Iles des Saintes: April 18 - 23,  2009

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Early on the morning of April 18, we departed from Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, and pointed our bow toward Guadeloupe.   Passed it right on by, however.   Stopped instead at the charming little associated islands of Iles des Saintes (The Saints).   (Click here for an account of a previous visit).   Steve and Linda had departed Antigua even earlier than us, and had had fair winds for their PDQ 44' catamaran, so we only passed them at the very last moment.   We anchored near the ferry pier, and were routinely rocked by the many ferries bringing tourists over from Guadeloupe. 

Luggage for returning tourists from one ferry

After a day and night of that, and spurred on by the fact that the winds had changed and our stern was now uncomfortably close to a small sailboat skippered by a little man with too little chain out but too much insistence that as the first vessel in the spot it was not required that he move, we hauled anchor and attempted to find another spot.   Easier said than done.   We wanted to get close to shore in order to be ready for the northern swells that were predicted.   But all of the spots were just a little too small, meaning we would end up just a little too close to a neighbor.  We would drop anchor, fall back, and sigh.   Haul anchor and move to another spot.   Drop anchor, fall back, and sigh.   (As time went on, some of these sighs formed words.)   Finally, a good spot.   Lotsa room.   But as we let the wind push us back so we could see where we would end up, our "neighbor" popped up and declared emphatically that we are too close.  I quietly responded that I'd wait to see where we ended up first.  This enraged him, and he began pacing his deck and waving his arms and opining that there was a whole bay to anchor in, and that we were obviously the kind of people that cannot be talked to.   Again, as with the little man in the little sailboat, it was his call, really.   He was there first.   So we "sighed" and hauled anchor.   Moved way-the-hell out into the bay, near the spot Seaman's Elixir had ended up in, after having had their own interesting experiences trying to find a spot where their anchor would hold.   That put us in front of a huge motor yacht, which we ignored, since we obviously don't know anyone in that class.  Oops.  By the next morning we finally realized that the boat was Island Roamer, with Keith and Sue aboard.   Double oops.   We had run into them many times in Antigua, and we had entertained each other for cocktails.   As I explained when I hailed them on the VHF:  It's not that we are stuck up.   We are just stupid.

All was forgiven, and we had them and Seaman's Elixir over for sundowners.  Several nights later they reciprocated, so Steve and Linda got to see the gorgeous boat too.   (Do you know how many bottles of red wine three couples can consume in one short evening if they put their minds to it?)

An interesting vessel appeared in the anchorage.   Picton Castle, we knew from a conversation we had had with folks in Falmouth Harbour, was a steel-hulled vessel that hadn't always been a sailboat.   It had had several lives, but is now a vessel that provides a unique sailing experience to its crew.   Each crew member pays $40K for 18 months and the privilege of being on the boat and working.   They make their own sails, and their own lines from cloth and hemp stored below.   Crew members from all over the world, and most in their 30's, as you might imagine given the costs.

Picton Castle

Steve and Barb and I went on several early-morning hikes.  Linda joined us for another to one of the lovely beaches.   Here are some pics:

The Tower (elevation 1000')
Fort Napoleon
Baie de Pompierre

The Army guys (from Guadeloupe?) that were working on Fort Napoleon were apparently bivouacked at Baie de Pompierre.   There certainly were a lot of little "pup" tents set up in close formation in the Park, at least.