Pigeon Island and the Îles des Saintes

At 6 am on Wednesday morning, we weighed anchor to continue our journey southward. Part of this process, however, was dealing with the French catamaran in front of us, who had dropped anchor and settled directly over the top of ours on the day we arrived. We had informed them the day before that we would be leaving early in the morning and that they would have to move their vessel so that we could retrieve our anchor. They seemed to understand this perfectly well and said, “Okay.” I wasn’t sure what this meant since they had said “okay” when I asked them to move, yet they remained in the same spot for three consecutive nights. However, at 6 am when we fired up our motors, they came out to their cockpit and politely fired up their engines to move aside so that we could pull up our anchor and get underway. I was very happy with their cooperation. They seemed nice after all, but this does not excuse their initial breach of etiquette.

We made our way approximately nine miles to the south and dropped our anchor in twenty feet of water at Pigeon Cove, a protected area just to the east of Pigeon Island and the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve. We had stopped by PPK Divers the day before in our rental car in order to reserve a dive trip. Our plans worked to perfection. We anchored in Pigeon Cove, did a little laundry by hand (we haven’t done laundry in a while and were running short on underwear and socks), and I dinghied in to join the dive boat for the short trip out to Pigeon Island. The dive was really nice. There was an excellent variety of reef fish at the site along with an underwater statue of Jacques Cousteau. The only negative was that the water was a little cloudy. A video is in production.

Laundry aboard

Laundry aboard

Pigeon Island, home to Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park

Pigeon Island, home to Jacques Cousteau Underwater Park

By noon, I was back aboard Beatitude, and by 12:30 we had retrieved our anchor once again for the twenty-four nautical mile passage to the Îles des Saintes. All but the last 6 miles of this passage was carried out in the lee of Basse-Terre. However, the last portion was once again trudging southeastwardly into the winds and waves. Thankfully, this was all over in an hour, and we were soon tied to a mooring off the ferry dock in the town of Bourg De Saintes, on the island of Terre-de-Haut (Once again, we tried our procedure of Cindy at the helm and I on the bow to retrieve the mooring ball. And, once again, it worked to perfection.).

Picturesque lighthouse on the southwestern tip of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe

Picturesque lighthouse on the southwestern tip of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe

Approaching the Îles des Saintes.

Approaching the Îles des Saintes.

The “Islands of the Saints,” so named by Columbus because he came upon them just after All Saints Day, are a gorgeous group of small islands which are a part of Guadeloupe. They retain a simplicity not seen on other islands. The Saintes are to Guadeloupe, it seems to me, what Culebra is to Puerto Rico. The scenery is beautiful and the attitude is laid back. Our first evening there we had dinner on the water at Le Genois. Dining by the water’s edge was wonderful.

Fisherman hauling in a nice catch in front of Beatitude

Fisherman hauling in a nice catch in front of Beatitude

A look across our anchorage at Bourg de Saintes, Terre-de-Haut

A look across our anchorage at Bourg de Saintes, Terre-de-Haut

Taking my beautiful wife to Dinner at La Genois

Taking my beautiful wife to Dinner at La Genois

Sunset in the Islands of the Saintes

Sunset in the Islands of the Saintes

Dinner on the waterfront in Bourg de Saintes

Dinner on the waterfront in Bourg de Saintes

On Thursday, the 19th, we went into town at 9:00 to drop off our remaining laundry at Les Saintes Multiservices. They wash and dry for 10 Euros/load. At the same time, we cleared out of the country, as we would be leaving on Friday. Then, we walked a mile across the island to a delightful, protected beach called the Plage de Pompierre. It’s palm tree-lined crescent of sand is protected from the east by two 130′ high rocky islands. We arrived early before most of the crowd arrived and enjoyed some time in the warm 81° waters and walking and relaxing on the beach. After the one-mile walk back we had a delectable lunch at Restaurant La Fringale. I enjoyed the best curry chicken I’ve ever eaten, Our table was set in an inner courtyard garden.

Most the roads in Guadeloupe have these large draining ditches along the roadside.  They are about 2 feet deep with no guard rails or anything.  I can't imagine anything like this is the U.S.

Most the roads in Guadeloupe have these large draining ditches along the roadside. They are about 2 feet deep with no guard rails or anything. I can’t imagine anything like this is the U.S.

Plage de Pompierre

Plage de Pompierre

My perch on the beach

My perch on the beach

Cindy in this picturesque bay

Cindy in this picturesque bay

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Beatitude was here!

Beatitude was here!

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The morning’s busyness called for a 2-hour retreat to Beatitude for rest before returning to land for some last minute business and grocery shopping. Putting pleasure before business, we first stopped by the Creperie to share a nutella crepe. Mmmm! We then picked up our 2 loads of laundry which I carried back to Dalí to remain while we shopped. A few more blocks down we came upon a grocery store to buy a few provisions. Unfortunately, we had to walk a couple of blocks more for ice. By this time, our bags and arms were full (and heavy). So, Cindy stayed with the provisions at a nearby dock while I went back to Dalí to return to pick her up. It all worked out well.

Another Saints Sunset

Another Saints Sunset

Our time in the Îles des Saintes was too short. On Friday, we would set sail for Dominica.

One thought on “Pigeon Island and the Îles des Saintes

  1. Looks beautiful there! Glad your plans have all seemed to go really well so far (except for a few rocky spots you’ve encountered against the wind-but nothing you couldn’t handle:-)

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