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We’re cruising our way through three months in the Caribbean. We’d spent eight days on Basse Terre, the main island of Guadeloupe, and had just two nights in Îles des Saintes, also known as Les Saintes. Looking back, Les Saintes was one of our highlights in the Caribbean, and we wish we’d spent more time here.
My cousin Sarah is with us; she arrived in Antigua and will be with us for a total of three weeks, departing in Dominica.
Îles des Saintes is a dependancy island group of Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is an overseas territory of France in the Caribbean. Therefore, Îles des Saintes is a part of France.
Jeans for Freedom offers ferry trips from Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) and Fort-de-France (Martinique) to Les Saintes. CTM Deher offers ferry trips from Trois-Rivieres and Basse Terre (the city), both in southern Basse-Terre (the island).
Sarah and I headed into the town of Bourg des Saintes to check things out. We were very pleased to find this cute little town. The Saints seem to be a bit more touristy than most of Guadeloupe that we have seen, but with that comes…let’s say…better curb appeal? In some parts of Guadeloupe, what we’ve seen is more along the lines of poverty.
There’s a few grocery shops – a Carrefour Express and two gourmet shops.
Thursday our goal was to hike to the top of Le Chameau, a lookout on the highest point in the saints. It was a fantastic hike, mostly on a road, but very steep. Excellent workout, excellent views.
With our friend Anna, Sarah and I hiked up to Fort Napoléon des Saintes, to see the view and museum. The museum was 5€ per person and was quite bizarre. We saw antique sewing machines, old Guadeloupe currency, modern art, a model of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria, preserved fish, and dioramas of naval battles, to name a small fraction of the variety.
We had lunch at Smooth Sea: juices, smoothies, and salads (Sarah is a vegan). Next, we stopped for ice cream at Cesibon. Good ice cream, but the cone didn’t taste as good as it smelled.
Next, we cooled off by taking the dinghy over to the beach at Anse à Cointre for a snorkel. While the coral wasn’t amazing, the water was crystal clear.
Sarah and I pulled out the pool noodles and went for a swim right in the mooring field too. It was actually a bit chilly, and we would occasionally swim a lap around Starry Horizons to warm ourselves up. Then we adjourned to the bow for reading. And what was David doing for all this? Cleaning the cockpit and polishing the stainless. Man, I’m a lucky lady.
We knew to keep an eye out for our friends Spike and Anna on Tribe, who we met in Bermuda. We saw them approaching us as they made their way between the islands, and we were just about a mile behind them coming into the mooring field.
After our hike, we organized to hang out with Spike and Anna. We had appetizers and gave them a tour of Starry Horizons, then chatted more over dinner. It was wonderful catching up with them again.
The next morning Spike and David enthusiastically got to work on a Starry Horizons project, moving our lazy jacks, which I’ll let David tell you all about. Suffice it to say Spike is a wealth of knowledge and David worked hard to sponge as much as possible.
We got settled on the mooring (26€ for two nights). The water was 50 feet deep, but the clearest we have ever seen. We paid for the HotHotHotWifi only to find it terribly slow.
Unfortunately, we missed the morning hours for customs, so we had to wait to clear out until 2 pm. We left as quickly as possible to make it to Dominica before dark – yet another upwind slog.
Awaiting us in Dominica: the PAYS (Portsmouth Area Yacht Security), saying goodbye to Sarah, a beach BBQ, hikes, and waterfalls.