Guadeloupe to Antigua

gbowdish - December 14, 2009

After spending a rolly night in the anchorage at the Saintes, I went ashore the next morning to clear in with Customs, only to learn that the fax machine was broken, and I would have to go to the main island of Guadeloupe.  I stocked up on baguettes and french cheese, fresh produce from a roadside stand, and a bottle of the local rum. On the way back to my kayak, I ran into Ed and Heidi from Shearwater, a catamaran that had been anchored near me in Dominica. We seem to be on similar cruising schedules

I decided to sail to Deshaies in search of Customs, although Ed said he had never found the office open on several prior visits. I was treated with no fewer than four rainbows as I motor-sailed up the leeward coast of Guadeloupe, and dropped the anchor in Deshaies harbor just before sunset. The next morning after clearing Customs, I was stopped on the street by Marilyn from Discovery, who had sailed with her husband Carl from Pentwater on Lake Michigan last summer. She had seen me come in the night before and saw Gaiamar's home port of Grand Haven, MI on the transom. Upon my return to the boat that afternoon, I recognized Lee who had come over in his dinghy with his crew Barry to look for me. I met Lee and Sharon on Allegro in the BVI a couple of years ago and saw them again in St Martin January 2009. They insisted I join their group for dinner ashore that night.; Their group consisted of Lee and Sharon on Allegro with crew Barry, Kirby and Melinda, Carl and Marilyn on Discovery, Tony and Sharon on Hoofbeats, and David who was singlehanding on Stampede.

Lee convinced me that I would like to go to Jolly Harbour instead of English Harbor as I had originally planned, so I joined the flotilla the next day for the sail to Antigua. (David stayed in Deshaies as he was waiting for his girlfriend to arrive.) After a fast beam reach with no less than 25 knots of wind, I dropped the anchor just outside Jolly Harbour in front of Allegro and next to Discovery.  Lee brought Barry over in the dinghy to help me launch my dinghy then we all headed in to Customs and Immigration. By this time the attraction between Barry and me was apparent to all, so no one was surprised when Barry came back to Gaiamar where we prepared dinner together. The next day while walking the docks I recognized 1700 Somewhere which had sailed the Caribbean1500 in 2008 and found Ed and Terry aboard. Barry and I joined them for dinner that night and got up to date on their cruising since I last saw them on Virgin Gorda a year ago.

The next day Barry and I took the bus to English Harbour where we met my friend Joe (another Caribbean 1500 Salty Dog) for lunch and walked through the crewed yachts on display at Nelson's Dockyard.  By this time Barry and I were recognized as a couple, so we hosted a potluck dinner aboard Gaiamar on our last night in Antigua. Upon boarding, Marilyn commented on how peaceful and comfortable the energy on the boat felt. Barry and I have come together as a crew and our comfort together was apparent to all.  Lee gave Barry permission to join Gaiamar's crew, so we departed from the "herd" the next day and set sail for Nevis.