It was time to leave the comfort of Baie Mahaute and find a new anchorage. The last days we had met Svetlana and Hubert, the French boat that came into the anchorage two days ago, and we had agreed to go snorkelling with them and learn to catch lobsters and octopus. We raised the anchor and set the course out of the protecting reefs. It’s amazing how quiet and calm it can be behind a reef despite quite high seas outside.
We anchored next to them, shortly south of Port Louis and quickly went snorkelling. They were clearly more experienced than us, and quickly caught both lobster, octopus and lionfish on their spears. Since the wind picked up the sight started to become challenging underwater, so we started to prepare a lunch of our catch. Real fun to learn how to prepare octopus and the small lobster we caught. Hubert owns a vineyard in Franch and brought some of his wines for the meal and the lunch/dinner became a gourmet meal. We went to bed early that night for some reason.
The next morning, Hubert and Svetlana left for St. Martin as they had received permission to go. The covid situation at this time was becoming more challenging as movement between the French islands was prohibited unless written permission was given. At this time we still planned to go but we had to cancel our plans, unfortunately. The decision was to anchor outside Port Louis, a small village north on the eastern wing of Guadeloupe. When we anchored we noticed another boat with a Norwegian flag anchored 100m to the north of us. This was the boat Ramsalt, with a Swedish/Norwegian couple Maria and Øyvind on board. The attentive reader will remember that this was the boat we had shortly talked to on the VHF when sailing to Malendure earlier. However, first, we decided to go for a walk onshore. Port Louise is a quiet and not a very beautiful town in itself. But the beaches are very nice and it’s a surfers paradise was the swell from the Atlantic comes rolling in on most days. Hence on the north side, we found some bars and people. We decided to sit down and when we approached the bar we see some familiar faces. Karen and Holger from Rivercafe, and Nilla and Anders from Ydalir, two boats from the small ARC+ fleet. They were on a day trip in a rented car and had their boats in the marina in Point-a-Pitre on the other side of the island. We enjoyed a beer together and planned to meet up later. Little did we know the dramatic accident that would happen to Nilla only days later at this point.
Coming back to the boat, we said hello to Øyvind and Maria and invited them for dinner the next day. The next days went fast, we had dinners on both boats, enjoyed drinks and restaurants and a long hike to the north of the wing. The hike was fantastic and quite long but at least not a lot of up and down. The coastline proved to be amazing with long beaches, reefs and we even found a blowhole where the swell came up like a geyser and made Øyvind wet to the skin. We learned how to crack coconuts, enjoyed a nice lunch and a hike between cows, bulls (see proof below), goats and rusty cars on our way home. My iPhone said I had gone 30 000 steps this day and it felt like it.
We enjoyed the slow life of Port Louise and found a calmness here we had not had other places for some strange reason. I bought used diving equipment from the local diving club at a very nice price and we enjoyed drinks on Ramsalt from Maria’s drink menu.
On one of the last days here, Jill receives a shocking message on the phone from Karen on Rivercafe. Nilla from Ydalir had fallen in a waterfall and was in the hospital. The story is remarkable. Anders and Nilla had been on a hike and crossed a small river. When going back a heavy rainstorm had turned the small river into a big and angry one and when she tried to cross she lost her foothold and went over the edge. Later we would know that she didn’t only fell down this waterfall but also the next one, in total 40m(!). She managed to hang on to a branch that hung across the river and get onto a rock by the shore, and that was what saved her. If she had not stopped there she would’ve been falling down a third and even longer waterfall and the chances of survival would have been slim. The time she fell was almost at sunset, and the search could not really start until the next day. Anders describes this as the worst night of his life, as he was sure she had been killed at this time. The next day the search started up again and miraculously they found her and were able to extract her without too many difficulties. Nilla was badly bruised of course but had not broken a single bone, and that is almost unbelievable. She told us she hung onto the rock and talked with the local crabs during the night and even sung for them (she has a great voice, even liked by the river crabs). She now regards them as friends and has woven to not eat crab ever again! Two other persons were taken by a river in the same area and were not so lucky, a boy and his grandfather were found dead a bit later.
Our plan was to sail to Deshaies and then to the marina in Point a Pitre this week. Early morning we started sailing and the wind was good and swells were low. The sailing was so good we didn’t stop until we were back at Malendure where we anchored for the night.
Again we started early morning, sailing down the west coast of Guadeloupe, but we entered the channel between Basse Terre (mainland Guadeloupe) and Ile de Saints (Terre Haute), the wind picked up to 20-30knots right on the nose with 2,5m choppy waves. We decide to sail to Ile de Saints and start again the next morning. And so we did, the next morning we put the third reef in the main and had two reefs in the headsail, but still made a good 7knots towards Gosiere, an anchorage just outside Point a Pitre, where we stayed for the night.
The next morning we went into the marina and re-united with Karen, Holger, Nilla and Anders, and enjoyed unlimited fresh water and power. We were ready for the last chapter of our Guadeloupe adventures…