Posts Tagged Deshaies

On Island Time in Deshaies, Guadeloupe

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September 26, 2011

I have said before that every day should be an adventure.  This week I have done my best to live up to that mantra. This week’s journey sort of reminds me of the theme song to Gilligan’s Island the old TV show.  We left Roseau early in the afternoon, a week ago Sunday, and began our short journey to Marie-Galante a short 20+ miles from the Island of Dominica.  We should have made it there in a matter of just a few hours, but wouldn’t you know it, the weather felt the urge so remind us that we are in the tropics and that a beautiful day can turn into a pretty dismal mess in a hurry.  Sunday was a good example of that. 

Without incident, we sailed up the eastern coast of Dominica and out into the open 18 or so mile stretch of water that separates Dominica from Marie-Galante.  We were only a few miles out when clouds started to build to the west and to the south of us.  With a heading pretty much due north, we thought we could outrun the storm behind us.  If I had to guess, I would guess that we are not the only sailors to ever make that mistake.  Within the hour, the weather had caught us and the blow began.  Thom and Sarah’s boat is a seaworthy craft, but we were tossed around for most of the night.  We finally decided to stop the run and turn and face our medicine, or to be more exact the storm, head-on.   Our headlong drive into the storm put a little off course, but thanks to the great navigator, Sarah and the salty captain Thom, we were never in danger.  Sarah was able to re-plot our course as soon as the weather permitted.  By daylight on Monday morning we were about half way between Marie-Galante and Gaudeloupe.  Since only about twelve miles of water separates them we had a choice to go to either one.  I was given the option of which port to call our next one, and in my normal decisive manner I chose neither and asked if there was any place to anchor and fish for a while. Sarah soon had us on route to Petite terra Guadelupe, a tiny little island on the north east tip of Gaudelupe.  By late in the day we had arrived at the tiny island paradise. We were not alone there. More than a dozen sail boats, all about the size of the Wingate’s boat the Sanitas.  We chose to navigate our way into Petite terra pass the home of some of the most beautiful water in the Caribbean.  The pass is fairly shallow with plenty of places to anchor and stay for a few hours or a few days.  With water so blue you would think it had been colored with food coloring, and so clear the the boats seem to hover in the air above flying schools of fish beneath their hulls, this may be the place I have searched for my entire life.  One thing led to another and Monday turned to Tuesday and Tuesday to Wednesday before we even talked about moving on. 

However, let me back track just a little. On Tuesday, I rose before sunrise and took a quick dip in the waters of the pass.  As the sun quickly rose, the waters of the pass seemed to glow as the beams struck the small waves to my east.  I treaded water for a few minutes and then climbed on the boats stern and slipped back into my shorts and made coffee for me and the Wingates.  The peacefulness of the morning on Petite terra is without rival.  I have not been everywhere, but of those I have traveled, this tiny island is among the most peaceful.  The sweet smells of others cooking on the boats float on the wind and mingle with the aroma of coffee and the sweetness of the natural vegetation from the island as they passed us at anchor here.  I took the inflatable to the flats to the south of us and snorkeled and fished for most of the day on Tuesday and that night we dined on the bounties of the sea.  I brought a bottle of rum on board and with that and a couple of limes and some sugar I mixed-up rum drinks for all of us.  We sat on deck and watched the stars appear above us as night fell and before we knew it, we had drunk that whole bottle.  With the night on Tuesday came a strong wind and I decided to sleep on deck so I could enjoy the stars.  Though the clouds threatened a few times, the night was dry and windy and I slept peacefully with nothing but the heavens above as my cover. 

Each day there was the same but different.  I started with a swim and coffee and I spent some time reading and trying to forget that the world exists beyond my vantage point here in the islands.  There was time for snorkeling and visiting with the other sailors over lunch or dinner or a drink. 

Today I am still technically with Sarah and Thom even though they are not here and won’t be for a couple of more days.  On Thursday we sailed to Deshaies, Guadeloupe.  The boat is anchored at marina and I am spending most of my time on board with only short trips to shore when I need necessities like beer (found a great one here…Corsaire) and ice and a fresh baked croissant or two. There is promise of more bad weather and we are going to stay here until that threat moves back to the more normal range.  From what we understand there is a weather system forming to the northeast of the islands, but it really shouldn’t do much but provide us with bands of strong wind and rain.

Once the Wingates return to their boat, they have promised me a couple of days on the island to explore, but I haven’t yet decided whether I will stay a while or move on with them as they head wherever it is they are headed.  I think I have written enough for today.  My fingers are tired, my computer battery is low as is my personal battery, so  I think I am going to indulge in a little afternoon nap before  the sun goes down.

One last thought before I stop placing words into cyber space.  Having a little time to think, a boat on which to rest , people from every corner of the earth doing the same things you are doing a stone’s throw from you on a the deck of their own little home on the sea helps to bring the world into perspective. We are indeed all just passengers on this stone tumbling through the universe and I am glad this stone I am one is 3/4ths covered with water.

William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.