Sunday, March 12, 2017

1980 (4) - Guadeloupe

A poster I made using a shot of Tropic Moon in Barque Cove, Guadeloupe

To go to the beginning of this book, Tropic Moon: Memories, click HERE.

February 24, 1980

We returned to English Harbor from our week at Green Island, expecting to find a good deal of mail waiting for us, including two sets of photographs, and letters that my Mom had told me were on the way.  All we found was one letter.  I started looking through the other mail boxes, and discovered a Christmas card in the cigar box labeled “N.”  I guess that makes us Tropic Noon!  We plan to leave for Guadeloupe, mail or no mail. We’ll stop in Antigua on our way north again.

I wanted to learn more about navigation, so Ed told me I was in charge of planning the trip to Guadeloupe.  He said to keep in mind that we should reach the northern coast around dawn, and Basse Terre, on the southwest coast, before sunset.  I worked things out, and got Ed’s approval.  I had us leaving the following day at 6:30 p.m. for an overnight sail.  That morning, Ed tells me he’s decided to wait another day, and do a day sail.  He says we’ll anchor in a bay on the northwest coast, and go on to Basse Terre (the capital) the following day.  So much for my trip planning!  I was writing to my Mom, and turned to Ed to ask him something about Basse Terre.  Then he tells me he’s thinking about skipping that city altogether.  He changes his mind every half hour.  I told him I was going to hang him from the mast by his fingernails.  Only God knows what we’re going to do, and even He must wonder sometimes.  In any case, I prefer doing the passage to Guadeloupe as a day sail.  I like to see where we’re going.  Now the plan is to leave at dawn.

Tropic Moon, Barque Cove, Guadeloupe

March 3, 1980

We had a good sail from Antigua to Guadeloupe.  As Guadeloupe is almost directly south of Antigua, we were able to make the trip as a day sail, and did the 42 miles in seven hours.  It’s always such a pleasure to be able to sail directly from one place to the next!  We didn’t tack until we entered Deshaises Bay on the northwest coast of Guadeloupe.  Lots of sailboats stop in Deshaises Bay overnight, heading north or south.  About ten different boats were in the bay with us, each of the three nights we were there.  There’s a very small town at Deshaises Bay.  With my limited French, we cleared customs, exchanged some money, and bought groceries. 

Tropic Moon, Barque Cove, Guadeloupe

A sailboat named Planktos, which had been anchored near us at Green Island, left English Harbor for Guadeloupe about an hour before us.  We saw them in Deshaises Bay, and were invited over for drinks.  Even though you’ve never spoken to someone, after you’ve seen them enough times, and waved from the dinghy, you feel a tenuous sort of connection.  Grey and Susan were from New Jersey, where he was a professor of marine biology.  He was on sabbatical to study the growth of coral off Antigua’s coast.  I had wondered why they’d spent so much time off in their dinghy while at Green Island.  It turned out they were busy selecting specimens of coral, and dyeing them purple by covering the coral with plastic bags, and injecting the dye into the bags.  While they’re waiting for the coral to grow, they’re vacation/cruising through the southern islands.  Then they’ll sail back to Antigua and, hopefully, be able to find the corals they dyed.  They tried marking them by tying bits of yarn to trees or bushes on shore.  It sounded to me like a combination of “watching a rock grow” with “finding a needle in a haystack.”

Postcard, Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe is a large island, but didn’t have much of interest for a cruising sailor.  We spent three nights in Deshaises Bay, then sailed about half way down the western coast, and spent two nights in a small bay called Barque Cove.  We hiked around the bay, and got some lovely shots of Tropic Moon at anchor.

Postcard, Guadeloupe

South of the main island of Guadeloupe is a small group of islands called the Iles des Saintes.  These are also French islands, and belong to Guadeloupe.  The Saints would be our next port of call.

Postcard, Guadeloupe

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