Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

Deep Blue

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
Isle De Saintes, Guadeloupe

Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe

The water is deep here. Deep and Blue. We anchored in 50′ of water and let out 200′ of chain. The boat held. We have a good catenary with this much depth. We’re here, the red roofs are pretty, the anchorage is calmer than Deshaies. And we’re looking forward to exploring, hiking, and eating some good french cooking.

We met up with Sea Otter; Randy and Julie for a hike around the town. They’ve been

Shall we jump down the hole?

Shall we jump down the hole?

here before and we elected them to lead the way and show us the sites. Fortunately for us; they obliged.

hikingndesaintes

Hiking in des Saintes

We ended up walking up to three lookouts and ate at a couple of different restaurants. I can’t say the food was awesome, some was good, some was interesting, and one item; black blood pudding – no one ate nor would they try!

The first day’s hike was up a small overlook that we could see the entire harbor from. The gin clear water looked inviting and yet no one choose to become a cliff diver from here. We’re only about a 100′ up and we enjoyed the breezes, the view and found an iguana that had created a burrow for itself / and or family. Guess I’ll need to look up more on them.

We found a small pizza place and Julie, W/ and I had pizza while Randy looked on. Pizza’s not his favorite. Thank you Randy, and lucky us.

We retired to our boats for some R n R. Yep we’re all tired. The life of a cruiser is frought with hard hikes, long lunches, and new friends.  Oh well, someone has to do it.

Thankfully, No Guns

Thankfully, No Guns

The following day; or was it two, we chose to go up the big mountain but Julie’s back was giving her a lesson in neglected care and so we went up to the Napoleon Fort. This one only stood about 500′ above sea level and they’ve restored much of the Fort. We paid our 4 euros each and walked into a world I never would have wanted to live in. Some people think we have it rough living on the boat. Ha!  Try living in a Fort that is in the middle of a mountain and with mostly a desert climate. The vast majority of plants here are Cacti!  We asked the baker if it ever rains here and he laughed at us. (Yes, we’re often lucky that other countries thought it important enough to teach their children more than one language and we can find them scattered throughout the population).

There we walked around the fort, through the fort, tried to scale the wall of the fort, walked in the dry moat, looked out the gun ports, and imagined what it would be like to sleep here. At the fort is a museum of les Saintes with many artifacts on display, paintings, old maps, charts, old boat models, boat battle models, and a video (in French) of living in the past in les Saintes. We retired for the day back to our boats for some more rest and relaxation.  The big hill is tomorrow; or maybe the day after. 🙂

We arise early, well as cruisers it’s early. We have the refrigeration charged, the batteries charged, a bottle of water packed with our camera, wallet and some msc supplies. We met Julie and Randy at the dock at 8:15 am. I even have my tennis shoes on for this hike. The trail may be a little slippery, my feet may start to ache, my legs might feel it and so I / we went prepared; almost.

The mountain we were hiking up is called Le Chameau and a hair over 1,000 feet above sea level. There is an old fort there we’re hoping we can get to the top of. Then we expect to see, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and all of les Saintes.

Randy & Julie

Randy & Julie

We start relaxed and joking, we find the trail with some discussion and a couple of signs. Fortunately the trail is really a road and we walk in scarffed concrete all the way up. But with a small mountain, and narrow islands there aren’t really many switch backs. They may call them switch backs, we switched directions but mainly we went up. Of course we took every possible chance for any pictures. That was the

Da King and Queen

Da King and Queen

excuse however, the reality was we NEEDED the breaks because the grade was extreme. As a ski slope this mtn would have made a good one. About two hours later, after passing the city dump (yeah, they drive half way up the mtn to dump the garbage down the other side), hundreds of mountain Orchids, goats and feral chickens, we could see the fort  at the top. Here

Orchid No?

Orchid No?

the nice cement trail / road ended and we left for what looked like the Appalacian trail to finish the trek. And fortunately too the fort was open and “free” so we were able to climb the aged rusting ladders to the top for the spectacular view the islands in this area.

And what a view (View from LeChameau).  We spend at close to an hour looking at the squalls moving across the channel between here and Guadeloupe, watching the wind move across the water, the zones with wind and the zones without. Watching mother nature at work is mesmerizing; like watching something fully self aware. We talked with a couple other hikers that made the same trek we did. We eventually decided that hunger was beginning to win over exhaustion and figured the only way to satisfy the demands of the stomach was to descend. There were no restaurants here, no refreshment stands, there was nothing here except a great view, an old fort and 4 weary hikers.

Gourmet Goat Food

Gourmet Goat Food

Down we went to find a restaurant. A reasonable restaurant. On the way we discovered what happens to bagetes that aren’t sold. We passed a goat farm and there we discovered about 20 goats with a load of bagetes strewn about the grounds. They were happily chomping on what many consider a luxury and some a necessity of living in France.

So we eventually found one to our liking, on the water, reasonable, and with cold beer!  But the search wasn’t as easy as driving down the street and looking at those available. We sat in one that had a great reputation, was a little pricey, but had an odor coming from the beach area. Oops, up and out we went. We walked down the street and there was a menu but the place looked closed. On the ground there was an almost worn off blue arrow directing us down an alley/ sidewalk that W/ barely fit through. With her having to watch her step we (Randy and I) had to turn sideways to get to the restaurant. And we found a great hide away on the beach.

There we finished our meal but left the “blood pudding”, which didn’t look appetizing, didn’t smell appetizing, and didn’t sound appetizing.  Back to our boats to recover from the day of work. There we rested, read, and rested some more, figuring that it’s time to move South. Sea Otter went the following day. We looked over the GRIBS and chose to wait a day. It was beginning to blow, it wasn’t from a favorable direction. It wasn’t going to be fun. So we waited. But Mother Nature never learned to listen to the predictions and she gave Sea Otter a favorable passage to Dominica. We followed the next day.  We too had a relatively pleasant sail to Portsmouth, Dominica.