Posted by: bearcruzer | June 29, 2010

Iles des Saintes – the Saints

June 5th – June 10th, 2010

After a quiet evening in Dashais we traveled along the coast of Guadeloupe passing S/V Sanctuary and S/V Just Imagine anchored just off the southern coast.   We had decided that morning to travel on to Iles des Saintes just south of Guadeloupe and found that they were also headed there.   S/V Persephone had decided to travel up to Pointe a Pitre for some supplies and water but when they heard we were all headed to Iles des Saints they changed course and met us there.   The quaint town of Bourg de Saintes lies along a protected anchorage on Terre d’en Haut.   The buildings have a lot of gingerbread trim on many of their buildings.  I have been told by those that have visited the Mediterranean that the atmosphere of this Island is very similar.  These are a group of French speaking Islands and we do not have any French phrase books so we have had to rely on the kindness of bilingual strangers when in need of translations.    Fort Napoleon sits atop a hill close to the town and La Chameau, an old Napoleonic Lookout Tower sits atop the Islands highest point and offers great 360 degree views of the Island and the entire archipelago.    Michael and I got up early one morning and hiked up to this tower.   Vehicles are not allowed and so those that make the trek have definitely earned the spectacular views.   The hike took us along an old road surrounded by lush greenery and flowers.  Along many stretches we found ourselves engulfed in a cloud of yellow and white butterflies.    We have watched a constant stream of smoke that appears about ¾ the way up the hill the tower is on.   We contrived a story that this was a fumarole (volcanic vent) and like Monteserrat, Iles des Saintes was also an active volcanic area, teasing them that their boats were closer to it than ours.   We had a number of our friends believing us when we finally had to come clean and let them know it was just the local town’s burn area for trash.     We have enjoyed reuniting with our friends and sharing stories over a few cold drinks and of course a French baguette with plenty of Olive Oil and Balsamic for dipping.   The weather was promising a bit of a hard blow and big seas so remained in this slightly rolly but protected anchorage.    We enjoyed walks around the little Island.  We hiked up to the Fort twice.  The first day we arrived late and it was closed but we enjoyed a scenic picnic lunch we had brought along.   The next day we hiked up again and enjoyed imagining what life must have been like for the soldiers that lived there.   It is an impressive structure.  It was constructed and in operation around the Era that was depicted in the movie Master and Commander to spark your imaginations.   The top of the fort has been planted and is now a botanical garden with a museum inside the central barracks with Dioramas of the Historic Battles between the French and English.     We took lots of pics and then meandered back down into the town and stopped for a scoop of sorbet/ gelee before returning to DD.

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  1. beautiful photos. I like the sound of this place and never have heard of it before.

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