Feeling Like a Kid in Guadeloupe

Sailing to Guadeloupe

People want to know “What’s it like to cruise full-time?”
The best answer I have is, “It is similar to being a kid again. You get up with the sun, you play hard, often with good friends, you explore new places, eat and shower when you can, yet sleep like a log. The only difference is you probably drink more.”
– Tess, 1st mate, S/V Ingomar

A New Destination

Somewhat reluctant to depart Anitigua because we had not explored the northwest side, any doubt was quickly suspended when we sailed into our first port, Deshaies. Not to be fickle but Guadaloupe is beautiful. It is also French, which means quality food and easy check-ins!

Deshaies, a quaint fishing port, is also a clearance port. Like all French islands clearance was a breeze, and with our papers we were free to walk around and were delighted, at first glimpse, with the town. Deshaies is small but pretty, with a long sandy beach which hosts beach bars, stores and restaurants on both sides of the main road. It was clean and had accessible wifi.

Another merit – the restaurants. My sis, Jac, had sent a New York Times article, extolling the food virtues of the island. I quickly came to realize why. The menus written outside on chalkboards were tantalizing. I also spied a woman making sorbet on a table, under a tree, and made a mental note to check her out the next day. Back onboard the aroma drifting from the hills into the anchorage was pure nirvana. Filbert has a habit, that is typically adorable of our furmate. As we close in on port, he lifts his head, points his nose up in the air and sniffs. In our anchorage you could look around and see all the cruisers doing Filly’s ‘sniff the air’ move. The aroma was intoxicating.

Hanging out on Foredeck
Montserrat Volcano
The Port of Deshaies
Dinghy Dock
Deshaies Beach
Menu in Deshaies
TiSento In the Sunset
Filly Lounging on Dodger

Food + Hiking = Bliss

We had met Kinship (Kath & Matt) ashore and arranged to do a hike the next day up the Deshaies river. The route wasn’t entirely clear as we set out but we found a route rock-jumping up the river bed. It was cool, with the forest looming high on either side of us, offering welcome relief from the blazing sun. The plant life and trees were prodigious, lush and green, towering over us on either side. I felt 10 again and clearly remember many days spent rock jumping on the beaches of Newfoundland.

After our hike I twisted the arm of my co-hikers into a visit to the Sorbet woman (a lie). When we first got there she was empty but insisted we ‘restez ici’ until she retuned. We did and return she did! We had the best ice-cream, passion and coco sorbet, creamy but not sweet. All for $2 euros a cup. A couple of beers and wifi concluded our great hike. On the way back to the boat we ran into TiSento (Agnes & Bas) and over a couple of beers we were awestruck by the sunset. As we sailed to Guadeloupe the previous day we noticed the cloud over Montserrat was changing. The active volcano looked … active. And sure enough, it was rumbling and the particles in the air painted beautiful sunsets, orange and red.

The next day we were up with the sun, took a dinghy ride to the patisserie for croissants and bread. One of the best things about the French islands is the patisserie or bakery. There’s one or two in every town, and the bread, croissants, pain au chocolate, eclair, flips, whatever is divine!

We stayed onboard for the day, scrubbing Ingomar, giving the boat a well deserved once-over, tackling things like the stainless steel fittings and other such boring tasks. Sufficiently bored we shared a happy hour with TiSento and sadly said goodbye to them as we were taking different paths. Hopefully we get to meet up with them somewhere down the way.

Deshaies Street
You go Explore and I’ll nap

DesHaies River Hike
Hopping Rocks on the Deshaies River
Sulky waiting for sorbet
Madame Sorbet

Cousteau National Park

The next stop was one I had been anticipating before we’d even left to come on this trip. The Cousteau Underwater Park, comprised of 2 islands and a mile of coastline offered the best snorkelling I’ve ever experienced. It was breathtaking. I remember watching Jacques Cousteau on TV as a kid and thinking, ‘I’d like to do that”, or at go with him on his underwater adventures. And voila! here we are. The water is crystal clear, with healthy coral and an astounding array of sea life. I could have swam for hours and intend on revisiting on the way back. We anchored across from the park in Pigeon Island Anchorage where there were 2 variety of turtles swimming under our boat and starfish everywhere. It was the coolest place I have been yet! We also ran into Kinship and Terrapin who were anchored there.

We stocked up on provisions the next day at the Lieder Price, a Costco style store but with a french twist. The grocery shopping in the french islands is amazing; our boat is full of tapinade, olives, pestos, marinated artichokes and cheeses. We left Guadeloupe and sailed to Anse å la Barque because the rolling in Pigeon had been too much. I swam in the morning and saw an amazing amount of coral and fish before we hauled anchor again and set sail for a new destination.

Guadeloupe is an amazing island and we’ve seen a small part but will revisit on the return trip. Hiking, swimming, snorkelling and hanging with friends were indelibly etched into my brain superimposed on the map of Guadeloupe (shaped like a butterfly!). People say that you can’t relive your youth but cruising is an expeditious way to get a little closer to your inner kid.

Oh, Yesterdays over my shoulder, so I can’t go back there too long,
Theres just too much to see, waiting in front of me, I know I just can’t go wrong.
~Jimmy Buffett – Changes in Latitude

Coral Tree
Pretty Fishy
Fish under Keel
Yellow Coral
Coral in Jacques Cousteau.\

Author: tess

We, Al my husband, Filbert my cat and I, sailed our 37-foot Tartan to the Caribbean from Newfoundland in 2016-2017. We documented it on our blog, greatbigsail.com Today I continue to write about sailing, improve my photography skills, practice graphic design and dream about sailing.

10 thoughts on “Feeling Like a Kid in Guadeloupe”

  1. AFT,

    Totally jealappy (jealous and happy).

    The lovely photo of you,perched on one of the many rocks, with a grin on your face, speaks volumes about this leg of your adventure. Is it any wonder that you feel like a kid?

    You think, can this adventure get any better. Indeed, it does… rumbling volcanoes, coral, colourful fish, patisseries and the jackpot, Cousteau National Park.

    The only ingredient missing in your perfect story is a mermaid.

    Thanks again for a thoroughly enjoyable read and beautiful photos. I imagine it takes hours to put these posts together.

    Stay safe and smiling. Love you.

    1. Hi Sista! It does take hours but I really enjoy it, so not a problem. No mermaids but a lot of birds. Hummingbirds!

      I keep thinking the same thing, can this get any better. It does! But you’ll have to read my upcoming posts to find out why 😉. Love you!

  2. Once again I find this post to be fortuitous!
    I as well am feeling like a kid, weather related but for a completely opposite reason. Snowday yesterday, snowday today heehaw. We are closing in on 60cm..mind you it is no Cousteau water miracle but I
    Take whatever pleasure comes my way.

    Guadaloupe looks and sounds delicious. I could almost smell it from this snowy rock in the Atlantic. The varying colours of the ocean are just crazy and beautiful. The variations of blue and green also a complete opposite to our ocean greys, I’d prefer to experience your colour schemes at the moment.

    Enjoy your snorkeling, I will try to enjoy my shovelling. Both of us shall enjoy feeling like kids again!

    Xxoo from me and the familiar and the snow. ❤️

    1. Hey Jac! I think the synchronicity is awesome, we’re obviously like minded people. 2 snow days in a row? Thats pretty awesome and I bet the snowshoeing is gonna be something else. The colours are incredible here and the islands get more colourful the further south we go. I always thought NL’ers painted their houses bright but these guys outshine us. Enjoy your snowy sissy and kisses to you and Murph!

  3. My favourite post so far Tess, your vivid descriptions make me feel like I am there. I especially loved the pictures in this post, the under water ones are amazing. I can’t imagine seeing it all first hand and I truly can smell the food, lol.
    What an experience you guys are having. Big hugs to you, Al and Filbert.

    1. Ah thanks Glo! The islands keep getting better so hopefully my posts will also 🙂 And yes we are having an experience of a lifetime. I still can’t believe we get to do it and we are soaking up every minute. Happy to share! XO to you and the kiddies.

  4. As always- Awesome blog of amazing adventures. I am guessing there will be a book in your future on this trip of a lifetime.
    Stay safe-enjoy every minute & keep those awesome updates coming.
    Happy Valentines Day from the rock. 60-70cm of snow in 2 days & N/E winds 80-100 km.

    1. Hey Ted! Wow that’s a lot of snow, even for Newfoundland. I can’t say I miss it but that much would be fun! A book? Who knows but if It would keep me out here then I might do it!

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