Perfect cruising weather for a trawler - no wind and flat seas. The sailor friends we have met along the way are cursing..... not their kind of weather! This weather is unusual we’re told and we are taking advantage of it, stopping in places that would be difficult or impossible to stop in on our return during the winter months with much rougher seas and the howling Christmas winds.
We were so thrilled to be able to cruise along the south side of Montserrat rather than having to traverse up and around the north side toward Guadeloupe. With no wind and no waves and no ash blowing from the volcano, it was safe to make the run past it.
|Montserrat in our 'rear view mirror'|
|So awesome is Montserrat|
The view from this side is again a reminder of how power mother nature can be - vast swatches of earth that slid down into the sea and a clear view of the huge volcanic crater atop the mountain.
|Look at that power and it is only steam vents (at the moment)|
|Whale feeding at the surface|
|Pigeon Island - both of these|
Suddenly I was startled by a loud honking of a horn as I neared Finally Fun. A tour boat was yelling at Andy that he was moored to ‘their’ mooring and we had to move. Well, we had two guide books aboard that said private yachts were to moor to (a) the white one and (b) the red ones. We’d been confused by the conflicting information and never saw a red one, so grabbed the white. Nope, seems we were to grab a YELLOW one, of which there were only two. Scrambling back on board, I unhooked us as fast as I could and we pulled out. Andy suddenly pointed at the water and said WHAT IS THAT? Bubbles everywhere, like a giant something was in the water. Realization hit - ANDY, get away from here - those are SCUBA DIVERS in the water! Scary moments - we passed near them and I hoped they were WELL BELOW. People chum won’t do it for anyone!
|Circling Pigeon Island|
In a few minutes, here comes that English speaking couple in their dink -- “HELLO! Are you hooked up OK?” We met Krista & Bill Nugent, from a small town in Canada, just north of Maine, who have been cruising these islands for 4 years now aboard their 58‘ sailboat, Secoudon. What do boaters always do? “Hi, come aboard, the wine is chilled and the beer is cold!” After introductions and cold beer, back intp the Caribbean Sea we flopped...snorkeling all about until we had seen it all - with Andy watching from the deck. He so wishes he’d purchased that T-shirt he saw in St. Martin.....”Same s h i t , different island”.
|Andy photo shopped OUT the middle finger for the sensitive types|
Deciding to go back around to the other side of the island where Krista and Bill had snorkeled earlier in the day, we hopped into their dink, snorkeling till nearly dark. (NOT Andy!)
The south side of Pigeon Island is the best for snorkeling, with more coral, crevices and a little more color than the north side where we are moored.
|Krista & Sharon|
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Bill and Krista were such a wealth of information about places to go and things to see, given their four years of cruising these islands. I so hope Andy will ‘get into this’ more and agreed to stay longer. I could stay down in these islands forever....take this morning for example: Up at 5:00 am, I watched the sun come up over the mountains from our aft deck, sipping coffee, as I listened to the sound of birds from the tiny island beginning to chirp. I watched fish feeding all around me - slapping fins on the water to alert me to their presence. A huge turtle swam past, sticking his big head up several times and also sticking his big shell of a body up and out so I could see him more clearly. Eventually, tiny birds flew past, landing on our dink up top to rest. I left them alone, happily exchanging their bird poop for their tiny chirps as I sat below them on the deck listening and watching the water. Now, after a morning like this - Why Would Any One Want to Retire to a House with the SAME View Every Day?
We’ve changed our plans again..actually, we really don’t have a plan - just plan the next day and review the weather and charts. It’s now off to Point a’ Pitre with Krista & Bill - a place we had not planned to stop on our rush to get to Grenada by approximately June 1st. This is Guadeloupe’s largest city - described as ‘lively Creole town with a hodgepodge of old and new buildings”. We will cruise the few hours there and share a rental car to travel deeper within Guadeloupe....Never to miss an opportunity to see more, learn more and make new friends!!
May 27, 28, 2011 Friday, Saturday morning Pointe a’ Pitre, Guadaloupe
After a totally uneventful cruise from Pigeon Island to Pointe a‘ Pitre, we entered the huge harbor. Knowing we were going off in a rental car and given the fact that our generator must run for some time (too much time in my book!) to repower the batteries, we wanted to be ‘free‘ of any worry about dead/dying batteries and hailed Marina Bas-du-Fort for a slip as rates are very reasonable in the islands. In this one, power & water are included in the rate, which is a deal as electric and be VERY VERY expensive.
Ah, a new experience: One backs in, tying stern to the dock. The bow is hooked to a mooring ball, keeping the boat straight in the water. A guide boat does come out to help hook the mooring ball after you’ve thrown a stern line. Key learning: I need longer lines in this situation..... had to quickly tie two lines together at the bow as my 100’ was not enough! I also tied two lines together (75’ + 50’) for one of the stern lines. Lesson learned. I will be better prepared next time. This method of docking seems to be the norm throughout the islands...certainly cheaper than building all those smaller docks of the main one. A royal pain, however, to get off and on from the back of the boat! Short legs always have a problem!
|Bill & Krista|
|Note the tiny birds eating the food off the table|
Would you believe - we arrived on a holiday - Friday is the anniversary of the slave emancipation and everything is closed. Most things are closed on Saturday and always on Sunday. Bah. Ah well, we rented the car, driving most of the Grande Terre side of the island, along the pretty coastline.
Stopping in Le Moule for lunch in an open air restaurant overlooking the water & big waves, we amused ourselves watching tiny yellow birds eat off plates of food before the server could clear the tables.
Finally rousing ourselves, we continued our travels, enjoying all that we saw. Wandering about, we found a beach full of people, enjoying the holiday and the weather and wonderful water. A church revival complete with baptisms in the Caribbean Sea was also underway. A great day!
|So fresh & so good @ the beach|
|All hand cranked|
|Child at the beach|
|Baptism at the beach - two @ a time|
|Church group watching the baptisms|
|Local restaurant along the way|
|Typical cemetery. No born/died dates anywhere to be seen|