New Crew & Billfish
9th to 11th June 2010

15° 58.9' N; 61° 43.1' W

Riviera Sens, Guadeloupe, French West Indies

    Rainforest Road Trip        

Antigua to Guadeloupe (Overnight)

We elected for another overnight sail to Guadeloupe, which, although only 40 miles away, would mean we got there early in the day with more time to look around. It was a fast crossing with a reef in both sails and the wind just forward of the beam, but the wind died behind Guadeloupe and we motor-sailed down the coast in the dark. As we approached Guadeloupe I could smell the vegetation of the rainforest... ….awesome!

We were going to stop to the north of the island but decided to keep going a little further South and picked up a bouy in deep water outside the harbour entrance at Basse Terre around 6am; it’s a bit rolly and there’s no wind but for the first time this trip we’re in the lee of huge mountains covered in rainforest with birds circling the boat….just amazing.

Marina Sens, Guadeloupe

Forest-covered mountains towering over the marina at Marina Sens, Guadeloupe


Got a rude awakening around 7.30 when the locals told us we were on a private bouy and would have to move! We did…..eventually; dropping anchor about 10 metres to the side of the bouy….not quite sure what that was all about!

Later that day, we walked along the seafront into town to check in and do a bit of exploring. Basse Terre is a grubby, sprawling, bustling metropolis, with some redeeming features –a nice waterfront boulevard, good supermarkets and a nice hill fort, reached through some old colonial streets lined with pretty wooden Caribbean houses.

We had lunch in a local French eaterie; Iain ordered an overcooked steak and I ordered the dish of the day - stewed pigs toenails with gnocchi-type dough balls ….it had seemed like a bargain when we walked in! A further stop to check emails at one of the restaurants in the marina also proved a costly one... 3 beers, 3 glasses of wine and E45 later we retired to the boat for some vfm!


Basse Terre, Gaudeloupe

This morning I delivered my life into Iain’s hands as he drove our knackered up Citroen C3 rental down the dual carriageways and up the single mountain tracks peppering Guadeloupe. As he reversed from the parking space into oncoming traffic on the “wrong” side of the road the gear knob came off in his hand….what do you expect for E35 for the day?! We exchanged an 'oh shit' moment and I gripped the door handle a little tighter.

After the initial trepidation of driving, or rather, letting someone else drive me in a deathtrap of a car, Basse Terre, the more mountainous side of Guadeloupe, proved to be a wonderful paradise of scenic coastline, traditional fishing villages and stunning, sweeping rainforest complete with waterfalls.


Carbet Falls, Guadeloupe; a series of 3 waterfalls from an elevation of 1,400m, the biggest drop is 125m

Iain amongst the flora

We hiked to the foot of one of the waterfalls, Carbet Falls on the side of an active volcano, through hanging vines, towering ferns and immense bamboos….well, hiking’s probably a little strong a word for it as the trail was well paved and crawling with other tourists doing the same thing, but it was a stunning walk all the same!

The rainforest scenery was completely new for Iain, and I also discovered he's a bit of a nerd when it comes to plants, birds....and other nerdy things like that; he could barely keep his camera in his pocket on this excursion. Unfortunately there wasn't much around in the way of animal or bird life, but perhaps there were just too many people around.

Deshaies: a fishing village on the North West of Guadeloupe

After the waterfalls, we drove up the East coast of Basse Terre, crossed the island through the old sugar cane plantations & rum distilleries, and headed North to Deshaies, the little fishing village where we were going to anchor on the trip down. We were the only tourists in town and grabbed a table over-looking the beautiful bay as the heavens opened... ….lovely big, heavy, tropical rain.

Our lazy lunch was followed by a fabulous drive back down along the coast to Marina Sens.

I loved Guadeloupe and could easily spend a week exploring.

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