Having no set plan or any schedule to follow, gives us a great sense of freedom and plenty of opportunities to choose from. There are some anchorages that we know we want to see, we have cruising guide books that show us which anchorages are better than others, so we make a choice and once we get there we see how we feel and that determines how long will stay in the place.
From Deep bay in Antigua we sailed to Falmouth Harbour. We decided to go there because of the volunteering opportunity that I mentioned on our last post. It was convenient to be anchored there as it was close to the school where we were going to help for a few days and it was also one of the anchorages we really wanted to see.
Falmouth is a great anchorage, calm, protected, with a few beaches to go to and lots of facilities around; restaurants, shops and a nice feel of being in a small town. We also ran into other cruisers that we had met before in St Maarten and we had a few very sociable days. We had a couple sundowners’ sessions with Robert and Carla, Canadians from “Moody Mistress”, Charly, singlehanded American from “My way” and Janis and Don from Texas, sailing aboard “Plane at Sea”.
We also did a few hikes in the area. Falmouth Harbour is right next to English Harbour, which is another great anchorage and still has the remains of what is called Nelson’s Dockyard, which was Britain’s main naval station in the Lesser Antilles. It’s a great area to go and explore, with old buildings and much of the structure still remaining. You also get a great opportunity to have a sneaky beak at the amazing classic sailing boats that anchor here. So we did a few walks along the dockyard and to the old Fort Berkely point, as well as another longer one all the way back to Pigeon Beach in Falmouth Harbour with spectacular views.
On a Thursday night we walked all the way to Shirley Heights with Robert and Carla and we had dinner at the top. This place gets crazy crowded on Sundays when they have their famous parties but we decided to go on Thursdays because they still have the live bands on and the barbecue but they don’t have their cover charge and it’s a bit more comfortable with just a few groups of people. It’s an amazing place to see the sunset and to view down onto English and Falmouth Harbour and they usually have a steel and a reggae band. It was a great night out.
We ended up staying a whole week in Falmouth but I didn’t want to leave before meeting a great artist that I got to know through Facebook, Jennifer Meranto. I first contacted Jennifer because she’s very involved with beach clean-ups of the area and she also creates art out of materials found on the clean-ups. We decided to meet up for a coffee and it was so great to actually meet someone as passionate and as dedicated as her with plastic pollution and creating change in her community. If you ever want to check her artwork and her projects please visit her facebook page called Adoptacoastline.
We went back to Jolly Harbour to clear out and buy some provisions and on Tuesday 8 April we sailed to Deshais in Guadeloupe. This was our first proper downwind sail aboard Ondular and it was awesome. The boat was recording speeds of 6 and 7 knots, sometimes even 8 and that is amazing for our little boat! So we had a great sail, no tacking, no jibing, just sliding down and arrived to Deshais sooner than what we expected, which is also rare for us hahaha.
It’s good to be back into French territory, especially for the baguettes for lunch. We spent a few days in Deshais because we were lucky enough to coordinate with our friend Keith, English fellow that bought his boat at the same time as us on the BVI. We hadn’t seen him for four months so this time, his girlfriend Samina was with him and we got to catch up and exchange stories from our adventures.
We’ve come to realize that there is a kind of black market going on between cruisers. One of the most wanted items on the list is “movie exchanges”; we actually had to buy a new hard drive so we could store all the movies that we kept getting from our new cruising friends. Another very useful and wanted item on the cruisers’ black market is “wifi passwords exchange”; that is like the gold of the black market! Keith got plenty of passwords and movies to share with us and we did too.
It was great seeing Keith and meeting Samina. Keith was on his way to Antigua where Samina will take a plane back to the UK and he will meet up with some friends flying from America and the UK to sail the boat back to UK sometime in May. Hopefully we’ll get to see Keith some other time along the way.
From Deshais we did a day stop in Pigeon Island which is Jacques Costeau Marine Park and it’s great for snorkelling. From there, we sailed all the way to Gosier which was a long and difficult sail. The first part of the journey, because we were on the lee of the island and Guadeloupe has some big mountains we kept getting this changing wind, from 5 knots to 35 knots and from all different directions so the first part we motor sailed.
Then when we hit the end of the island and had to go east, the swell started to get bigger and the wind was straight on the nose. After maybe an hour of very uncomfortable motor sailing against it all, we could finally sail and we had a great run until we hit the fish trap area. We had read about this in the cruising guide, an area of the journey, where as Chris Doyle described it“Fish traps are everywhere, usually two tied together by a floating line. Since this is open sea with sizeable waves, they are not easy to spot. Those missing their home video games will find avoiding these much more enthralling than Pac Man”. And we definitely had that, it was like playing some kind of stressful game and screaming at each other “I see one, do you see it?” ,like this probably 40 times but luckily, we missed them all and we made it to Gosier before sunset.
We were trying to catch a swell and this area of the south coast of Guadeloupe can get some waves. Gosier has a little island called Ilet du Gosier surrounded by reef. There was a little wave breaking on the right side of the island and we surfed it for a couple of hours. It was fun and the best thing was surfing it all to ourselves.
The following day we kept sailing east to Petit Havre, another anchorage that could have waves. We were the only boat anchored there, it was an interesting anchorage protected by reefs and near to a beautiful beach. We surfed that afternoon and the next morning. It was a fun left but the setting was amazing and it felt so good to actually sail to the surf and get it right. The swell was dying off so we decided to keep moving this time to Marie Galante an island part of Guadelupe but 18 miles south.
We spent the first night at St Louis a quiet little town and this morning after checking the internet we decided to sail north to Anse Canot, which is a beautiful bay full of palm trees and white sand. We try to sail as much as possible and although it was only a couple of miles away we had the wind straight on the nose so we had to do a few tacks and avoid a few fish traps on the way.
After 40 minutes we were there, the beautiful white sand beach, perfect setting, we had dropped the sails, I turned around to check that no lines were on the way and turned the engine on. I turned back again, nothing, I looked to the bow, nothing, I screamed: We’ve lost the dinghy!!!!!! Minutes of panic, Mick holds the wheel turned the boat around, I grabbed the binoculars and started looking for the dinghy, phew, there it was, probably 2 miles away floating peacefully but away from us. We managed to get there on time, avoid all the fish traps again and saved our little dinghy. How lucky!
Time is flying away. Is not that we have a set schedule but we have to keep moving because of hurricane season and also because we want to be in Panama at the right time to catch some surf. So we’ll keep moving and see what we find on our way. Next stop is Isle de Saintes for the weekend and probably Dominica sometime next week with a new northerly swell headed that way. The adventure continues on..