French Quickie

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma we are pretty thankful our hurricane season plan has us in Grenada and well away from the devastation up north. Two more disturbances have just spun off the coast of Africa and while they are low probability at the moment, as usual we will be keeping an eye on them. We are also watching with some envy the fleet start to disburse as friends head West while we prepare to return to land life. Those downwind islands are looking pretty attractive… Fair winds guys until we meet again somewhere.

Our storm management starts with the philosophy of just don’t be there. Our route and location has been carefully worked around seasons and risks. Then there is our preparation; Boat selection and preparation as well as crew selection and preparation. There are many excellent resources far better qualified than me on this. We have been very happy with our choices and no problem to discuss them and the trade-offs with anyone interested.

I highly recommend the catching lemons idea we are keen on. Bad times are rarely the result of a single thing going wrong. Usually there is a chain of small errors (lemons) cumulating in the bad times. Our worst event of Amelia being swiped by the mainsail traveller during an unexpected jibe early in our trip was a result of several lemons not being caught and lining up to fall on us. Thankfully we got away lightly and the lemons have all been tracked down and addressed. We are constantly on the lookout for any other lemons. I like John from Attainable Adventure Cruising description of seamanship; “Seamanship is the fine art of doing the right thing even when so doing is a huge pain in the ass.”

 

Back to regular program, we arrived back in Deshaies, Guadaloupe on 02 Jun 2017. The beautiful Amelia is growing up so fast and has her styles going on. Love you my amazing daughter!

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On the short hop down to Pigeon Is we caught our first ever fishing line around a prop. Luckily there was no damage and it was very light conditions so was easy to cut away the tiny float that was missed or just under water. Advantage 36,c, of a catamaran. Just start the other engine and clear the fouled prop once anchor down in the bay.

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And what a lovely bay it is. One of our favourite places complete with turtles, great snorkelling and dinghy access French supermarket and laundry. Buddy boats with Nahanni for the run south was great so we don’t mind them photobombing our sunset shot.

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We have such awesome memories of Pigeon Is, meeting Keltia on the first visit and hanging out with Slice of Life the second time so it was disappointing to find the water cloudy and full of stinging jellyfish, turtles hiding, an uncomfortable swell working up the coast and average weather on the third time. Thankfully Nahanni were with us to make the most of it.

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We didn’t linger long with the average conditions but popped down to Basseterre for a very rare marina visit. Good chance to look over the rig.

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And a date night! Don’t remember the last time we had a date night without the kids!

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We hired a car for a look over the island. Beautiful place. Yes I can still drive stick on the wrong side. We ended up navigating some interesting streets in downtown Pointe-a-Pitre.

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Drove past an aquarium. Kids seriously, you want to go to an aquarium when you swim in one every day? Tricky about turn off expressway and dirt track back alley got us to the carpark ok. Phew. How much is it to get in!?!? Was better than I expected and kids loved it.

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We skipped across the channel to Iles Des Saintes. What a stunning place. Nahanni crew had climbed the peak on the main island before. If they can do it, so can we.

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First stop after the track lead though a smallholding farm was a little church overlooking the bay, (and Drakkar) Someone doesn’t want their photo taken…

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Then the track went up

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And Up!

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Phew, an excuse to pause and look at the view. I’m not puffing…

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Cool fort on the summit and a surprise Boston jumping out of the door at us.

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Stunning view from the top.

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View is still pretty good on the way down the other side.

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Picturesque house under the peak we climbed.

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Not quite tourist brochure section of the road home.

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Ahhhh, made it back to the dinghy. So. Hot. Must. Swim.

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Gratuitous sunset shot. Love this time of day.

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Exploring the ruins on top of Ilet Cabrit.

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We met a very friendly little stray on the little island. Amelia was in heaven…

10pm that night and he is yowling in the dark, clearly heard out in the bay. Amelia was convinced he was in trouble so I headed out on a rescue mission with her. As I suspected, but could not convince Amelia, Charlie was fine and just calling for some attention and food.

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Multilingual Nahanni spotted a small graffiti sign in French saying “thank you for feeding the cats” on one of the ruins by the shoreline. We were concerned for skinny little Charlie with the low season starting and thin pickings on the small scrubby dry deserted island. Another tin of tuna was donated to fatten him up much to Charlie’s delight. We nearly had a boat cat he was so lovely. But not fair on him as we could not take him back to New Zealand. We considered relocating him to the main Saintes island but this place appeared to be his home and while he might be adopted by a family on the larger island he was more likely to be chased by the many dogs there. So we added a big border and English translation to the little French graffiti sign in the hope he will be given more meals and bid him a sad goodbye.

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Our Guadeloupe French quickie was over in only 9 days as we are off headed south again. Here we are romping across the channel to Dominica in a great tradewind reach.

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