Sunday, January 31, 2016

On the Way to Guadeloupe

We awoke at 6:00 am, hurried through our pre-sail checklist, and bid "Adieu" to Pain de Sucre at 6:30 so I could take my sunrise photo at sea. Just north of Îlet de Cabrit the sun appeared above Terre de Haut and we witnessed this beautiful sunrise.
 
We enjoyed a relaxing three hour sail, but when we reached the approach to Pointe à Pitre channel, the crew's tension level spiked because the outer channel markers shown on our chartplotter simply weren't there. The approach is riddled with shoals and reefs, and not knowing exactly where you are is dangerous, but by using the depth contours on our chartplotter, our depth sounder, our eyes, and some common sense, we found the two most important buoys: Green PP8 and Red PP3. These buoys are two miles offshore, and funnel traffic between the two shallowest shoals and into Pointe à Pitre's channel.
 
Once inside the river, which isn't really a river at all but rather a mangrove-lined cut between the two islands that form Guadeloupe, the channel was easy to follow and we anchored near Marina Bas-du-Fort.
 
With the ships, tugs, sailboats, fishing boats, speed boats, jet skis, and sailing students all jockeying for position in the channel, this river reminds us of our home waters on the San Joaquin River Delta. Back home it's not uncommon to have a bass tournament,  a sailboat race, and a tanker all sharing the channel at the same time.

 
Pointe à Pitre has one of the best yachting centers in the Leeward Islands and the marina has dock space for over 1000 boats. There are all kinds of services, restaurants, and things to see and do. There are ferries to the  neighboring islands and cruise ships visit regularly. We just hope to find a new propeller for our outboard. It "spun its hub" not long ago and the Captain jury rigged it, but we don't want to use it like this forever.

Oh, we found all those missing buoys. They're here on dry land awaiting refurbishing, I imagine.
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