February 28th – March 7th, 2014 (-4 on UTC)
The sail from Dominica to Iles Les Saintes had a bit less wind than our previous inter island sails,(which was fine with us!), yet another Caribbean gem and only 20 miles. We found upon arrival that the 70 moorings were all full and anchored in a bit of a rolly spot a few hundred yards west of the mooring field.
That afternoon we struggled to find the \”E-Seaclear\” office, but finally did so. We made reservations at a shore side eatery, La Frindale. The service was lovely, the food, not so much. The prices?…Well…priceless….:-)
The next morning, peering through our binoculars, a mooring came available and as they were first come/first serve, we did the \”yachting tango\” and grabbed one. The visit to the town was a lovely surprise, very French tourist hamlet; very clean. We found a great French bakery for chocolate croissants and coffee. We also welcomed Ron & Kathleen who came a day behind us. That evening we had a nice meal aboard \”Lady Amelie\” where Ron made me a great steak and Nikki, Kathleen & Ron had yellow fin tuna. Ron made a mean \”Mojito\”. I have taken to calling them \”pond scum\” for their look and their effect makes me feel like I\’ll be scum in the pond soon enough….:-)
Next day was Sunday and the local church with bells a-ringing was full. Singing could be heard over much of town. The main town, Terre de Haut (Highlands), has a history of people from the northern coast of France\’s Brittany and Normandy. Many of the locals as such have light skin and red hair. As there was no sugar cane here, no slaves were ever imported and all the locals living here have come by choice. The town has a \”small town\” French atmosphere with several restaurants and shops along the shoreline of this small islets protected western shore.
As March has arrived, we were feeling the need to keep moving. There is still more of the Caribbean to see than we have seen so far! Hurricane season isn\’t that far off. We decided as such, to miss Pointe a Pitre, the main town and big time Mega Yacht harbor. It would have been a 20 mile sail straight upwind and then a 20 mile return to continue on the lee shore of the island. We had high hopes for our next intended destination, Pidgeon Island which has the Cousteau dive park as it\’s center piece. En route, we stayed the night at Marina de Riviere Sens. This is a tiny little harbor where the only fuel dock was on this entire side of the island. We actually stayed the night at the fuel dock and would fuel up the next morning. As it was Sunday, the fuel dock was closed. While I fueled up, Nikki went on a \”recky\” for food, fruit and veg at the local market. As per usual, fueling can be an experience. After I filled one tank, they ran out of fuel. I took 6 jerry cans and fortunately was able to carry them to the local gas station which ran the fuel dock via intercom. 6 x 200 yds. of carrying 50 lb. Jerry cans of fuel gave me my workout for the day. We were topped off.
We then anchored in the bay inshore of Pigeon island (Malendure) and went for a \”recky\” via dinghy. The ride was about a half mile each way. We did some snorkeling and hoped we\’d find better parts of the area the next day with our underwater viewer. Ron & Kathleen showed up the next morning and we did a pre-scout of the snorkeling dive area. Unfortunately, it\’s living on it\’s name – Cousteau. The coral essentially had all been wiped out by a recent hurricane. The dive area wasn\’t so nice, but Nikki wanted to do a bit of a refresher dive with me and we went in the sand off the stern of the boat. It would mostly be about getting Nikki used to the equipment as she hadn\’t dove in 20+ years since gaining her Rescue Diver certification in the Middle East. She did great, but the site wasn\’t much to look at. Good first time, more would come shortly.
That night, the four of us went ashore for dinner at \”Le Rocher de Malendure\”. It was Mardi Gras, but they were open. Our guide book gave this restaurant high marks as to food and price. The setting lovely, the bugs not so much. The waiter was a local and quite a character. As usual, the food wasn\’t very good and the prices were high. We can stand the high price occasionally IF the food is good. It wasn\’t – Ce la vie baby!..:-) Our guide book has never met an advertiser he didn\’t like!…:-)
The next morning we did the short motor up the northwestern most town, Deshaies (pronounced Dez-a as in the letter \”a\”).
We were able to do our e-seaclearance at a local shop and Nikki learned that she will soon be a Grandma via email! Congratulations to Hollie, Adam and of course Grandma Nik. The anchorage was a real zoo; very crowded. There was some \”anchoring antics\” that night, but all survived. The town was worth the day, but not much more. Tomorrow we\’ll be off to Antigua – Freeman Bay, English Harbour where Nikki and I had flown to last August. Back to the English speaking world.
Scott and Nikki