It’s a short day sail from Dominica up to Guadeloupe but it’s light years away culturally. Much of Dominica is unspoiled paradise with the many of the inhabitants living off the land. Tourism is in it’s infancy and the Kalinango Indians, whom the Spanish called Caribs and after which the Caribbean is named have a reservation on the island. Much of Guadeloupe is filled with big resorts and tourism is in full swing with several cruise ships often tied to the quay. We began our visit there anchored in Point a Pitre, the largest city and capital to escape a large north swell that was heading down from the North Atlantic. We explored Guadeloupe in a rental car with our old friends from sailing the South Pacific, John and Ellie of SV Serenity and had a fantastic lunch near Pointe Des Chateaux where the Atlantic swells crash against the dramatic rock formations on the south east tip of the island. The place was just a trailer with some plastic tables and chairs and tables but with out toes in the sand under blue sky with puffy with clouds we supped and drank rose. There were several Ocean Cruising Club boats in the anchorage so we opened the Mermaid Lounge for sundowners several evenings where Ti Punch, a French West Indies concoction of rum, lime juice and simple syrup flowed.
When the north swell subsided we headed for Les Saintes, a group of small islands off the south coast Guadeloupe. Les Saintes looks like it might have been snatched up from the Riviera and dropped in the West Indies. The culture is distinctly French. The small town is full of tourists and the streets are lined with quaint restaurants, souvenir shops and of course French bakeries or boulangeries. The Croissants, Pain Chocolate and baguettes were heavenly. We always bought two baguettes because they were so irresistible we rarely made it back to the boat before eating one. We also enjoyed some great snorkeling and often brought along a apres snorkel ti punch to enjoy while chilling in the dingy.