Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Guadeloupe - Grande Terre

The next morning we set out for the local farmers market to see what delights awaited us...
First up, getting a car rental at the marina. Initially it was hard to score. Brad finally found one, but no one spoke English. There was lots of pointing involved and it got figured out via foreign sign language. After over a half hour of their painful processes, we scored a tiny Pugeot with no hubcaps. Ha! Our rental car O' wonder. ... Riding dirty!
Then the rental guy drove us all to gas station. Car was dead empty. He gave the female attendant a few coins and put the tiniest smidge of gas in the car. What?? I told him in my very limited amount of French I can speak, "a little more please" so we could fill the tank. What a crack up! Who does that?
That was a little odd.
We made it to the center of town called Point-à-Pitre for the Saturday marché.(market)
It kinda looked liked a hurricane hit the market from this angle, but as we got closer it was more organized. Sellers at this end place their wares (mostly fruits & vegetables) 
and line them up on the ground. 

This purveyor was selling sugarcane juice.
Some local parrot fish. So tiny. I call these "snorkel fish"...the ones you see out snorkeling. 
These clowns were happy fishermen. 
These fishmongers were slicing, dicing and de-boning their days catch. Such tiny fish for so much work. Can you spot the green bottle caps on the wooden sticks? That's what they use to descale the fish. Inventive! Their hats are traditionally worn here by the fishermen. 
Great way to keep the sun at bay!
I'm not sure of this awesome ensemble on Miss Jazzypants...
Was it a two piece or a unitard of snazziness? Good for her!

This guy was busy making Mirepoix which is used as a base for soups and stews. 
It consists of celery, onions and carrots. He was mixing by hand. 
Hopefully he washed up before he got into that bucket o' fun. 
His final result. Mirepoix for all. 
We saw these Stone crabs all tied up. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but I saw a few of the crabs wiggle and blink at me. 
Lots of fish. Look ma... No ice! 
The vegetable market was beyond colorful and a feast for the senses. 
You can see this woman wearing the traditional garb in her madras. 
I nicknamed her crabby Patty since she didn't want her photo taken and made a fuss. 
Her bonnet is tied and pointed a certain direction. If the point is to the left it means that she's "taken", if its positioned in the center it means she's an "independent  woman" (A lá Gloria Steinem?)
and if it lays to the right she is single.
This woman is single & ready to mingle!
Hats are a popular item in this HOT sun. 
I perused the bracelet bonanza. 
So colorful it looks with all the fishmongers lined up along the port. 
Guadeloupe island is in the shape of a butterfly and divided into two sides. Grand Terre and Basse Terre. Today we set out to explore all of Grand Terre and see what this side of the island has to offer. 
On the road again...
This inflatable oversized ball made for the perfect art shot. 
We found our way after a few hours to a little beachside restaurant and did our best to decipher the menu. No one spoke a lick of English which made it all the more fun.
Brad and I played it safe with salads while Captain Bish was more exploratory and wasn't sure what he ordered. It turned out he had conch fritters and blood sausage to enjoy. Mmmm.  He couldn't figure out that the blood sausage was until he ate a few, and then was too creeped out to finish them.
We all had a good giggle. 

Something about the juxtaposition of this inflatable on the street sign I found fun. 
Most locals head to Le Plage (the beach) on the weekends and being a Saturday
 it was jammed. Most of them find a tree and have a picnic under it. 
This cemetery by the sea. 
A colorful welcome to the parish of St Francois. 
Fisherman had left mounds of netting on the docks. They all looked like a birds nest. 
These were some interesting traps. 
Hard to imagine they can sustain the weight of a good catch.
Lots of Caribbean architecture is what I'd call Gingerbread cottage charm. 
Check out this advertising for the local golf course that lie beyond these palm trees...The painting of the woman on the left building cracked us all up. I'm not sure if its golf they are selling? 
Fields of sugar cane. Almost entirely used to make rum. 
Not sunshine and rainbows everywhere. 
But lots of color! 
This photo is hard to see, but the man under the red umbrella is making homemade ice cream. When it's ready he will ring a bell to let you know it's time to make your purchase. 
Picturesque seas. 
The countryside has some farming here and it's lush as can be. 
We made it back to out boat late in the day and were pooped out from exploring. We can't wait to see what the other side of Guadeloupe offers us tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Antigua to Guadeloupe, French West Indies

Checking into our flight last week (yes, this post is in "real time" finally!) with a lone boat fender and parts to our newly improved (Brad Mc Gyvered it) pasareil. The fender was to replace one that popped in a surge if you can believe. The check in lady was perplexed as to what our odd shaped parcels were and had oodles of questions.
Once our overnight (4 hours- we arrived early even) flight landed and we awaited our flight to Antigua, we couldn't hold out any longer...we crashed in the Miami airport lounge. Even the bright lights of Miami couldn't keep us awake. Luckily our phone alarm woke us up. 
I barely made it from the lounge to our breakfast spot...ha!
Luckily, we both slept the whole flight to Antigua. Bish picked us up at the airport and we were back on the boat...home sweet home. Only ten days had passed since we left. Whew. What a whirlwind!

The next day was spent prepping the boat for our next rendezvous as tomorrow we head south on a 9 hour run to Guadeloupe. That evening we went back to our fave spot "Sheer Rock" for a wonderful dinner under the stars.
I should have just worn my bathing suit!
Here kitty kitty...
What a sunset!
We hopped back in our rental car and headed to the marina. We keep forgetting that these cars are driven on the opposite side of the car and the road. Hard to get used to. 
We departed at the crack the next early that I didnt even get up. Think it was 5:30am. We had a long cruise south to Guadeloupe which took 8 hours. 
5-7' seas were hitting us on the beam and the Bonine I took (like Dramamine) renders me worthless. I feel like a bear in hibernation and turn into a sleep monster. Haha! 
We pulled into Guadeloupe to sunny skies and aqua blue seas. 
This map should give you a better idea of where Guadeloupe is. Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France. Everyone speaks French and their currency is the Euro.  Hardy anyone speaks English fluently. This is going to be fun!! It's been so long since we've traveled somewhere that makes it hard to communicate. This is one of the best parts of overseas travel and exploring other cultures!
All looks good at the marina!
We had to Med-Moor here which was nothing as crazy as St Barths was. There we had to anchor and back down to the dock. Here we just back in and then secure our lines on the dock. The lines on the bow are secured to a mooring ball. Easy peasy! We can't hook up to their electricity as they don't have a comprable amp box to accommodate our boat. Luckily we can run on our generators. Much to the chagrin of a nearby French sailor...
He gave us the stink eye within our first 30 minutes of arrival. Lol!   
We had an interesting dinner at Quai Ouest (Key West) in the Marina. The sever didn't exactly understand our vegan / vegetarian request which made it fun nonetheless. We had a good laugh about it all and our sever was a doll. 

Tomorrow we explore this beautiful island of Guadeloupe!