Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mountainous Guadeloupe

This land is mountainous, green, and beautiful. There are hundreds of rivers and waterfalls here in Guadeloupe. We had the opportunity to hike up one of the rivers all the way to the waterfall. Deshaies was the first port of entry for us. As we entered the anchorage in Anse Deshaies, we saw a Canadian sailboat waving and they looked like they knew us. It’s Easy Listening said Kelly! We met Michele and Al in St. Martin a couple of months ago. It is so exciting to see people you know even when you think you are far away from your friends. We rowed over to Easy listening right away to see them, since they were leaving the same evening to St. Kitts. As we approached their boat, our oar breaks in half! Luckily they offered to tow us back to Earthling before they set sail.

So far, the highlight in Guadeloupe was the hike in the Riviere de Deshaies. This river is full of small and big boulders. Stepping from one boulder to another, becoming tricky at times. Some were wet and slippery, so extra caution was necessary. It is fascinating to see how water finds its way through rocks and creates small creeks and pools. The sound of water running between these rocks was breathtaking and peaceful. The water was so clear and clean that I was thinking to bring our jerry cans and fill them up! :-) The four of us, Mike, Rebecca, Kelly, and I were as excited as little kids exploring this river. We hiked for 3.5 hours up 400 ft in the river till we got to the end, a gorgeous waterfall hidden behind 2 very large boulders. We got to take a fresh shower under unlimited high pressure water! If you ever get the chance to visit Deshaies, pack your backpack with snacks and lunch, put good shoes on and hike up this river, it’s certainly worth it!     

Sailing on the leeward side of Guadeloupe can be somewhat annoying and challenging. There are hills and mountains and the wind gets flukey by the time it hits your sails. Under the couple small passages we made here, there was no wind at times and within a few minutes the gusts were blowing 25 MPH. Our friends on “Zero to Cruising” broke a block during one of these gusts. You have to be careful to not get fooled by the weather prediction or light wind. The wind can tunnel its way between the hills and hit you much stronger than you expect it. I kept our genoa reefed and looked for the wind on the water rippling, before it hit us. Motor sailing would be best in these kind of conditions.

Right now we arrived in the capital of Guadeloupe, Basse Terre. Tomorrow, we are sailing to the other major city Pointe Pitre to pick up our friend Nick that is flying here to spend some time aboard Earthling.         

Love from Guadeloupe

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