With weather forecasting some large northerly swells and strong winds, we decided to head into the very well protected bay of Pointe-a- Pitre on the south side of Guadalupe. It’s not a scenic place as it’s near the container ship docks and the power plant but it’s convenient to town and as we learned last year it’s to be a good place to wait out weather and swells. Guadeloupe is actually two large islands separated by a river. It’s a good island to explore by car and a good spot to provision and do work on the boat.
We waited for breeze to fill in and headed to Guadalupe enjoying a lovely sail along the way. We threw out a line and tried to catch a fish but only caught sargasso weed. We sailed right into the harbor but had to anchor four times before finding a spot we were comfortable with. The bottom was soft mud and Mermaid is a very heavy boat so we just seemed to plow through the mud when we tried to set. We finally set next to our friends on SV Coho.
Weather reports still predicted high winds and seas but it was quite calm in the anchorage most of the time so we took advantage of the time in Pointe a Pitre to refinish the teak in Mermaid’s cockpit. Mike sanded everything down to bare wood. A task made more complicated as much of the teak is hand rails with many curves and hard to reach spots then put several coats of Cetol on. The teak in the cockpit went from looking shabby to fabulous and the Mermaid Lounge was ready for business.
It wasn’t all hard work and no play… we ended up extending our stay because friends kept showing up. We enjoyed evenings with friends in a cockpit for sundowners and a night aboard Kalunamoo with Oasis for a jam session.
We rented a car one day and took off on a tour of Basse Terre, the bigger and higher island on Guadeloupe along with our Romanian friends Sorin and Ana of SV Mehalah. We took a hike in the rain forest to see the Chute du Corbet waterfall. Driving up the west side of the island we happened upon Fort Louis Delgres and went in to check it out. Much to our surprise the fort was in amazingly great shape and it seemed much work was being done. There was even a brand new museum inside and we were impressed because it was all free! We did inquire as to the work being done and found out that the museum should be finished in March and we assume and will not be free any longer. Good timing! The fort has a long and twisted history. It was originally built by the French but later stormed and captured by the English. Years later the French recaptured it. The cycle repeated itself many times and the fort was renamed and added onto dozens of times through the years.
Heading back over the hill a traffic accident stopped us on the road through the middle of the island and we were stuck for quite a while. Just as the police finished clearing that accident, another one happened right in front of us. The roads in the rain forest were quite slick. Because of the road delay we didn’t have time to do the next hike we hoped to do in daylight and headed back to the harbor with a stop at a grocery along the way.