Sunday, March 10, 2013

Riviere Deshaies

The town of Deshaies, on northern Guadeloupe, is a sleepy little fishing village.  It gets a lot of cruising boat traffic because it is a very convenient place to clear customs on the was into (southbound) or out of (northbound) Guadeloupe.  The town does its best to extract Euros from the cruisers with a raft of interesting restaurants and a few boutiques.

The harbor is quite good, but fairly small and can get crowded.  We always try to arrive by mid-afternoon to make sure we can get a good spot.

If the wind is strong from the east, it gets doubled by the mountain peaks and can really howl.  If it is light, you often get a sea breeze at midday, and a westerly wind (very unusual in the tradewind zone).   For the first time in the Caribbean, we have been stuck here by weather for a few days.  We want to go next to Antigua, which is about 45 miles north of Deshaies.  For the last couple of days, the wind has been very light, so we couldn't go anywhere.  The forecast for the next few days is for stronger winds, but out of the north -- also not convenient.  So we have had a bit more time to explore the area than we planned.

Our trusty "Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands" recommended a hike up the Riviere Deshaies.  It was promised to be a couple of hours.  There is no path -- you hop from boulder to boulder, sometimes on the left bank, sometimes on the right bank, sometimes up the middle of the river.  It takes some planning and some occasional backtracking.  Some of the boulders are as big as Renaults.  It is amazing to think about how they got there.

There were numerous pools, and Gretchen had a good time looking for (and finding) fish in them.   Many little waterfalls made for a very pleasant sound.  It is always a puzzle to us that we so rarely encounter mosquitoes on these Caribbean islands.  It sure makes hiking in the forest more pleasant.

After the promised two hours, we came to a road that led past a Catholic religious retreat back into the village.  A bit weary, but very glad we made the trip.

No comments: