The sail across to Marie Galante can best be described as tack, tack, tack, tack……….
Going East into the trade winds is slow going.
We finally made it to the anchorage at St Louis at about 4pm. We picked out our anchorage not far from Balenac and pondered the fact that the water was not as crystal clear as the Cruising Guide suggested. Nice but not exceptional.
We saw Balenac on shore – they had just got back from hiring a car and they told us about the Rhum Factory, where the Rum flowed freely. Given the next day was a Sunday, we decided to walk the 5km to the factory – a bit of morning exercise. We arrived at 10.30am and had a look at the factory, which being Sunday was not operating so we wandered around by ourselves. Then we returned and tasted a few rums, which weren’t bad. My backpack got a little heavier for the return leg, having purchased a 59% knock your socks off white rum – the Labat 59.
The walk back along the beach was a bit longer but much more pleasant. Being Sunday, St Louis was dead so we made the snap decision to pull anchor and head for the main island. We thought we may be able to point as high as St Francois, but in the end we had to settle for St Anne – there would be no tacking this late in the day!
This is a bit confusing. One minute we are back in France (Martinique) then we are in an ex-British territory (Dominica) then we are back in France yet again (Guadeloupe).
But who am I to complain as the French have made sure you can buy good French wine, champagne with the added bonus of French Rhum, together with all those nice apple tarts and bagets. Yum!
Our first stop in French Territory was the small island group of Les Saintes, a short but exhilarating sail from Portsmouth, especially the last bit where we hit an acceleration zone between the small islands. A hot tip when planning to go to Les Saintes is to get there early as the mooring balls in front of the town fill up early. If you luck out then you can either anchor further around, which is a bit exposed or grab a mooring ball over on Ile A Cabrit, from where you face a lumpy 1nm dinghy ride into town. We were lucky because we got there by 10.30am and got the last mooring off the town – perfect. Check-in was as per Martinique, using a computer screen in a local business.
Then it was off to explore the really cutesy town, with its restaurants that overflow onto the town beach, and a million and one dress shops for Dee to window shop in. We bumped into Aura and BnG who had hired a golf buggy to explore the small island – all that you need.
After a swim in the crystal clear waters off the back of La Mischief, we hopped in A Little Bit of Mischief for the 1nm ride across to Aura for dinner with Kim and Simon. As usual the hospitality and food on Aura was magnificent and we enjoyed our last night together for a while as Aura were making a dash for St Thomas and we were taking a much slower pace.
Next day we organized an island bus trip – 10 euro each, which took us up to the very impressive fort. It had great views over the islands and across to Guadeloupe was full of museum pieces from days gone by.
It took us a good hour to see it all then we drove down to the other end of the island before the driver dropped us off at the protected lagoon on the West side of the island. We worked the length of the beach and I went for a snorkel, before lunch called. Well, we thought it had but when we checked into the one and only restaurant near the lagoon we were told it was “Complet”. At 12.50pm. Theres another tip for Les Saintes – make sure you have your restaurant sorted by 12.30pm at the latest. So we gave up waiting for the bus driver to return and walked the 30 minutes back into town where we found a set of very nice bagets for lunch. Ah, it’s a tough life with soooo many hassles.
We waited for the shops to reopen in the afternoon and did some provisioning in Carrefour before taking an early night before heading off to Mary Galante in the morning after radioing Terrapin so they could come over and grab our mooring ball.