Jacques Cousteau Top 10 Diving

With the Front passed through it was time to get going – around the bottom of the Butterfly Island and half way up the West Coast to Pigeon Island, where the Jacques Cousteau Nature Reserve was waiting anxiously for Dee and myself to submerge ourselves.

17015953_10207794841701909_5799066313189357348_o For the first time since we hit the Caribbean, we had to spend a large part of the day motor sailing. Yuk.

16836046_10207794784780486_457174748106821026_o

We finally made it to the anchorage opposite Pigeon Island on Guadeloupe and dropped anchor in 5m of water. It was a bit strange to not be able to see the anchor but with the storms from the day before the water had been stirred up a bit. We saw “Slice of Life” and “Laradae” anchored there as well enjoying a bit of kid playtime/birthday fun.We dinghied in and signed up with one of the local dive operators for 32 euro a dive – tanks and weights included.

16904710_10207794775340250_8813257158336107195_o

The Jacques Cousteau Nature Reserve says it all. He brought Pigeon Island to international attention by declaring it to be one of the world’s top dive areas and so the French declared the waters surrounding the island to be an underwater park and named it after the great man.

16996264_10207794583895464_4548691982076416606_nNext day it was off diving. The boat trip out is only 10 minutes and the dive boat pulled up to one of the mooring balls that anyone can use.

Our first dive was on the west end of Pigeon Island – Barracuda Point. The fish were very friendly and there was lots of action, and yes there were some barracudas. The highlight was a moray eel that was out and about. With a short break for lunch it was back in for a drift dive along Japanese Garden. I loved this dive – drifting over fan corals and passed walls full of interesting corals. At the end, we came across a turtle who was chomping away at some sea grass under a coral ledge.

16904722_10207794793740710_2755046527693239230_o

16836341_10207792481202898_4771737826372359594_o

Second dive was to the Japanese Gardens – a drift dive. I loved this one with beautiful fan corals and lots of colour. Plus a turtle at the end. Brilliant.

16992213_10207794835501754_2982728480952599276_o

To top off the day we went over to Blue Heeler to introduce ourselves to Wayne and Ally and drink some red wine. Also on board were Mary and Dave from Leucat, who we had introduced ourselves to earlier in the day – me being a big fan of Dave’s Techno tips on his blog site. Was a great evening talking to some very interesting and experienced cruisers.

17015702_10207794796820787_8900276934502373030_o

16992424_10207794780940390_5143575329400167063_o

Fred the Frenchman

Carnivale over, it was time to get some boat jobs done.

We’d made a booking with Fred Marine for our engine work, as they were recommended by Chris Doyle and were the Yanmar dealer. Fred turned out to be the French owner and he sent two of his guys, Fabrice and Stephane to work on the engines and they were excellent. 

Fixing the leaking sail drive gasket was a big job. The engine needed to be lifted forward and up, to provide access to the top of the saildrive. And the gasket wasn’t cheap here in the Caribbean. In fact, none of the parts were. Now that we are doing a lot of sailing and not that much motoring, we can get the servicing done in the USA and we can buy parts there as well so that if we need to service anything whilst we are in the Caribbean we won’t have to fork out for (more) expensive parts.

The problem with the genset skimmer box going low on sea water was a Steve Tull useless mechanic error – I didn’t manage to retrieve all the bits of impeller from the heat exchanger when I last blew an impeller. Fred also suggested that I put some hose loops in before the skimmer box to help ensure the impeller doesn’t have to work so hard pulling sea water up from so far when it first starts. An easy and cheap fix.

Whilst Fred Marine was good to work with, Waypoint was proving elusive. We wanted them to run a replacement cable up the mast to the spreader for the BadBoy WiFi extender. We tried to find their email address on the web – their website plus google. Their phone number was proving equally elusive. All we could find was a Contact form, which we submitted twice without a reply. So when we rolled up we asked if they could send someone and this got pushed back to 4pm on the last day. They turned up to tell us they needed two workmen and couldn’t do it to the day after. We gave up and left it to another island.

It was a long day for Fabrice and Stephane so we had to delay dinner with Peter and Jenny until after dark. We headed for the Route De Rhum restaurant; sort of appropriate as this is where this famous race finishes.

Next day, we lowered the dinghy and took it over to Fred Marine for a service. I supplied the parts for this as they couldn’t source them – Honda, really??? – and anyway it helped keep the cost down.

Whilst this was all happening, we took a 20 minute walk into Pointe a Pitre, Pointe a Pitre main town. We ended up at the main square, famous for its guillotining during the French Revolution. There were some interesting fruit and vege markets as well as local fisherman selling their catch in the adjoining small harbour. After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed off to the new Slave Museum, a magnificent building right on the waterfront. It was just reopening after lunch, as everything does in France, and the lines were long so we gave it a miss and headed back to the Marina.

We got back just in time to greet the unusual Westerlies that were forecast. They were creating a bit of carnage around the marina and in the adjoining anchorage (which is fine mud with poor holding). There was a James Bond 70m power tri that was being blown all over the place and theyt scrambled all hands to get it off the dock and into safety. We were not immune either as the wind was pushing us back onto our pontoon and we needed to get the Marina guys to attach another line to the mooring buoys out the front so we could pull ourselves off the pontoon. Elsewhere around the islands people were being washed ashore as a lot of yachties were basically ignorant of the big change from the regular Easterlies to the unusual Westerlies.

With all our work done, it was time to once again head North for some diving at Pigeon Island on the West Coast.

 

 

Carnivale :)

Sunday came around and it was time to head for the marina at Bas Du Fort, for another engine service. We also needed to attend to a leaking sail drive gasket and a genset that was losing sea water in the skimmer box.

But first we needed to check out the Carnivale in Baie-Mahault. We’d organised to go with Peter and Jenny from Modjadji on Sunday afternoon, and as luck would have it they had a hire car. Bonus as the bus situation on a Sunday was a bit dodgy/non-existent.

Carnivale in Guadeloupe was 100 times better that Dominica and Dee and I walked the length of the parade several times as Pete and Jen opted to stay in one spot and watch it as the parade went past. Dee being Dee, loves to be in the centre of things and we revelled in wandering up and down and sometimes through the middle of the parade. It started off slow and got better as the afternoon went on, with the crowd continually building. It continued into the early evening and some of the costumes even lit up. There were dances from all over the Caribbean and South America. It was so much fun. As night fell Pete and Jen decided to head back to the marina, but Dee wanted to suck every last morsel out of the night and we saw some great stuff right up to the end when we finally found a local policemen who kindly called us a cab.

We found Peter and Jenny at the Burger Bar at the marina and enjoyed a beer and a burger with them to finish off an excellent night.