Thursday, January 31

Glutton for punishment

Some of us like to think we are taking on a challenge while others might think we are a glutton for punishment.  Is that like asking if the glass is half full or half empty?  As we continued our tour of Guadeloupe, we felt we couldn't leave without visiting Pointe a Pitre.  It was described in our guidebook as "Guadeloupe's largest and most important city, a lively Creole town...".  We couldn't miss out on that now could we?  At this point, we were beginning to think that the guidebook author must have 1.) spoken fluent french or 2.) been paid to say these things or perhaps both.  By no means do I mean to be disrespectful, it's just that there seems to be a recurring theme of all things great in Guadeloupe.  As you know by now, we had not experienced that thus far.  However, as everyone deserves a second chance, we decided to give it another go after a more pleasant experience at Pigeon Island anchorage.  Before heading to Pointe a Pitre, which was a full day of sailing, we stopped in Basse Terre.  Basse Terre is the capital and also the southern most point of Guadeloupe.  Only Erica and I went ashore to search out a laundry facility and perhaps a grocery store.  It took us 20 minutes just to find a place to park the dinghy in a place that looked like it would still be there upon our return.  By the way, we did find a petite laundromat that was big enough for a mouse but no grocery store.  Instead we found a bakery and a butcher shop.  Yep, you guessed it, we picked up a couple of baguettes.

If you were to look at a map of Guadeloupe, you would see that the island is in the shape of a butterfly, sort of.  Pointe a Pitre is located on the south eastern side, in the middle, where the body of the butterfly would be.  Get it?  In order to sail there, we had to BEAT into the wind and heavy seas for about 10 miles of our 20 mile journey.  And when I say beat, I mean nasty, pounding, can't do anything but be sea sick kinda beat.  The wind had been howling at 30 knots for days, so you can only imagine what the sea state was like.  The captain thought if we left at daybreak, the wind might not be as strong thus making our 'beat' a little  easier.  HA....that's all I need to say!  You might be scratching your head asking why we would even consider leaving under such conditions.  Well, we really wanted to leave Guadeloupe because we didn't feel that warm and fuzzy feeling, but we wanted to check out Pointe a Pitre first.  Like I said, we are glutton for punishment!

Leaving Basse Terre under a dark and rainy sky

Rounding the point, bracing for a bumpy ride.  We motored with no sails in a direct path hoping we would get it over with faster.  No such luck, it was truly a slog that seemed to have no end.  The pounding waves kept us from going any faster than 4 knots, at best.

Looking south east toward the sunrise and Les Saintes

This Container ship moved through the rough seas as if it were glass.  No fair!  However, check out the name of this vessel - "Elizabeth Boye"  Perhaps the r got rubbed off.

Tough when you wake up before the sun

Smiling at the calmer water once we closed in on Pointe a Pitre

Patronus bringing up the rear - for once!

Turquoise water as we enter the channel

Happy all the pounding is over

Another happy girl

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