For the first time in 22.5 months Kalunamoo was neither in Antigua or St. Lucia. We sailed from Antigua on January 17 to Deshaies, Guadeloupe in stiff easterly trades and made the jump in a little over 7 hours. That was a fast sail for us although Maureen didn’t appreciate the lumpy ride and neither did her stomach. But, as was written in the last blog, it was a shake down cruise but in this instance, it shook us down and not Kalunamoo.
We are now in Deshaies, the home of the TV show Death in Paradise. It is amazing how many people get killed here! It brings new meaning to the term “I would die for some time in such a beautiful island”. Well, it is a fictional TV detective show, but the island is beautiful, nonetheless.
This is a French island, actually a territory of France, just like St. Martin, and Martinique and so you really are on French soil. The last time we were on French soil was in pre- pandemic March 2020 in Martinique. At that time the only masks we wore were for the Carnaval. Now, masks are everywhere, and proof of vaccination is carried as restaurants and other gathering spaces are required to ask for it. We also had to have a covid test before entry and fill-out entry papers before arrival. That was all done but I had difficulty emailing it to the authorities and actually didn’t send it until after we arrived. On other islands, you appear before Customs, Immigration, Port Authority and Health Authorities when checking in. The French have a different way of operating. On entry, which you do on a computer at a tourist t-shirt shop, nothing was asked about all the requirements Somewhere in their computer system all these forms and documents gather together. I think. Maybe not, but at least we did our part.
A number of cruisers we know also made the voyage down from Antigua. Most of them from the Salty Dawg rally as it was time to start cruising. The pandemic does slow things a bit as entry to the various islands is still somewhat complicated, and somewhat expensive. In any case once they arrive it doesn’t take too much effort to get together for daytime gatherings and sundowners at night either ashore or on other boats. The great French food is always a draw. Even in small villages like Deshaies, the line for the day’s baguettes and croissants forms early in the morning. The sunsets at the waterfront cafes and restaurants may be something to die for or at least dream about.
We took the bus into Sainte Rose ($2.20 Euros) to get a Digicel sim card for our MiFi. This is used for internet connections as public WiFi’s are becoming less available. It also works great on the boat and no need to go ashore to “get connected’. This French Digicel plan works in all the Caribbean islands so hopefully when we get to St Lucia it will. While in Sainte Rose we stopped in a large vegetable store which had some interesting looking items:
I suppose all this ends up on the plate of the great French/Caribbean food that is served in restaurants.
And of course, there is always desert.
We will be spending a week or two in Guadeloupe before sailing south to the other French Island, Martinique. Most of February will be spent there. As mentioned above it has been almost 2 years since we have visited these French islands and so we have a bit of catching up to do. We need to brush up on our very limited French vocabulary also!