Caribbean – Barbados to Guadeloupe

The beachfront walk from Port St Charles to Speightstown made us realise we were actually in the Caribbean.

Speightstown was a very pleasant, quirky little town, quite a contrast to the busy capital, Bridgetown.

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img_0930img_0931img_0932The anchorage of Carlisle bay off Bridgetown was pleasant enough, if you didn’t mind a bit of loud music at night.

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Race horse training

Bridgetown itself was so crowded, but I guess 4 cruise ships in port do that to a small town. After hearing that flying fish were the delicacy here, we had to try the flying fish sandwich for lunch. It was surprisingly good, and fortunately did not in the slightest resemble the smelly creatures on our deck each morning.

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Most of the yachts from the Cornell Atlantic Odyssey were in port amongst the Christmas trees.

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Port St Charles is definitely the place to check into out of Barbados in a yacht. In Bridgetown, you have a long hot walk to the cruise ship port. We only spent 2 nights in Barbados, more had been planned until we saw the weather forecast. Unless we wanted to stay another week, we needed to move quickly to beat the predicted strong winds and big seas. After a boisterous and squall studded night at sea, we passed the Pitons of St Lucia

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and arrived in Marigot Bay, a very pleasant spot to spend a few nights.

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marigot-anch

The weather is definitely still rainy season. One minute sunny, the next pouring.

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We anchored off in Rodney Bay for a few nights. Although the ARC rally had finished, there were still quite a few ARC yachts still in the marina. The limitation of being part of a rally with a specific departure date was very obvious this year. We left when the winds were right, taking a total of 19 days to cross. Many ARC boats were becalmed for up to a week mid Atlantic, some taking 30days to complete the crossing.

The strong winds and 4metre seas dropped so we headed across to Martinique. Caribbean sailing is quite different from sailing in the Med.  Sailing is brisk, there are consistent winds 15-20knots, quite big seas between the islands then calm sailing up the lee of the islands. You need to pick your day to cross between the islands in this part of the world.

Martinique is lush, green and mountainous.

martinique-new Since arriving here, we’ve had heavy rain most days with beautiful rainbows.

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We’ve anchored in Anse Dufour, good for snorkelling and St Pierre, the small seaside village where, in 1902 its substantial population of 30,000 were killed by the eruption of nearby Mt Pelee.

peleeWe only had one night in Dominica (more to come, we hope).

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dominica

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We picked up a mooring in the very windy main bay of Les Saintes, a small group of islands just south of Guadeloupe where we were to spend Christmas.

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Les Saintes is a very pretty spot good walks, good anchorages and a pleasant local town with friendly people. Unfortunately the French Christmas dinner did not live up to expectations!

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les-saintes-goatsOur last few days with Tine and Gordon were spent at Pigeon Island, a beautiful anchorage with fabulous snorkelling with the turtles right off the boat. We also had our first scuba dive in the Caribbean.

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pigeon-sunsetLa Touna near the anchorage was a fitting farewell meal for Gordon and Tine – great food in a wonderful setting.

pigoen-dinnerTine and Gordon were great crew for our Atlantic crossing. They headed back to cold, dark Copenhagen while we sail north towards Montserrat for New Year.tine-and-gordon We have about a week island hopping our way north to the Virgin Islands where we meet friends and family in mid January.

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