What a time we had in Deshaies.
First we went to an amazing Botanical Garden outside of town with some great things. I’ll let Nancy’s photos tell that story. Then we took a big hike over the mountain with some hairy ascents and descents, (these aren’t American-type sanitized and stabilized paths) the views were spectacular and we had a great Ti Punch with a local old guy at the end of the trail.
Then we started diving. We did a couple of dives along the cliff on the north side of the bay. I am usually pretty good about getting us back directly to the boat but on the second dive the current pulled us a bit beyond and we had to do some extra kicking to get back. No additional workout needed that day. Oh yeah, I was using the camera and used up all the built-in memory right at the beginning. Now I have a huge SD card, thanks to Nancy.
Then the fun began! That same afternoon the winds picked up. By midnight it was blowing a steady 35kts with gusts into the 40’s. the next day it all continued and a derelict 45′ catamaran broke from its mooring and careened through the anchorage. A few people in dinghies attempted to pull it back but were only able to keep it from hitting too many other boats. Finally, a local boat with big twin outboards gathered it up and placed it on another mooring. It turns out no-one had been on that boat for months and the lines had all rotted. The town of Deshaies has just announced that they will now charge for mooring. This should help keep the squatters moving. (We always anchor. One can’t trust the condition of these so-called “free” moorings)Anyway we had gusts over 50kt in the squalls and fortunately not too many other nail biters. What made it most uncomfortable is that so many boaters think they need to anchor close to other boats thinking, perhaps, that there is safety in numbers, or that if there is a boat here it must be a good spot. I and the guy next to us from the Netherlands, spent a lot of time dissuading people from getting too near us. Usually all we had to do was explain how the boats moved all around due to the currents and tide when the wind died. But sometimes we just had to walk around the boat barely clothed to scare them off. Believe me, no one wanted to see that! Oh well, whatever works. (No pic)
After the wind calmed down we enjoyed a peaceful 6-8kt sail under jib alone down the coast to Pigeon Island which is home to the Cousteau Marine Park. There are several dive sites marked with buoys that we can tie the dinghy up to. So we have been diving almost every day since. Apparently it is okay to take photos while snorkeling but not using SCUBA. So a lot of these shots were taken along the reef right next to where we are anchored in 15-20 ft of water. The coral is in pretty good shape but the giant sponges are amazing. Nancy could hide in some of them easily. A wide variety of reef fish keep us entertained, colorful tube sponges, lobster, moray eels, urchins, anemone and even a stray barracuda crossed our paths. These sites are heavily dived by local operators so we get on the site by 0800 and are back in the dinghy before the first groups arrive. It is very relaxing and Nancy is looking pretty good underwater. We have a pretty standardized routine for executing our dive operations and that helps keep things stress-free.
We’ll stick around here for a couple more days, then off to Pointe-a-Pitre for Nancy’s big birthday celebration: Carnival!