About Amoebe Sailing

ILES DES SAINTES

Des Saintes - another little french island belonging to Guadeloupe, it was formerly a community that relied on fishing From our previous visit five years ago, i had always described this island as my "happy place" - a place I go to in my mind when I want to be calm. It is simply beautiful and utterly charming. Little white houses with pink rooftops dot the hillsides. its very lush and green and brightly  coloured flowers bloom everywhere. The town, Bourg des Saintes has basically one main street starting at the waterfront and running through the town. On either side of the street you can find little shops selling souveniers, scooter rentals, artwork, clothing, tiny grocery stores, restaurants and little bakeries with the heavenly smell of freshly baked french bread wafting out onto the streets. Its quite busy during the  day as small ferry boats from Pointe a Pitre bring in an influx of day trippers. Scooter rentals are very popular here and can be hired for a very reasonable 20EC per day. The houses are small brightly coloured and are reminiscent of gingerbread houses, where flowers grow in abundance. No one is in a hurry - you can stroll along the waterfront, savouring the sights and seeing where all the local boats are anchored.

We anchored in a tiny quiet bay behind Pain de Sucre  - a 200ft mini -piton. It is joined to the island by a low strip of land with lovely beaches on either side, close to a small hotel, surrounded by hills. The water was aqua blue and oh so clear. At night, because it was so dark on account of the steep hills and lack of lights, the stars were shined so brilliantly. Its a geat way to start and end the day by jumping overboard for a swim. The snorkling was also very good and a great variety of fish can be seen in this bay.

It is a 20 minute dinghy ride to get to the town and because the water was choppy - we usually ended up getting soaked. It too that it rains a lot here. Just short downpours that last a few minutes, then its back to glorious sunshine. We were more than happy with Felippe - the charming man who visited the anchoring boats in the late afternoon collecting orders for freshly baked  croissants and french bread that he delivered by 7AM each morning

There is a fortress overlooking the town called Mt Chameau - it is a (somewhat) challenging  1000 ft uphill hike to reach the fortress. Fortunately the road is paved as it winds steeply towards the top. There are plenty of opportunities along the way to take a break, to stop and admire the scenery and take pictures. Along the way we were accompanied by some of the small goat herds that roam freely around the island, you can hear the goats bleating (is that the s ound goats make?) quite early in the morning. We reached the fortress after walking for about an hour. It was so worth the climb - the 360 degree views were magnificent, we rested for a while and had a cold drink before heading down.

Another part of this island that I enjoyed seeing was the cemetery. It is situated at the bottom of a hill that overlooks the sea. The pathway into and through the graveyard is lined with conch shells. Some of the above-ground graves (tombs) are made of marble, some are tiled, and some are quite elaboately decorated with silk flowers, candles photos of the departed, engraved plaques.  Some of the simpler graves are lined with conch shells - I noticed that virtually every grave was 'decorated" in some way. What a great way to honour the loved ones and what a spot to be in as your final resting place.

I did find it difficult to find groceries. There were a few very ismall shops carrying the basics, but there was no fresh meat to be found, it was all frozen and a very limited selection - mainly chicken or goat meat. We were there for 4 days- so it really did not matter that much. One think I had forgotton about was the three hour siesta that is taken each day from noon til about 3ish. Most of the stores including banks, grocery shops and even some restauants close. The gift and souvenier shops remain open to the tourists . One of the downfalls - or rather minor annoyances, was the flies - hundreds of houseflies that seemed to arrive early in the morning, dissapear the return the next morning. We found out fom Fileppe that the dump site had been closed down a year or so ago, making way for a recycling program,  leaving the flies stranded, with nowhere to go. I found some of those horrible sticky strips that captured many of them, Gruber the cat was able to practise his hunting skills for hours on end!

I mentioned earlier about the scooters that are readily available to rent for the day. One morning John Joey and  I rented two bikes for the day. Its  a fabulous way to see more of the island, the bikes are easy to ride and manage the hills more efficiently than we would have on foot. We were able to go to several beaches, and I think that by the end of the day, we have gone up or down every street and lane in des Saintes.

So it was time to leave des Saintes and sail to Dominica - an easy 4 hour sail away.

Iles des Saintes - another little french island belonging to Guadeloupe, it was formerly a community that relied on fishing From our previous visit five years ago, i had always described this island as my "happy place" - a place I go to in my mind when I want to be calm. It is simply beautiful and utterly charming. Little white houses with pink rooftops dot the hillsides. its very lush and green and brightly  coloured flowers bloom everywhere. The town, Bourg des Saintes has basically one main street starting at the waterfront and running through the town. On either side of the street you can find little shops selling souveniers, scooter rentals, artwork, clothing, tiny grocery stores, restaurants and little bakeries with the heavenly smell of freshly baked french bread wafting out onto the streets. Its quite busy during the  day as small ferry boats from Pointe a Pitre bring in an influx of day trippers. Scooter rentals are very popular here and can be hired for a very reasonable 20EC per day. The houses are small brightly coloured and are reminiscent of gingerbread houses, where flowers grow in abundance. No one is in a hurry - you can stroll along the waterfront, savouring the sights and seeing where all the local boats are anchored.

We anchored in a tiny quiet bay behind Pain de Sucre  - a 200ft mini -piton. It is joined to the island by a low strip of land with lovely beaches on either side, close to a small hotel, surrounded by hills. The water was aqua blue and oh so clear. At night, because it was so dark on account of the steep hills and lack of lights, the stars were shined so brilliantly. Its a geat way to start and end the day by jumping overboard for a swim. The snorkling was also very good and a great variety of fish can be seen in this bay. <

It is a 20 minute dinghy ride to get to the town and because the water was choppy - we usually ended up getting soaked. It too that it rains a lot here. Just short downpours that last a few minutes, then its back to glorious sunshine. We were more than happy with Felippe - the charming man who visited the anchoring boats in the late afternoon collecting orders for freshly baked  croissants and french bread that he delivered by 7AM each morning

There is a fortress overlooking the town called Mt Chameau - it is a (somewhat) challenging  1000 ft uphill hike to reach the fortress. Fortunately the road is paved as it winds steeply towards the top. There are plenty of opportunities along the way to take a break, to stop and admire the scenery and take pictures. Along the way we were accompanied by some of the small goat herds that roam freely around the island, you can hear the goats bleating (is that the s ound goats make?) quite early in the morning. We reached the fortress after walking for about an hour. It was so worth the climb - the 360 degree views were magnificent, we rested for a while and had a cold drink before heading down.

Another part of this island that I enjoyed seeing was the cemetery. It is situated at the bottom of a hill that overlooks the sea. The pathway into and through the graveyard is lined with conch shells. Some of the above-ground graves (tombs) are made of marble, some are tiled, and some are quite elaboately decorated with silk flowers, candles photos of the departed, engraved plaques.  Some of the simpler graves are lined with conch shells - I noticed that virtually every grave was 'decorated" in some way. What a great way to honour the loved ones and what a spot to be in as your final resting place.

I did find it difficult to find groceries. There were a few very ismall shops carrying the basics, but there was no fresh meat to be found, it was all frozen and a very limited selection - mainly chicken or goat meat. We were there for 4 days- so it really did not matter that much. One think I had forgotton about was the three hour siesta that is taken each day from noon til about 3ish. Most of the stores including banks, grocery shops and even some restauants close. The gift and souvenier shops remain open to the tourists . One of the downfalls - or rather minor annoyances, was the flies - hundreds of houseflies that seemed to arrive early in the morning, dissapear the return the next morning. We found out fom Fileppe that the dump site had been closed down a year or so ago, making way for a recycling program,  leaving the flies stranded, with nowhere to go. I found some of those horrible sticky strips that captured many of them, Gruber the cat was able to practise his hunting skills for hours on end!<

I mentioned earlier about the scooters that are readily available to rent for the day. One morning John Joey and  I rented two bikes for the day. Its  a fabulous way to see more of the island, the bikes are easy to ride and manage the hills more efficiently than we would have on foot. We were able to go to several beaches, and I think that by the end of the day, we have gone up or down every street and lane in des Saintes.

So it was time to leave des Saintes and sail to Dominica - an easy 4 hour sail away.

pictures to follow

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Posted by Amoeba Sailing Tours on Wed, February 09, 2011 at 01:08 PM