Yet some more sunsets:
We first sailed up the coast of Guadeloupe and anchored at Pidgeon Island. The area there is called Cousteau National Park. Of course I had to snorkel there. The variety of fish was very impressive. Unfortunately I already broke one of our GoPro cameras because the waterproof cover was not really waterproof. So there are no underwater shots so far.
Anchorage at Deshaies, Guadeloupe:
The guide suggests activities for the shore leave. One of them is to walk up the river. There is supposed to be a small path and you have to climb over the stones. We should have been warned. The author of the guidebook wrote that readers had remarked that the walk was too strenuous, whereupon he wrote that a five-year-old child would have gone along the walk effortlessly. In short, we were not deterred and followed the river upstream. At first it went quite well. Either along the left or the right bank and the change of sides was done over the big stones in the river. Not super easy, but absolutely doable.
At some point, one were supposed to be able to turn to the left into a street and walk easily and comfortably back to the village. Hm, there was no branching off path and the trail also became narrower and more difficult to discover. We climbed a little higher and walked in the direction of the road. Pretty soon we went through the bushes. Several scratches on the legs and some ant bites were the result. But we didn’t give up.
After about 2 hours of jungle adventure we came across the first signs of civilization: A sugar cane field and garbage in the forest. You could see a house, but there was a dog barking, so we decided to carry on a bit further. At a monastery we finally came out of the forest and found the road leading back to the village. I wonder if the connection between the river and the road has become overgrown since the guide book was published?
At least we now had a nice view of the bay and our ship:
The second day trip was a visit to the botanical garden. It lies uphill up the road. Although there is a shuttle bus, we felt fit and walked up the hill. The way was not too far, but since here it is almost 30 degrees Celsius even in the morning, we arrived quite sweaty and out of breath. Anyway, the lady at the cash desk felt obliged to draw our attention to the shuttle service. (On the way back we made use of it.) The garden was beautifully laid out with a koi carp pond, parrots and flamingos, artificial waterways and of course lots of exotic plants: palm trees, coloured leaves, strelics, hibiscus etc. etc. All in huge sizes not to be compared with our indoor plant varieties. All over the place there were points to which orchids could cling. The visit was very nice. As the icing on the cake, there was also good mobile phone reception on the mountain and I was finally able to make a few due transfers. Banking in the garden – that’s how it should be 🙂
We had just found a place and settled down in the anchorage bay Freeman Bay near English Harbour, Antigua, when another German ship with Transocean pennant arrived and chose a place in front of us. During my snorkeling trip I swam by and invited them to visit our ship. When they came, they made a nice and actually quite satisfied impression. We were all the more astonished when we met the woman on another German ship the evening after next and learned that she had been thrown off the ship and must now book her journey home. Well, living together on board can have its difficulties. But on our ship it can’t happen so easily that one of us is thrown off the ship. For once one suitcase wouldn’t be enough and anyway we both don’t like the tasks of the other one too much, thus being a good team as it is. 😉
English Harbour is a kind of super yacht meeting place. Normally, one only sees a super yacht with a huge mast and admires it from a distance. At night, this yacht has a red obstruction light on the top of its mast and the mast is nicely illuminated by more white lights. In English Harbour one looks at a whole forest of masts. In between there are some motor yachts that are worth looking at. Even the galleon figures are eye-catchers:
This is where the money of London’s financial scene is lying around 😉 The prices in the souvenir shops are accordingly. A tea towel costs 15 US dollars. I did without it…….
We were twice ashore and again on a supermarket tour. The nearby supermarket was small but ok and had a lot of British products (yummy :)). But there should be another one, which should be bigger and well sorted according to the travel guide. We went to look for it with the bikes and almost passed by it. The supermarket was much smaller and also not as good equipped as the first one. But there was an advertisement of the supermarket in the travel guide. Hm, might there be a connection here? According to the travel guide, another highlight should be a manor house that had just been prepared as a museum and should be open to the public, when the governor doesn’t use it. Well, he must have been at home, at least everything was locked up. I’m beginning to treat our guide with caution.
There are a lot of ships in Freeman Bay. The bay is quite protected, but like everywhere else there are a few gaps in the mountains through which the wind can blow. When there is little wind, the extra blow causes the boats to drift in every direction. Sometimes they are offset at an angle of 90 to 180 degrees. Of course, with long anchor chains this can lead to the fact that you get too close to your neighbours. We had to move our anchor once because a neighboring boat swung too close to us.
In the harbour we saw two of the rowing boats that had just come over the Atlantic.
After a few days we continued north. Barbuda also belongs to Antigua. A flat island with few inhabitants. We anchored with only two super yachts in a bay. You had to take a panorama photo to photograph both yachts at the same time. The beach was accordingly lonely and the water had a great turquoise colour. Real Caribbean feeling.
The next stop on our journey was St. Martin/Sint Maarten. The island has a Dutch and a French part. We first arrived in the Dutch part, but the next day we drove around the corner to the French part. There our new Watt&Sea hydrogen generator should have been delivered.
Mathias drove to the store and asked, but the owner couldn’t give any information because he was absorbed in a poker game. Only when Mathias was talking to someone else and our ship name came up, did the lady at the cash register suddenly say she had a package for this ship. So it had already been delivered!
Nevertheless, we could not go on immediately. There was still the project to optimize the SSB radio reception and there was strong wind. Although the weather was such that one could start the trip across the Caribbean Sea, it could become uncomfortable. For the SSB project Mathias had some special parts delivered to our daughter in Hamburg, hoping that someone would come to Panama and bring these parts with him. But this hope was shattered. It is difficult to get people to come spontaneously. Since the price for the air freight was almost identical to a return flight ticket, I decided to pick up the items and thus be able to have a home leave of one week. Finally some cold weather again 😉
The flight to Hamburg or Amsterdam gave me a strange feeling. In only 7 hours I was almost back at the starting point from which we had started half a year ago. In such a short time, all the distance we had covered, including the so exciting crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, was wiped out. But sailing is the much nicer way to travel. I didn’t like the crowds at the airport and the confinement of the plane.
Meanwhile Mathias lived dangerously: Right next to our ship he witnessed a shark attack on a huge old turtle!
But dangers do not only lurk in water. The woman from the shop we had our things sent to died in my absence. The rumor mill reports that she had kidney pain, but the ambulance didn’t come. It seems to be difficult to be treated if you are not admitted as an emergency, in any case they were waiting for the ambulance the next day, which did not come either. By then it was probably too late. A rather sad story, which once again reminds us how well we are taken care of in Germany.
On the other hand there were also some nice visitors in the bay. We met another Neel 51 (the “Carry On”) owner who dropped by. We inspected each other’s ships. He has owned his Neel one year longer than we have and already had many good ideas where you can simplify or improve something. More projects for Mathias coming up 😉
In the meantime I am back on board and we prepare for the journey to Panama.
For sailors: Under “Fun Facts” there is a new article about our experiences with Parasailor sailing.
And for those interested in Neel, we have initiated a forum: https://neelownersgroup.createaforum.com
Or you can contact us directly via e-mail: info(at)trimaran-san.de (but only at times when we have mobile phone reception).