June 02, 2024

The next island after Dominca is Guadeloupe. It's amazing how the Leewards just line up for you and give you a natural path to follow. You barely even need to navigate. You get to the tip of one island, and you can see the next, standing up from the sea in a large blue/green hazy mass.

Like Martinique, Guadeloupe is just another part of France. They pay in Euros, fly the French Courtesy Flag, and immediately attempt to surrender their country to visiting Germans (kidding). I thought it would just be more of the same as Martinique, but my impression of Guadeloupe is better. (Bear in mind that I've seen relatively little of either place.)

We stopped first at Terre de Haute, a pretty little town on a pretty little island. We were low on gasoline for the dinghy, and we ran dry about a quarter mile away from the dinghy dock. V and I rowed the rest of the way in, and I'm expecting ripped deltoids to appear any second now.

It turns out that we had arrived at a tropical French version of Macinac Island. There were actually a few cars, but most traffic was scooter, golf cart, and by foot. The reason is that there isn't a gas station on the island! We were anchored pretty far out, so this was a probleem.

We walked around doing our tourist thing for a bit, and then found another cruiser who had a couple of gallons of gas to spare. We had enough to get back to Velvet Elvis, and then enough to dinghy over to the next island in the morning for a complete fill up.

But that night, the rain came, and we still had the drain plug in the dinghy. Our partially empty fuel can floated, rolled over, and deposited the cruiser's generosity into the ocean via the gas tank's air valve.

We had to weigh anchor, motor to the next island, and then drop anchor in a very pitchy sea and a light rain. A guy who spoke no English was fishing near by, and he motored over and through sign language offered to run us in, saving us the task of dropping the dinghy and rowing through the slop. The sea was rough enough that I very nearly went swimming both when trying to get on and get off of his skiff.

We retured to our original anchorage and spent more time in the town, but a lot of things were closed (Sunday), and it was still raining.

From there, we sailed to Bouillante, a resort-y town on the West coast. We went to an island that is part of a protected park and snorkeled amongst a bunch of French tourists who had kayaked over from the main land. The beach there was prettier than the snorkeling, but it was fun nevertheless. On shore that night, we ate pretty well. Guadeloupe can cook!

The next day, we sailed to Deshaies, on the northwest corner of the main island. The anchorage was beautiful. I got some time to swim and paddle board around the bay, but I never did end up going ashore. H and V confirm that it was another nice little place.

Terre de Haute
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