Martinique & Guadeloupe 31st Dec – 14th Jan

With Ged departed I made my way back to Grande Anse for a relaxing couple of days before feeling the need to move on. A day sail then took me to St Pierre for an overnight anchorage before the passage to Dominica. Decided not to stop in Dominica this time, the weather was a little unsettled very rainy just a couple of overnights anchorage at Rosseau and Portsmouth. Bit of a blow was the stove not working one morning so no tea as the fuel line had developed a leak, not surprising really I suppose as it was probably the original hose and it had perished. Evening meal problem solved by eating ashore, seared tuna on a bed of spinach and lentils, delicious. I was able to buy a new piece of fuel hose in Portsmouth next day though so was back in business.
On then to Guadelope, by passing Les Saintes this time as I had visited then twice before I headed for Pointe de Pitre. A quiet anchorage here but not the most scenic in the Caribbean with container docks and the like. Still it enable to give my dirty washing to the laundry for a much needed wash and stock up on supplies from the supermarket. It being France of course that meant cheap French wine and cheese mainly.
On the to Saint Francois out to the east of the long thin peninsular that sticks out to the Atlantic. Endless tacking that day but the wind was light and the seas flat. For that I was grateful for the entrance to St Francois is through a narrow passage in the reefs, fortunately well buoyed but with breaking waves both sides. Anchoring in the lagoon was very peaceful. I hitched hiked to Point les Chateaux next morning, it being Sunday and no buses.

Point des Chateaux
Point des Chateaux

A spectacular point and walked along the coast, found myself on a nudist beach so not having taken swimming things with me I available myself of the opportunity for a skinny dip. Further on past Pt des Gourdes another beach and a welcome beer in a bar before hitching back.

Bullock cart Marie-Galante
Bullock cart Marie-Galante

Marie-Galante was next stop, had to motor but not too far as the winds have deserted us. Anchored in St Louis Bay, a wonderful wide shallow bay with water so crystal clear. Its like the island that time forget, bullock carts used to take the rum from the distillery down to the beach and put on a raft out to a two masted barque at anchor in the bay.
Walk along the coast here around the headland to Anse Canot, just another lovely Caribbean beach. Ate ashore, “Aissiette de Creole”.
The wind was back for a passage back to the main Island, light at first so rigged the big red and white cruising chute. It got a bit of a handful when the wind piped up later and I handed it just short of rounding Pt a Launay at the southern tip of Guadeloupe. Round this and in the lee it was flat calm so motored to Riverie Sens, where I anchored off a black sand beach. The holding here was non too good, very weedy so on signs of dragging at dusk I moved on to a vacant mooring buoy.
A walk to Basse Terre, a bus to St Caude and hitched up the car park at the start of the track up the Soufriere volcano. At first through rain forest it emerges onto drier savanne before tackling the final ascent of the cone. It was a little bit misty on the top so the fine views were missing but the craters vents and fumoroles were impressive with a fine suphurous smell, well worth the effort of ascent.

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Les Saintes from Soufreire
Soufreire
Soufreire
Soufreire volcano Soufreire volcano

Next day on to Deshaises at the North of the island. Ashore time to search out Madame Sorbet with her delicious coconut flavoured sorbet. A long queue to complete departure formalities then a beer on a terrace overlooking the bay. Back at the boat time to deflate and stow the dinghy for an early start in the morning to make for Antigua.