13 || French Chic
Sunday1st March Martinique - Dominica - Iles Des Saintes
It was time to move on from Martinique. We were heading for Guadeloupe which was about 110 miles North. A little far for a comfortable days sail, so we planned to make a short overnight (unofficial) stop in Dominica. We lifted the anchor at 07:16; It was a warm still start to the day, forcing us to motor. At 11:00 the wind filled in and we hoisted the sails. Iain enjoyed racing the other cruising boats who were unaware of the game. Always makes me smile, watching him pretend he isn’t. The wind dropped again and we completed the journey under motor, arriving early evening at 16:20. We stayed onboard for the evening.
At 08:00 the following morning we were on the move again. Guadeloupe!
After two hours of a combination of motoring and sailing, we happened to pass
Iles Des Saintes, we decided to swing past the islands for a look. Iain consulted our trusty
Chris Doyle’s bible of the Caribbean. Chris said we should, so we did,
we changed course and headed into Bourg des Saintes.
Chris describes Iles Des Saintes as “… an irresistible group of islands with Idyllic Gallic charm.” He is absolutely right. The terrain changes from perfectly soft sandy beaches to challenging undergrowth leading up hill paths. The town is clean, well stocked with local artisan shops, some of the finest restaurants, and friendly bars. The island has everything to offer encompassed within a relaxed friendly atmosphere.
We stayed for a few days. I had fallen in love with this island. At last, I felt we were beginning to relax into cruising, live-aboard life.
On Tuesday, we took a long walk up to Fort Napoleon. The Fort commands the prime position to the north of the town with views over the harbour. Iain wanted to see our home from a different view, I was eager to experience the cacti and succulents garden.
The Fort was built in 1867 and has stood the test of time. It has been lovingly restored and houses many exhibitions including examples of old Saintoise fishing boats and French furniture. There was also a large section on the famous battle of the Saines, when our Admiral Rodney demolished the French fleet in 1782.
As the sun rose on Wednesday we were ready for a more challenging climb some 1,000 feet to Le Chameau with its impressive Old Napoleonic lookout tower.
It was well marked on the climb by paint marks on trees and rocks. Such a great idea! From the top of hill we could see the wonderful sands of Baie de Pont Pierre beach.
We descended the hill, heading for the beach and after a cooling stroll through the waters edge, we took the easy path back to town.
That evening we had a memorable meal in the beach fronted ti Kaz’ la restaurant. The head chef/proprietor worked in London for 15 years in Gavroche and Grosvenor House before moving to the island with his wife. Many decades ago, I frequented both establishments and was keen for a little nostalgia. We were not disappointed. Every course was a symphony of tastes and smells, complemented by a very elegant bottle of wine. We will definitely return.