. More often than not, it’s uncertain as to whether you will be sitting pretty or perhaps holding on to your wine, hoping for the best.
After a week of really strong winds in Deshaies, we were pleased to head to Dominica for the Salty Dawg Rendezvous, a harbor, more of a roadstead, that is generally pretty calm.
However, not this time and while it was very calm when we arrived, within a few days there was a long swell coming into the harbor, something that we have not seen there very often. And, to complicate things, there was almost no wind so we rocked back and forth in a very unpleasant way, hour after hour. Our friend Bill on Kalunamoo has a “roll-scale” that rates the severity of rolling at anchor on a scale of 1-7 with 1 being the most benign and 7, well not so great. At the worse, we definitely had a 7, making it difficult to sleep or move around the cabin. And, with no wind, uncommon for the Caribbean, it was hot and sticky too.
And for our week long visit there was nearly always a swell, tossing Pandora back and forth uncomfortably and on a few days, right up there with the worse we have ever encountered. Dishes were crashing back and forth in cabinets and anything that was not tied down and well secured, was tossed to the floor. It was exhausting and as you can imagine, Brenda was not amused.
On Monday, following the big final dinner in Dominica, we headed, no escaped, to Les Saintes, about 25 miles north, and one of our favorite places.
As a rule, this place can be rolly as well because it is somewhat exposed to the north so any sort of northerly swell, wraps right around into the harbor. When we were experiencing the very strong winds in Guadeloupe, this place was apparently totally untenable, with swells coming into the anchorage that were terrible.
When we headed up here yesterday we really didn’t know what to expect and to our happy surprise, we were able to get a mooring close in and it is as calm as we have ever seen it. What a relief.
It is a really beautiful bit of France in the Caribbean.
Les Saintes are a small archipelago of islands just south of Guadeloupe. Just to put this in context, here’s a chart that shows the islands from Antigua, upper right, do Dominica, to the south. Pandora is the red mark.
For a closer look… Again, Pandora is where the red mark is. That is the primary island and while there are a few cars, most of the island transport is via golf cart and scooter. The streets are buzzing, literally, with every form of small transport. Every day hundreds of tourists stream in via ferry to the island.
The island is very French and there is a good variety of food in the shops and a bakery that sells all matter of baked goods. Nothing like a warm baguette or croissant in the morning.
We have been here many times over the years, but this earlier post gives a good feel for what the French islands have to offer and Les Saintes in particular.
This shot is of a local fishing boat coming back. There was a good crowd working to put the nets out to dry.
I didn’t see any evidence of the catch as I expect it had been hauled away by the time I was on the scene. However, that didn’t stop the locals from hanging out with the hope of snagging castoffs.
As we sat in Dominica and were tossed aside in the swell, we were anxious to get underway to Le Saintes with the hope of finding a more settled spot to spend a few days before heading south again, this time to Martinique, one of our favorite islands.
After a week in Deshaies, with crazy winds, down to Dominica for a nice visit that began with calm conditions but ended up crazy rolly and now back here in Les Saintes, with some of the calmest conditions we’ve seen here, ever, we are reminded once again that things change. But for now, it’s beautiful and we are enjoying the peace and quiet.
It seems that more than a few Salty Dawg boats had the same idea of escaping to Les Saintes and the swell of Dominica. Now, with a number of Dawgs in the harbor, I thought it would be fun to organize a cocktail visit at one of the local eateries on shore for tonight.
Brenda has a zoom fiber event but will be done around 6:00 so that’s when we will head ashore.
Yes, I’m glad to be back in France again. I’ll take another baguette, croissant, some wine and… Well, the lists just goes on and on. But first cocktails with the Dawgs
But, best of all, it’s great to be in the calm again. Well, at least for now. Fingers crossed…
Heck, being in France makes me want to head to the Med, but that’s another story so stay tuned for more on that score.