We found the islands too busy and full of tourists the last time we visited in January 2012 and as the mooring area was very rolly we only stayed a couple of nights. This time our week here has been peaceful at anchor and on moorings and we have thoroughly enjoyed browsing the shops and exploring Terre d’en Haut.
Before we left Pain de Sucre we took a few photos whilst snorkelling. The cliffs of the Sugar Loaf are spectacular from just below and there are many types of fish to see in the clear water.
The beach is small but lovely and backed by palm trees. It was a great anchorage although the water quickly deepens to over 10 metres and there are some rocks close to shore, so you need to get anchored in 7-8 metres to be on the safe side.
When we motored the mile back to the moorings off Bourg des Saintes there were many free and we were spoilt for choice. The next morning we got up early and before 0800 were walking around the quiet streets before the town awoke. If you don’t want to walk you can rent electric cars and scooters but they are a bit of a hazard, as you can’t hear them coming up behind you.
A new fish market was awaiting the day’s catch and the park was quiet. From there we walked east to the coast and passed the tiny airstrip on the way.
On the same road, the cemetery is well worth a visit just to see how beautifully it is kept. The graves are raised tiled structures mostly, with artificial flowers adorning them, some of which are housed in glazed cabinets. A few graves are only raised earth with conch shells as a border instead. Apparently many French Navy sailors are buried here. It is close to the windward beach, which is so rough it is forbidden to swim there or undertake any watersports.
There is a boat shaped house, which was left to the island on the condition that a Medical Doctor lived there, so it is known as the Doctor’s House.
After that we walked up to Fort Napoleon, a 20-minute walk up the hill to the north of town. It is only open from 0900 – 1200 so we made the most of the cool of the early morning to be there when it opened. It costs 5 Euros to get in. Another worthwhile visit, with many exhibits to see in the restored fort and plenty of information in both English and French. Guadeloupe used the fort for housing convicts and for the quarantine of sick people. The gardens are well kept and the view is wonderful in all directions but the toilets could do with some updating.
We succumbed to some of the shops in the end. There are just so many clothes shops with some really unusual and lovely designs. The pharmacy also sells a big variety of sunglasses, sandals and cosmetics. I bought a dress and polarized sunglasses (another pair went overboard recently!) and some flip-flops for Rob. These are made in 1 piece so shouldn’t suffer from the glue melting and the soles falling off. We also had to have some ice cream and crêpes from the stall in the square near the ferry dock. As you do ☺
Our evening out started off with an incredibly strong cocktail at a beach side bar, so I left half of that. We then moved to La Fringale opposite the dinghy dock, for a lovely meal, with wine it cost 90 Euros though, so not exactly local prices. The service and ambience was excellent despite there only being 3 tables taken. It is definitely low season now.
We stocked up with food from the Carrefour Express and Vival supermarkets, a rotisserie chicken from Robbe and bottled water from Delco, close to the dinghy dock.
So, with a heavy heart we have to leave tomorrow and will stop briefly for part of the night in Portsmouth on Dominica before heading further south to Martinique. These islands are a great place to spend time, safe, clean, easy to get around on foot and have all the provisions you could need and plenty of items you don’t. Another one added to our list of ‘favourite islands’!