Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Saintes

We are enjoying our time in The Saintes.  We have managed to hook up with 4 other yachts and have been doing stuff with them.  Yesterday the 10 of us tackled the highest hill in the area.  It was 1030 feet, about 300 m to you younger folks.  It was a beautiful day for a walk and the views were magnificent. There was a small fortress at the top and we scrambled up to the second floor and leaned out the window.

If you look across the bay, the day before we walked up the tallest hill on the north side and visited the very nicely restored Fort Napolean that is there.  There was a museum within the fort and I was even able to translated some of the exhibits.  They had
 a mock up of the naval battle that took place just south of here between here and Dominica in the middle 1800's. 

In the background you can see the tallest hill which we climbed as well as the small fortress that is at the top, it is the rectangular structure at the top of the hill.  

An exhibit in the museum, a beautiful example of an antique bed, I just loved the wood, so rich and solid.  I think it would have been too short for Barry though and as I had my doubts that it would fit in our boat I did not attempt to purchase it!! There are a number of other walks we want to take, one to the far side of the island and there is yet another hill to climb.   I searched for good dive sites and apparently on the west side of Guadaloupe there is a Jacques Couteau reserve so we are going to head thereafter we leave here.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Marie Gallant

Who would have thought of an island called Marie Gallant, she apparently was one of Christopher Columbus' ships, but who was the ship named after, something to google I guess! The island is part of the country of Guadaloupe, which belongs to France. Unlike the Islands that used to belong to Britain none of the small French, Caribbean islands have become independent. We still have to fly the French flag in Martinique, Guadaloupe and I think St. Martin, they have the Euro as their currency and we have noticed that the docks in all the small town in the French islands are in much better shape as are
their roads. There are a lot of people here of European ancestry and their custom of topless sunbathing is continued on the beaches here. Seeing an overweight 50 something women bobbling
around in the surf is not appealing but I have to admire their willingness to flaunt the main stream media's idea that being thin is beautiful and any amount of body fat must be dieted, sucked or tucked away!!
We had a great trip over from Dominica, making it in one long tack and we weren't even slammed around too much by the waves.  It was only 25 miles, we can see our next destination, The Saints, more Guadaloupean Islands which are only 16 miles away.
We rented a car and did a tour of the island, we stopped at two ruins of former rum factories, stopped In at a current rum factory, stared at a few 200 year old windmills, checked out a beautiful beach, some great cliffs and an awesome geological formation.  

We arrived at the capital and anchored in the small harbour.  we thought we had picked a good spot but when the ferry came in, it came very very close to use when it was time to back out.

We then spent 3 days at one of the beautiful beach anchorages, the sand was great and our anchor really dug in so no worries about dragging.  
We sailed across to The Saintes another group of Guadaloupean islands.  It is very touristy here and there are lots of yachts, as opposed to about 8 in the anchorage at Marie Gallant.  We neede fresh food, our laundry done and access to the internet.   There is another old fort here to explore, apparently there are lots of hiking paths and we even know 3 boats that are here.   We will probably stay awhile. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


We left Martinique a few days ago and we are now anchored at the north end of Dominica.
Christopher Columbus landed here on a Sunday and came up with the original name of Dominica,
Sunday in His language. I guess if Captain Cook could name a series of islands in the Torres Strait north of Australia, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Christopher is allowed Dominica!
Mom left us on Jan. 9 and presumably is safely back in Winnipeg fighting off the Canadian winter,  I told her to think of us basking in the sun when she was cold (with envy) and when she was lying in her tub soaking in a nice hot bath (with relief) as we shower with our 3 litre container of water.  We had a good sail up here about 55 nm.  The passage between the islands was pretty rough with a 2 1/2 m swell but a bit of a wash tub effect.  The wind was on the beam though and we made excellent time averaging over 6 knots. 

Dominica is one of the poorest Caribbean Islands and thus is rather unspoiled with not a lot of big touristy type establishments. We took a trip up the Indian River which is a world heritage site.  It was very green and lots of big roots along the edge of the river.  Some of the scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were shot on this site.  There are a lot of hiking trails on the island. 

Today we explored a fort that was built by the British and the French and then beautifully restored in the 1980's.  There was a rocky trail that led up to the nearby peak and we hiked up it.  I hope to do some more hikes in the next few days.  We will probably stay here until next Sunday or Monday, or maybe longer if we find some more good hikes and Barry's ankle holds out.  

Thursday, January 02, 2014

85 Year Old Great Grandmother Loses Her Touch

Enquiring minds want to know why an 85 year old great grandmother has had two consecutive failures when making her famous " Grandma Buns".  She is currently soaking up the Caribbean sun aboard her daughter's yacht, Cat's-Paw IV.  Her first catastrophic failure occured Christmas Eve when the buns failed to rise and came out of the oven resembling Canadian hockey pucks. Great minds pondered the question and the failure was attributed to ancient, heat damaged yeast. New yeast was purchased and on New Years Day a second attempt was made.  Olfactory glands were in high gear and mouths were watering in anticipation. Her buns are beloved by the family and friends, the recipe reproduced faithfully by at least three grandchildren. Grandma Buns are produced on every special occasion, they are usually a fluffy, light brown airy delicacy which melt in your mouth. 
On New Year's Day the dough achieved a normal initial rising, buns were formed and an hour later popped into the oven. Alas, pale hard hockey pucks once again emerged. Hair was torn out, wailing was heard from the depths of Cat's-Paw IV.  WHAT could have gone wrong again.
This time the suspect was aging floor, or could it possibly be that villain sea level, or perhaps Grandma is losing her touch!!! A third attempt is contemplated but the baker is hesitant, what if she fails again?Stay tuned!