Monday, July 13, 2009

Iles des Saintes

We left Antigua 2 weeks ago to start the trip south for hurricane season. Most of our friends have already put their boats on the hard in Trinidad or have arrived in Grenada. A few are still enjoying some time in the Grenadines. We are far behind the pack and are enjoying the quiet anchorages and great sailing that you find in the summer.
From Antigua we sailed 45 N.M. to Deshaies, Guadeloupe. We overnighted there and then continued on to Iles des Saintes 34 N.M. south. I don't know how to describe how wonderful it is in the Saintes. Quaint, charming, picturesque yes but, so much more. In this French community it is more about how it feels then just how it looks. I was talking with a women in a cafe ( one of the only people I came in contact with who spoke any English) and she described it well. She simply said, "the sweet life." Life in les Saintes is certainly sweet!
A view of the town of Bourg.

The government building that houses customs, immigration, police, etc.

A few street scenes from Bourg.

Motor scooters are the preferred method of transportation.

A walk through town takes you past beautiful homes painted a rainbow of colors.

One of our walks took us past the cemetery. I'm always fascinated by them, something Jim finds a little ghoulish!

The harbor is always bustling with activity. These fisherman are busy folding their nets after a day at sea.

We had a front-row seat for some sailing practice. We saw this and other boats like it out sailing quite often. There must be some races coming up that they were practicing for. These beautiful little sloops were about 16 ft. long, rigged with a lot of sail and FAST!
It's always hard to leave the Saintes but we are officially 1 month into hurricane season and we need to head south. So on July 7th we sailed to Roseau, Dominica and then on to St. Pierre, Martinique the next day. I have to pause here to tell you how great it is to clear customs on a French island. You sit down at a computer and fill in the form. The British still like lots of pieces of paper. Most of the French islands don't charge a fee. They also tell you to stay as long as you like. But the customs office in St. Pierre has to be the best. Customs is located in a bar/restaurant/internet cafe. You can have a beer while you sit at the computer and do your paperwork. I actually think it would be rude not to! Because customs is located in a restaurant they do not follow traditional business hours. The restaurant closes after lunch and re-opens at 6:30 p.m. We cleared in at 7:00 at night and ordered dinner while we did our paperwork. How many customs offices can also prepare you chicken with mustard sauce, potatoes Provence and a salad? Tres Bon!
We spent several days enjoying St. Pierre and the anchorage at Anse Noir before heading to St Lucia. We arrived in Rodney Bay yesterday and will enjoy ourselves here while another weather system blows through that is supposed to kick up some big seas for 4-5 days.