May 31, 2009

St. Martin to Guadeloupe

We stayed in St. Martin for three days, spent mostly recovering from the long motor sail from St. Thomas. We also caught up on home schooling and a couple of boat projects. St. Martin has numerous boat related services, about anything anyone would want, and also has a well protected lagoon that you enter via an opening bridge through a small channel. The downside of this is a very commercial atmosphere, with the assorted pollution, not to mention the airport with the flight path right over the anchorage. All said not one of our favorite spots, but if one is in need of a protected anchorage and or boat repairs, it would be hard to beat.

We now have a deadline, a haul out date of July 16th in Grenada with flights back to WA state on the 17th, so with this in mind we started to make some tracks. We have seen some amazing islands but unfortunately are just filling the list for things to do next year as we spend a night at each island and then push on south again.

We stopped on the northwest corner of St. Barts in a marine park, very dry area with nice snorkeling, beaches and hiking and a nice remote feeling after St. Martin. We then sailed to St. Kitts and Nevis, the islands being separated by only a narrow channel. The islands have huge mountains nearing 4000 feet, that plunge right to the ocean. There are not very many good anchorages unless conditions are settled, which fortunately they were. We anchored for the night on the north west coast of Nevis. Both islands are very lush as they get frequent rain storms from the mountains trapping moisture. We then pushed on to Guadeloupe, but not before passing Montserrat.

Montserrat was and remains a stunning island, but in 1997 the volcano erupted on the southern end burying the town of Plymouth as well as several residents. The volcano remains active. We sailed down the west coast going within a quarter mile. The north remains lush with beautiful houses then suddenly gives way to a barren brown landscape, with the town of Plymouth only visible as the roof line. As we passed sulfur was being vented providing a sharp smell for the crew. Jake wants to be the first people to step foot on the island (ignoring that people still live there) and hike to the top of the mountain to determine whether "it is a volcano or there are bad guys pouring lava down"

We are now anchored in Deshaies Guadeloupe, a picturesque fishing village that is quite possible the most beautiful anchorage we have seen.

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