15 || Cluedo
Wednesday 12th March Guadeloupe
Iain soon got bored of being ill, cold or no cold, The List was being dealt with, jobs were being ticked off and by Wednesday we were on the move again.
We bid farewell to the familiar sight of cranes and small boats and started our sail around the island. Initially, I helmed. It was a close haul and I felt comfortable at the wheel. As we turned the corner, the wind funnelled between the two islands and was quite gusty. Iain took over and we had a fun filled sail.
The conditions were varied, which Iain really enjoyed. We engaged with the boats we passed and generally had a very good afternoon sail. Note to self, more upper body strength needed.
There had been no Deaths and we were definitely sailing in Paradise …..
We anchored in Deshaies. The shore line looked familiar. We’d seen it many times and I was very excited to be able to tick something from my list for the first time! We had arrived in “St Marie”, the fictitious town for the weekly murders in the BBC programme, Death in Paradise. One of my favourite programmes on television. I love the predictability of every episode. Every week someone gets murdered, there are four suspects, everyone has a motive but by the end of the programme, the murder has been solved with a little bit of humour along the way. As this programme is not shown in France, it is not a tourist attraction, thus not dominating or spoiling the soul of the town.
It was such a friendly town. The French islands definitely have a very unique feel which I enjoy. The people are relaxed and open. No one seems to be in a hurry and most have time to chat. I became a familiar face at the market stalls and local shops. We were happy to stay. We planned to stay for a week. There were several tourist attractions which we were both keen to experience.
On our first evening, we had a very pleasant pizza in a small beach fronted restaurant. The menu was very simple but perfectly cooked and presented with enthusiasm and charm by the young staff.
The best part was the Creme Caramel! Just as my mother used to make them. I truly was in Paradise.
We wondered around the town, ticking off all the sets to the BBC programme Death in Paradise as we stumbled upon them, culminating in a very long walk to find the detectives beach hut, which isn’t there as it’s a set erected only during filming. But we enjoyed the beautiful long sandy beach.
Just outside the town was the most impressive Botanical Garden we have visited since The Eden Project in Fowey. Even Iain enjoyed the experience and felt he gained more knowledge of all things botanical. I won’t describe the flora and forna, or the wild life, as I tend to get carried away. Suffice to say, I was in my element, I talked to myself and any stranger who would listen. I stroked the grasses, examined the seed heads, I marvelled at the strategies employed by nature to entice birds and insects into the blooms, all in the name of survival of the species. I stood in awe of the beauty and power that is mother nature. Iain stood in the shade and waited patiently.
The next day, Iain found another challenging hike to the top of Gros More and down the other side to Plage de Grande which took most of the day but was most exhilarating.
On the way up, I did not speak very much. I could not. The pace was relentless, and I was seriously lacking any sort of humour which amused Iain even more. I think I’m beginning to understand the 10,000 men who followed the Grand old Duke of York. But why? was the constant question circling in my head. However, when we reached the summit, the view was reward enough and the sense of achievement was sufficient to restore my humour.
We were very happy to hear from Jan and Greg who were making their way to Guadeloupe. They were facing a long overnight journey and we knew they would be exhausted when they arrived. We watched them sail into the anchorage at 7:30 in the morning, happy and proud as punch to start another adventure.
We invited them for supper that evening. They arrived bearing gifts of antipasti and charcuterie. Jan is such an enthusiastic chef. I marvel at her ability to rustle up a wonderful meal with the minimum of fuss. While sailing around the world, Jan is also writing a cookery book for sailors which I know will be better than any available at the moment. I can’t wait for a copy which I know will be filled with inspiring recipes made with flare and affection.
During the day, the wind had increased and the anchorage became quite rolling. By the time Jan and Greg arrived the boat was rocking, but we started drinking and eating. Within half and hour, we were stopping the wine glasses from travelling down the table and trying to ignore the roll. We knew the swell was increasing when the bottle of Bombay Sapphire fell off the galley surface! After supper, Jan and Greg introduced us a new game called “Farkall”. Perfect for travelling as the game only requires six dice, a pen and paper.
The game was going really well. I was not feeling so wonderful and sorry to say, the evening was cut short as I became seasick. Of all things, at anchor. However, it was fun while it lasted and I hope did not spoil the evening greatly. We are looking forward to catching up again soon.
Our next stop was to be Antigua. The Pandemic was beginning to touch every corner of the world. We tried to check out of Guadeloupe in the morning only to find the office had been closed. We waited for the following morning, to be informed the office was not opening again and all the other public places were closing indefinitely that afternoon.
GUADELOUPE HAD GONE INTO COMPLETE LOCKDOWN
We searched the many sailing websites and found the whole Caribbean was beginning to close its boarders, but the British Virgin Islands were still open. We decided to head straight to what we considered to be part of our home territory. However, we needed our exist papers to leave. They have to be presented on entry to the next port. This was becoming quite a major concern, not just for us, but our many sailing companions. WhatsApp and Facebook groups were popping up of boats in similar situations all looking for an exist strategy.
Iain decided he would “make" our own exist papers. He spent the day copying and pasting, cutting and photographing. Iain even employed the help of Chris from Gitaine. Iain got Chris’ exist serial number and calculated how many boats could have departed to make our papers more plausible. It was all a little nerve racking but I had total faith in his ability to make everything work. He always does.
We were finally ready for our big sail the following morning.