Sunday, April 3, 2011


Guadeloupe's two main islands
look like a lopsided butterfly.
The ‘wings’are separated by a naviagable river
and we had a plan.

But wait. Getting there is half the fun. Right?
So let’s slow down a bit.

We couldn’t come to Guadeloupe without spending
some time in The Saintes, a collection of islands
off the southwest corner of  the main islands.
Bourg des Saintes, the only town there, 
is colourful and charming.

And in addition to bistros and baguettes,
there are beaches to enjoy.

Plage de Pompierre ……

Plage de Figuier ……

And the beach at Marigot Bay ……

The next stop was Pointe a Pitre,
the largest city in Guadeloupe.
We hadn’t seen high rises like these since Florida, in fact the whole experience coming into Pointe a Pitre was very reminiscent of the ICW heading into Miami.

Having a little walkabout is always part of the experience.
There were house and garden moments ……

The inevitable big city road construction ......

And MacDonald’s the French way …… ooh la la.

Geoff found some unexpected art
outside a restaurant men’s room.
Whoever placed those chairs had a good eye
for colour, shape and form.
Or did the artist work around them?

But enough sightseeing. It’s time for a ‘jungle cruise’ up the river.

The Riviere Salee is a natural saltwater channel through mangroves rich with bird life. But there are drawbacks to this passage - shallow depths in some areas and two bridges that open once a day on a set schedule. Traveling north, the first bridge opens at 5am and the second bridge at 520. Many cruisers avoid the river.

The day before our planned passage through Salt River and on to Antigua, we moved Beach House from the city anchorage to the staging anchorage
within sight of the first bridge.
And then we took a little dinghy ride
to check out the Riviere Salee in daylight.

The first bridge, Pont de la Gabarre, is a combination road
and pedestrian bridge that open in tandem.

The second bridge is Pont d’Alliance
with a sharp dogleg to port right past it.

The guidebooks promised flying friends
and we weren’t disappointed.

It was 5pm – roosting time for the night.

But this silver bird surprised us.
It appeared so quickly that we were lucky to get a picture at all. What’s missing is a size reference to us and the dinghy, but this shot is not zoomed in. The airport runway is just over the fence to the left and this big bird was seconds to touch down.

We were up at 415 the next morning, sipping caffeine in the cockpit while watching cabin lights come on in the other three boats in the anchorage. We would have company along the river. We changed the ASA on the camera to try for shots in the dark, but we ended up with some unplanned ‘arty’ shots.

The catamaran just ahead of us was first through the bridge. As Beach House passed through Pont de la Gabarre, I called up “Bon jour!” to the bridge tender. His response? “Allez! Allez!” We do wonder how he filled the rest of a work shift after his half hour here.

Twenty-five minutes later we approached the Pont de l’Alliance.
The light was measurably better.

Ahead? No more bridges,
just a well marked channel to follow
with mosquitoes for company.
Beaucoup de mozzies.

Sunrise is always a welcome sight on these early starts.

We cleared the north end of the river and followed
the rest of the channel towards the reefs
that fringe the exit to open water.

There was a small surf along the eastern reef,
just enough to make an Aussie boy a little homesick.

Will we do the Riviere Salee again? Maybe, but there are so many other possible adventures. Our research has convinced us that Beach House will be back to Guadeloupe. The interior beckons with its rain forest, cloud forest and waterfalls.
The Carib Indian word for Guadeloupe is Karukera,
meaning ‘island of lovely waters’. Who could resist?


  1. Guadeloupe and Isles des Saintes, favourites for us. If you anchor outside the old marina in Basse-Terre take the boardwalk into town, go to the markets and look for the beautiful woman who sells packs of spiced chocolate mix and the best Colombo curry mix in the Caribbean.

  2. You guys are sooooooo coooooooool. I want to be you when I grow up. Geoff, where can I pick up a cursing babe like Pat?

  3. Dear Anonymous. Not sure where you can find a CURSING babe, but if you stroll the docks you may find a CRUISING babe.