Back to France and on to NYC!

Well…almost! Leaving southeastern Minnesota we traveled east, through Illinois, Michigan and into Canada, overnight in Toronto and finally arriving in Montreal, where everything is in French! I felt like I’m back in Martinique, or in Europe!

1OoVutFvSuyzlc1LzjfUXA
Streets of Old Montreal, feels like I’m in Europe!
E3qfuFd4S+e4v6YRz6MQbA
History Center in Old Montreal

While visiting old Montreal (there is so much history there!) one weekend the festivities in that area included 1800 re-enactments, with vendors, music of the times, and everybody was in costume.

ja8wjnF8RsqnHKZZvjt9dQ
1800 re-enactment: musicians!
ZawT1wYbTHudoz905zQnEQ
1800 musicians
WLbUWW+IQCO6iDStot8zEg
1800 talent: foragers

We were immersed in French culture again, but only for about 3 days, then we headed east and south to Woodstock NewYork, site of the famous Woodstock concert 50 years ago this year.

We stayed at a cute AirB&B in the woods of the Catskills! One early morning I saw a doe, twin fawns and a buck! Unfortunately I didn’t have my iPhone with so didn’t get a photo. On a walk into town, we saw a huge pile of bear scat! It doesn’t surprise me that there might be bear in the area, I’m just glad we didn’t see one!

xBklSvgpTBCuu6a6SX7cMQ
The woods at the AirB&B, see any bear?

Woodstock, in 1969, 50 years ago this year, was the site of the famous Woodstock Festival where peace and love reigned! Well, actually the Woodstock fest did NOT happen in Woodstock NY, but in Bethel NY on Max Yasgurs 600 acre dairy farm located 43 miles (70km) southwest of Woodstock! It was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”. It attracted 400,000 people, and 32 bands played over those 3 days, despite rain! There is a really good documentary on Woodstock on Netflix, if you get a chance I’d highly recommend watching it! They hadn’t anticipated the huge crowd, maybe no more than 50,000 people, and when they kept selling tickets, they had to move the venue to the diary farm where it was finally held. A 50th anniversary was planned for this year, but unfortunately due to ticketing and legal permit delays, cancellation of investors and other quirks, it was cancelled. Bummer!

Every Sunday in Woodstock, from 4-6pm, there is a community drumming circle, where a bunch of drums are provided and anyone in the community can come and “drum”. And anyone can dance to the drumming! It was quite interesting! I don’t know if some of these folks maybe haven’t left Woodstock in the last 50 years? I’m not sure, but some of them were dancing to their own drums as well!

fullsizeoutput_1856
Woodstock drumming circle, marching to his own drum!
lFdBwgzbTGyphAPbRQu5Bw
Woodstock drummers

After leaving Woodstock, we drove to West Point to visit my son, Clint, and his wife, Ashley for 2 weeks. Clint is in the Army and works at West Point. While there, we drove to Mystic Connecticut, a famous wood-building seaport, where the “Mayflower II” was being refurbished and launched while we were there! Mayflower II was given to the USA in the 1950s by the English, as a thanks for our efforts in WWII. Three years ago, she came to Mystic to be repaired and upgraded. The weekend that we were there, she was being launched! What an amazing vessel and such craft! Unfortunately we didn’t stay for the launch, it was getting late for us and we had 2-3 hours to drive back home.

O7A3mNTWQWqad64pd%j5jw
Mayflower II ready to be launched
jrZSTvYEQSilOF9YNaPqAQ
Clint and Ashley at Mystic Seaport

While in New York state, we drove to NYC to visit one of Gregs old colleagues, Keith. While there, we were able to see a Broadway show, “Hamilton” about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers! It was an AMAZING show! We also visited Trinity Church, where Hamilton is buried, as well as many of our other founding fathers!

J8jIc73ASIevyCyEixxEbA
Caption at Alexander Hamiltons grave
a7k59K%aRsm9AR0YoV0tyA
Alexander Hamiltons headstone at Trinity Church in NYC

Visiting NYC wasn’t without some excitement! Before we went to the Broadway show, near dusk we walked down the street to Times Square, where we witnessed a fight! Quite interesting, no blood was shed, but there was some taunting and provoking going on, until one guy actually punched the other, ended up on the ground were he was pummeled! Finally the guy pummeling the other was pulled off, and they went their separate ways! We were just waiting for a knife or gun to appear, but none did, thankfully!

While in NYC, we took the opportunity to visit the 911 Memorial and Museum. It was so surreal! They’ve built 2 reflecting pools, each of them the footprint of each of the towers. We could have spent more time in the museum, which is 4 floors below ground where the towers stood. So much to see/read, so little time.

q9ttTKT1TiqHaLmiwJ9+0A
911 Memorial: south reflecting pool
cn5mGk4qSj6BD2ATZ9hyOw
The names of each person who died that day are etched in the border wall of each of the pools
Dt3gQaRBR8ehzk773kKexg
911 Museum, NYC

Finally, while back in Woodstock, via text, Clint help me design a tattoo (on my right forearm) for my beloved Toto, who I lost in June this year, I miss him terribly. But the artist did a beautiful job in his memory! His portrait is from a photo I took of him while we were still living in Pine Island, and the paw print is his actual paw print that I got from the vet, cast in plaster, after I lost him. Rest in peace little man! Miss you:

6FF0981E-9BF7-443B-B21E-C28DC5214376

 

 

 

Advertisements

A bit of Minnesota history

After Gregs surgery, we hung around near Rochester MN with family for a few weeks until he got his stitches out. Then we headed north to Minneapolis to enjoy the city for a week in an AirB&B.

Minnesota is known for being a “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. And indeed, Minneapolis and St. Paul (known as the Twin Cities) has its share of parks, lakes, biking and hiking paths. The Twin Cities places a high priority on preserving this aspect of the area. In fact, Minneapolis Park and Rec was established in 1883 and boasts (from Wikipedia):

  • 6,809 acres of parkland and water
  • 180 park properties with 55 miles of parkways
  • 102 miles of Grand Rounds biking and walking paths
  • 22 lakes
  • 12 formal gardens
  • seven golf courses
  • 49 recreation centers
  • 23 million visits annually.
qm0cNXLTSaWgTLIVV8DbAQ
Cloudy morning walk around Lake Harriet

Near our AirB&B was Lake Harriet (4-5 blocks away) and Lake Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun). Lake Harriet is 335 acres with a maximum depth of 85 feet. The bike trail is about 2.99 miles around the lake. The native Dakota peoples called Lake Harriet “Bde Unma” in their native tongue, meaning “the other lake”. This area has a very rich native american history.

Lake Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) is the largest lake in Minneapolis and is connected to Lake Harriet via a small waterway. Lake Bde Maka Ska is 401 acres with a maximum depth of 87 feet. The bike trail around the lake is about 3.4 miles. The name Lake “Bde Maka Ska” means “Lake White Earth” or “Lake White Bank” in the Dakota/Lakota native language. It was probably named this by the Ioway native americans who frequented this area in the 16th century. This lake was named “Lake Calhoun” in the 1800’s in honor of John C. Calhoun who was a surveyor for the Army fort “Fort Snelling” in 1817.

However this became controversial as John Calhoun was a slaveowner and pro-slavery politician, leading critics to question whether he was the best person to be honored and in 2011 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) visited the issue. Their legal counsel concluded that the board could not legally change the name, as state law gives that power to the Commissioner of Natural Resources, and then only in the first 40 years after the name was designated. However, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article quoting Calhoun’s views on the black race. I am not going to state it here, but if you are interested in Calhouns view, you can find it here Bde Maka Ska on Wikipedia. Ultimately, in 2017 the park board voted unanimously to recommend changing the lake’s name back to Bde Maka Ska and the County commissioners agreed, and in January 2018, the Minnesota DNR made Bde Maka Ska the official name of the lake. But it needed to be changed at the federal level as well, so the state submitted materials to the US Board on Geographic Names, which approved the change in June 2018.

But on April 29, 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the DNR, saying that a name that had been in use more than 40 years could only be changed by the legislature. The park board stated they will continue to keep the signage of Bde Maka Ska at the lake and Minneapolis Mayor supported this. The DNR had 30 days from the date of the ruling to appeal, so also released a statement confirming that the federal US Board on Geographic Names has adopted Bde Maka Ska as the lake’s official name, therefore the federal name continues to be Bde Maka Ska.

We enjoyed biking around both lakes most days that we were there. We love the Twin Cities, and summers are such a beautiful season in the Midwest.

Busy, busy, busy!

It was with a heavy heart that we left Minnesota without our beloved Toto. But after spending time with Kenny and Sheena, we needed to head west.

During our travels, I’ve decided to knit little dog sweaters in Toto’s memory (since I never knit him one–shame on me!), and donate them to his vet for distribution as they see a need! And every little sweater will have a “T” knit into it somewhere!

nAPxXjT+RQS0Wg6H6MmYFQ
“Toto” sweater
sfdseWuSQQeThiidk4igNA
Each sweater will have a personal card attached.

This summer we are only staying “short stays”  (3-7 days) at each AirB&B and the remaining time with family. So it makes for being on the road a LOT! We’ve learned to travel with a small “duffel” that we pack from our larger duffels, so we only need a small overnight-type bag when we arrive. Less “stuff” upon arrival and departure when we are unpacking and packing the car to move on. We are learning…!

We arrived in Colorado Springs and an AirB&B and spent a week visiting with Krisi and family. We did hiking at Garden of the Gods…

2iBJQ7cqTZWxXzydAhthhg
Hiking Garden of the Gods with family

…and a weekend with both Krisis and Jenis families camping!

aLRLKsKuQJ6y8ipu6oLNLw
Cabin while camping with family

FMb1nSC5Q9Wyrlw2MOOdgQ

Next to the Caribbean and water, our next favorite place to be is in the mountains! We did lots of hiking and biking while we were in Colorado and New Mexico. Some of the activities included a hike in “Three Sisters Park” in Colorado and rode bikes from Frisco, Colorado to Breckenridge, Colorado (28 miles round trip). Not all in the same day, mind you! But those were just some of the places we enjoyed.

KiGL%JAISH6Db2l8ilpP0g
Colorado hiking

QLp4YSASR%uUyo15HcTwog

QgBU%jKVRj2EpGxifNTpiw
Colorado Columbine flower

After our Colorado visits (1 week in Colorado Springs, 1 week in Denver), we headed south to New Mexico and spent our 20th wedding anniversary in Taos (we spent a week here).

ySudejniSe6wAPSXChh9zg
Taos, NM AirB&B
B7cgRiQ%RGOCZyRH%PHfuw
Happy 20th Anniversary!

While in New Mexico, we visited Sante Fe and got to see the Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe. It was opened in 1878, and is best known for it’s miraculous spiral staircase. It rises 20 feet and makes 2 full turns without the support of a center pole. The staircase was built sometime between 1877 and 1881. Story has it that the Sisters of Loretto couldn’t find an architect to finish the staircase after the original architect died, because of the tight quarters between the choir loft and the church floor, it just wasn’t physically possible. So they prayed to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the last day of the novena a mysterious stranger appeared and offered to build the staircase. He worked in seclusion using only a few simple hand tools and disappeared afterwards without the Sisters learning his identity. More fantastical versions of the story have the work taking place overnight, while according to others it took six to eight months. The finished staircase seems to defy physics as it ascended 20 feet (6.1 m) without any obvious means of support. The Sisters of Loretto viewed its construction as a miracle. They believed that the mysterious builder must have been St. Joseph himself. As the story spread, the staircase became one of Santa Fe’s most famous tourist attractions, and still is!

BEOOiDN%RR2sa2YcuHwB1w
Loretta Chapel miraculous staircase

We also took advantage of the gorgeous weather of New Mexico, did some hiking, and while the Taos area is full of artists, saw this comical piece of art while hiking one morning…

CO8F5ADBSv+iejqs1IdwKQ
Artists of Taos…

…and enjoyed the hot springs located in Ojo Caliente (meaning hot eye), maybe 45-60 minutes from Taos. There were some amazing hikes there, with pottery pieces from the Native Americans who lived in this area in years past. Ojo Caliente is one of the oldest health resorts in North America. Native American tradition says that its pools provided access to the underworld. It is said locally to be the only place in the world where five natural springs, each containing one of five minerals — arsenic, lithium, iron, sodium or soda, occur together, but in separate soaking pools. People have been coming here since the Spanish soldiers over 100 years ago, hoping that the potent water will cure arthritis, rheumatism, and ailments of the stomach, kidney and skin. Some stay for weeks in small cabins or in the 16-room hotel on the spa resort. They even have a mud bath where you layer on the mud, let it dry and when dry, wash it off.

Aupw08TkQZCr60J+1+W0Bg
Ojo Caliente, NM
UuuY2Cs8S1aOXHa2aGOmcA
Iron Pool at Ojo Caliente, NM

After Taos, we headed back toward Minnesota, with 3 nights each in Frisco, Colorado and Deadwood, South Dakota with more hiking and biking in each place. And for my first time, we drove through the Badlands in South Dakota on our way home. What an AMAZING place!

lDRYTHF7RUq5vvBLnxCbfA
Badlands of South Dakota

We needed to get back to Minnesota because Greg had hand surgery for his Dupuytrens (scar-like tissue in the hand that was not allowing his ring finger to straighten). During his recovery, we pretty much stayed put in the midwest, visiting family and friends in Minnesota and Illinois.

Greg post op and recovery…

wZ7wjkkKRwiY1V%9yLschg
Greg post-op Dupuytrens surgery
8E4+bLXHQgKTABDzBrxjsg
Stitches will be coming out!

A New Chapter in Our Life

IMG_8772

We had an uneventful sail back to Le Marin in Martinique, where we spent the remainder of our time getting ready to haul out for hurricane season. We were able to quite a bit done while at anchor so only needed 4 days on the hard to complete the rest of what needed to be done.

8a5xqI2ITQGlwQEFgOxtqQ

We had planned on returning to Miami on June 1, but my daughter had her graduation from college (Bachelors degree) on that day. So we were able to change our flights to arrive the week before so we could attend this exciting milestone in her life.

ICNaPksITJei4XvgXqQH4w.jpg
However this happy exciting event was a wonderful time, our lives suddenly and quickly turned tragic 10 days later, when unfortunately and with a heavy heart, I write that we lost our dear Toto.

In a matter of 3 days, he developed hemorrhagic gastroentritis and severe dehydration over a weekend, and by the time we took him to the vet on Monday, he was in acute renal failure. He was so very very sick. I cry even as I write this. My heart hurts so… He was so much a part of our life, everything we did it was the 3 of us over the past 14 years. He would have been 15 in November. I miss him so so terribly.

Rest in peace my little man, I’m waiting for the pain to subside, but it’s not going very well…I miss you so much…

IMG_2982IMG_4221IMG_4224N73dwhtWTVqfzJg7WFwizwkLDoKSuJQu+%R0WKExsD5QXs1uW2gZTs2nfSfrGri7Qwo+a+FL0bTDe8UaYJc6Ad6A

IMG_8772IMG_8772

Great (or not so great) time spent in St. Lucia

After arriving in Marigot Bay, we were able to spend some great times with friends, Louis and Natalia from the catamaran Katarina, and Al from the sailboat Furling Around. We utilized the perk of the Capella Resort swim up bar each afternoon for happy hour, which comes with our paid mooring.

ABCC3A3C-D6A0-44F3-8962-FD19F0FD0AE6 2
Capella Resort swim up bar (on the left of the photo-can just see the roof)

We spent many evenings sharing good times with a sunset and good dinner with our friends. A lot of eating out, but with our lifestyle we never know when we will see our friends again, so we take every opportunity to meet up and share time together.

fullsizeoutput_15fe
Sunset in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

After about a week at Marigot, we said good bye to our friends and sailed north to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia. It was another beautiful sail!

In Rodney Bay we anchored on the north side of the bay near Pigeon Island. It’s good holding there and a short 30 second dinghy ride to the dock and to one of our favorite restaurants, Jambe de Bois. During our first few days, we saw quite a few weddings taking place on the beach of the National Trust. The first wedding we saw the bride and groom, and their parents. It was a small wedding! The next evening, we saw the bride and groom and a little bigger group, maybe 15-20 people. That evening they had the reception on the beach with music, until about 10pm. The NEXT evening, we saw the bride and groom and about 40 people! We were at Jambe de Bois that evening, we noted that they boarded a “party catamaran” for the reception. St. Lucia is THE place for a destination wedding!

The day after we anchored in Rodney Bay, we saw an English flagged sailboat anchor next to us. We looked…and looked…and sure enough! It was our friends Rowena and Richard on Galene! What a sweet surprise! We spent the next few days getting together with them, played bocce ball on the beach and enjoying beers together.

Music on the beach is a favorite thing to do among the native Caribbeans. The wedding music wasn’t so bad. The beach is about 200 yards from where we typically anchor. But over the past 3 years, the obnoxious, loud, booming, siren sounds has gotten to be the “rule” rather than the exception. And this year was the worse! Almost every night, starting by 8pm-LOUD LOUD music, going until 3am or even 7am the next morning! When it went until 7am, we asked the National Trust office the next day about it, and they just explained “it was a breakfast party”, like this was normal. Perhaps it was a fund raiser for the National Trust? Not sure…but we saw people leaving and they were pretty dressed up, so it was a very organized formal party!

The other thing we noticed in Rodney Bay are the number of jet skis from the resorts. It seems they like to use the sailboats anchored in the bay as an obstacle course, making any kind of swimming or snorkeling highly dangerous!

We are reconsidering going to Rodney Bay for any amount of time in the future. There are plenty of quieter bays to anchor.

The last evening that we were at Rodney Bay (planned to sail back to Martinique the next day), it began at 2pm in the afternoon. We saw the tents being set up on the National Trust beach. So, Greg proceeds to dinghy ashore to ask what their plans were. In talking to the organizer on the beach, he was really rude and wouldn’t give him any idea on how late (9pm? 3am?) the party would go. So he went to the National Trust office and asked them, and was told that the organizer had it “for the day”, not being sure what that meant!

Upon returning to our boat, Greg went over and talked to Richard and Rowena, and the music was already SO LOUD, so we all agreed that it was early in the afternoon and it was best to pull anchor, go to the south of the bay (1 mile across) so we could get a good night sleep. GOOD DECISION!

That evening we had a wonderful “sundowners” time on our Aquataurus with Richard and Rowena and Al (who arrived in Rodney Bay that afternoon on Furling Around) sharing snacks and libations-beer, wine or gin and tonics. It was a wonderful time visiting with friends.

lTh8kQmK79xCd6Dp9ag
Last sunset in St. Lucia

So, even though most of the time we live in tranquil anchorages, it isn’t always that way. In the future we will seek out more tranquil places to stay (it won’t be Rodney Bay).

Next time, we sail back to Martinique and get ready for haul-out of Aquataurus.

It’s a NIGHT SAIL!

So, I have to be honest, I was VERY apprehensive about sailing at night. For Pete’s sake, IT”S DARK OUT THERE! But everybody I’ve talked to has loved it and encouraged me to just do it! They said it’s amazing, seeing the stars and riding the waves. And there are so many people that do!

So on Easter Sunday, at 10am We pulled up the anchor in the Saints in Guadeloupe and started our overnight sail. The day turned out to be a beautiful one for sailing. Greg had watched the weather and waves for wind speed and direction, and sea swell size and direction. It was the right combination of wind and waves for sailing south.

When doing a night sail, you need to prepare. We had life jackets out and tether/harness. We both put them on and off and fit them exactly, hoping we wouldn’t need them. Also when night sailing, we agreed that the sides canvas of the wheelhouse would be buttoned down to keep us even safer in the wheelhouse, and prevent any ocean spray from entering the wheelhouse.

So the day was an amazing sail, then sunset came. It, also, was an amazing sunset while under sail.

B+hC20DNStqSgNkmc8iTGw
Sunset during the sail

We had 20-25 knots of wind all day, out of the east, giving us a speed of about 6-7 knots all day long. We sailed in to the channel between Guadeloupe and Dominica. About 5pm off the west coast of Dominica, I see some spray ahead of us that didn’t look like waves, and sure enough! It was a sperm whale! SO COOL!!!! Greg said there were 2 of them, and I just watched as he took my iPhone to video them. They were about 20 feet long, and right next to the boat about 20 feet off the port side. I ran down to start the engine as they were along side us, so they would know we weren’t a threat or another whale. She slowly turned left and started slowly swimming toward Dominica. A beautiful sight of nature!

Later that night, we looked at the video, and NO VIDEO! The setting sun was really bright on the screen and Greg wasn’t able to see the button to start recording clearly. Bummer! But we have the memory forever in our minds. It was amazing.

After the sun set about 6pm, and before the moon rose (it was an almost full moon) about 9pm, it was REALLY DARK! But, nothing bad happened and the motion of the boat sailing through the waves was an amazing feeling. It wasn’t scary, it was quite comfortable. We both agreed that neither of us would leave the wheelhouse during the night, unless we had our lifejackets and harnesses on: safety precautions.

When night sailing, the crew take watches while the other sleeps. Do you think I could sleep? Nope! So I started the watch while Greg went below to try to get some sleep, until about 11pm. We sail with the auto helm, so there is no steering for us. It was beautiful with the bright stars above and the city lights from the islands. We were about 8 miles out to sea, so we could still see the island lights. I just wish I could include a photo of this, but it wouldn’t have been very good.

About 11pm, Greg comes up and we have a snack to eat, then I head down below to try to get some sleep. By this time we are on the west of Martinique. A few minutes later Greg is starting the engine and wondering out loud about a freighters heading that he sees behind us. The freighter has lights on the bow that show us which direction it’s going. We have an instrument called AIS that detects all boats around us, their course and heading. But this time, we couldn’t see it on our AIS device. for some reason (since then, Greg discovered a switch that wasn’t “on”, so now we see ALL the boats around us!). So Greg is pretty much freaking out as it appears (from it’s bow lights) that it is bearing down on us, but still about 3 miles away from us. But freighters can move faster than us. So with the engine on, we head further out to sea. To Greg, it still appears that it is following us on a collision course from the lights we see. Then, against the island lights, he sees the silhouette of the freighter, and realizes that it’s lights on the bow AND stern, so it is following the island to Fort de France in Martinique and is NOT on a collision course with us! Thank goodness! By this time it is a bit closer to us so we DO see it now on AIS, and see that it IS heading to Fort de France. So we go back to our course on the auto helm towards St. Lucia, which is our destination.

Enough excitement for the night! So I go back below to TRY to get some sleep. Didn’t sleep all that much, as I hear Greg tweaking the sails, letting them out, pulling them in, and starting the engine intermittently. He was trying to get as much speed as possible with the winds that we had. Or I should say, no wind that we had! In the middle of both Dominica and Martinique, the winds pretty much died and we had to use the engine for a bit. We wanted to maintain at least 5 knots of speed.

About 3am, I got up so he could go below and try to get some sleep. It was so amazing, seeing all those stars, the almost full moon, feeling the boat sailing through the waves. It was mind-boggling. Sure wish I could share those sites in this blog.

I woke Greg about 5:30am for the sunrise.

IMG_8823
Sailing sunrise-Martinique on the left in the distance

It too, was spectacular. But unlike Greg, during those early hours I did NOT tweak the sails nor did I start the engine. So there were time we were only sailing about 3 knots, so as I kept watching out track on our Navionics app (see a snapshot of the Navionics app below, showing our course) and we were moving VERY SLOWLY past the southern tip of Martinique.

IMG_8881

 

It appeared that we were hardly moving! Well, we weren’t! When Greg got up he wondered why I didn’t start the engine to have more speed, and I was like, well, it was so beautiful out, I was just enjoying the ride!

It was another amazing day sail toward Martigot Bay in St. Lucia. We arrived about 10am, just short of 24 hours from the time we left our anchorage in Guadeloupe. We sailed about 130 nautical miles!

Would I do it again!? IN A HEARTBEAT!!! Every night when we sit out on deck and I look out west toward the darkness and the sea, I tell Greg “Let’s do that again!”

Spending time in Guadeloupe

After spending time in Portsmouth, Dominica, we sailed north to Guadeloupe to the island of Marie Galante.

IMG_8700 2

Guadeloupe is a French overseas region (like Martinique), and the largest Islands, Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre, is shaped like a butterfly. The country of Guadeloupe consists of over 12 islands, both inhabited and uninhabited. The inhabited islands are Basse-Terre, Grand-Terre, Marie Galante, La Desirade and Iles des Saintes. Its history consists of numerous fights for control between the French and British. In 1946, the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France.

During our time in Marie-Galante, we spent time renting a scooter, exploring the island, which included a nice beach-side restaurant for lunch.

MgqI79RBTx2sM8stDSpxNg
Lunch spot at Le Touloulou
IMG_8682.JPG
Selfie riding the scooter!

After spending a few days anchored at Marie-Galante, we sailed the short 18 miles north to the islands of Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre (the bay is located in the middle of the “butterfly” shape), to Pointe-a-Pitre. It’s a huge bay and when we wanted to go to town, we had to cross the bay in our dinghy! Probably about a 15 minute ride, but had to watch for the ferries coming and going, had to get our timing right.

We rented a car there, and spent 2 days, first driving to the Basse-Terre side, then the next day to the Grand-Terre side. Basse-Terre is much more mountainous and Grand-Terre is more flat. Basse-Terre has some amazing hikes. The forests are lush and green, like a rainforest. We tried to do some hikes, but at each trailhead, the parking lots were FULL! So, we opted to continue on for some snorkeling with turtles at Pigeon Island. This, too, was a very busy spot, but we found a parking spot and walked about 20 minutes to the beach.

Greg and I snorkeled near the rocks, saw some great fish and reefs. We were thinking where are the turtles? So once we were out a ways, we decided to come back through the anchorage and not over by the rocks and reefs. VOILA! We saw turtles, and turtles and MORE turtles! They were beautiful.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0257.
T

S

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0339.
Snorkeling with turtles at Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe

During our time with Matt and Anna, we experienced some fantastic french food! They made some amazing dinners, using cream (I need to use that more!) and one of the last nights with us, they made crepes, which were to DIE FOR! I’ve never tasted such amazing crepes, and all others will be measured up to the ones Matt and Anna made. We had ham and cheese crepes for dinner, with nutella and banana crepes for dessert, and there were enough left that we had peanut butter and banana crepes the next morning for breakfast.

They left us on April 18, and it was a very sad day for all of us. We made some great friends over the 18 days, and wish them the best on their adventures. Hoping to meet up with them again some day, but have found new friends who will always be in our hearts. Thank goodness for technology, making it easier for us to stay in touch. They planned to hitch another ride on a sailboat, to Columbia, then Chile, where they plan to ride bicycles through the country. I can’t wait to read their blog-it’s in French but they also have an English translation! Matt and Anna’s blog

b1215d7a-874f-4287-b972-ab6f844342f3.JPG
Greg, me, Anna and Matt

After leaving Matt and Anna, we sailed the short 22 miles south to Iles des Saintes. We’ve heard that they have lots of mooring there, and not much space for anchoring. Well, it’s true, many moorings, all were full. They have four locations where one can pick up a mooring. Well, we went to all of them, they were ALL full! No space. Now we had to find a place to anchor! The depth in the area was mostly 22 -24 meters, and we usually anchor in 4-8 meters. So we had to find a spot! Not easy! But luckily we did, and got well set.

It was comical to watch other boats come in to the anchorage, go to each mooring field, trying to find a mooring then ending up coming to where we were anchored. It was Easter weekend, so perhaps this is why the moorings were so full? Not sure.

So then we had to make the decision: do we sail overnight to St. Lucia? I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really keen on the idea. We’ve had a full moon, so it probably was the best time to go. Greg checked the wind forecast, the wave-height forecast, and it looked like a good time to go, if we were. Well, I was darn sure that I wouldn’t sleep at all that night! Do we do an overnight sail? Well, I guess you will have to wait for the next blog to find out…

IMG_8772.JPG