I just noticed that I haven't written a blog in more than a week. I know that some of you enjoy reading them, so I'm sorry to make you wait.
One of the reason for this delay is a severe back pain. It was caused by constant strain on my legs and back during a night sail of about 10 hours between Antigua and Guadeloupe a week ago. After dropping anchor and sleeping a few hours, I had problems getting out of bed and standing straight on my feet. I started on muscle relaxants and got something stronger when we arrived at Les Saintes Islands. It took me a couple of days of pills and ice packs to feel good enough to walk on shore and enjoy Les Saintes. For whatever reason, today the sharp stab pains are back (excuse the pun). A good thing we're only doing 15 miles today. I'll continue with pills and ice packs.
The Caribbean seas are different than the ocean. We don't have much ocean experience of course but we definitely see a difference of wave action between our three-day trip from Caicos to Puerto Rico and the seas around the leeward islands. The Atlantic water were big swells with small waves on top. The swells were 8-10 seconds apart. In the Caribbean Sea, the waves are more predominent than the swells. The waves are easily one metre high or more. Some hit Komeekha like a wall. Unless we're following a shore, in a light wind day, we never have flat water. When we had flat water along Dominica 2 days ago, we remembered that our last time of flat water was in Miami! Even anchored in bays, there's always some water movement.
Les Saintes is a cluster of small islands, part of Guadeloupe. They were discovered by Christopher Columbus on All Saints Day in 1493. Later, both French and English fought over it. First the French won it, then the English. Many islands including Guadeloupe were given back to the French in exchange for Canada and other territories during the Treaty of Paris in 1763. <span;>We visited Napoleon's fort at the top of a hill. According to our tour guide, this fort took 5 years to build. By the time it was completed, it was no longer necessary. It was used therefore for housing military personnel. The views from it are breathtaking.
Due to the size of Les Saintes, there are no large docks to accommodate cruise ships. The few of them that venture in have to anchor out in the bay and shuttle their passengers to shore using their life boats. The islands have many beaches and reefs - heaven for diving and snorkeling.
In Guadeloupe and Les Saintes, one of their specialty is "Tourments d'Amour". Translated: Love's Torments. They are tartelettes made of pie crust, jam (variety of flavors) and topped with cake (like angel cake). Blog picture. In the old days, when men went fishing at sea in small boats, big waves, the risk of capsizing was high. Women who stayed home baked their Tourments d'Amour for their men's safe return.
We made new boat friends from Quebec, their sailboat Gobe Sous passed us on our way to Les Saintes. During happy hour, we learned that they are veteran Caribbean sailors - 20+ years! Such good people! We learned a lot from them. We're looking forward to see them again next sailing season.
It's interesting how we make new friends. Here's another story. As we were waiting for a bridge to exit a lagoon in Sint-Maartens two weeks ago, a guy in a dinghie who noticed our Quebec courtesy flag, came alongside to chat. Jocelyn and his wife Nathalie, from somewhere near Sherbrooke, own a sailboat called Mordicus. They were also anchored in the lagoon but we didn't meet. We found out they would finish their ten-week season in Martinique mid-March. We parted hoping to see each other again this year. In Les Saintes, as Frank was clearing out at Customs, he saw Jocelyn. Both guys planned a happy hour in Martinique two days later. <span;>We're now in Martinique for another day. We<span;> loved getting to know Jocelyn, Nathalie and Jocelyn's parents (Michelle and Rene) last night over wine and cheese.
We'll sail to St. Lucia tomorrow for an overnight then St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a week. In St. Vincent, we hope to spend some time with friends from Guananoque (sailboat called Vitae). They are in St. Vincent for the month of March but will be busy helping friends who own Barefoot Sailing Charter. So we'll play it by ear.