April on The Dove

We spent April mostly in the French Islands where one can eat real French cheese, and Paté and baguettes and French wine and..…

The first week we were in Martinique anchored in a beautiful bay off St.Pierre which used to be called the Paris of the Caribbean, under the majestic Mount Pelée. The bay is famous for the volcanic eruption of 1902 which devastated the town, only one person survived, a prisoner who was locked up for the night for drunkenness. Sadly all the sailing ships at anchor sank, not one managed to escape and it is now a divers paradise.

Today Saint Pierre is a sweet un-touristy little town full of character with a few shops and restaurants and an amazing open market with local fruits and vegetables grown on Mount Pelée. St.Pierre is known for its very special sunsets and we have seen more green flashes there than any other place we have been to .

One of our favorite places in the Caribbean is Les Saintes a small group of islands south of Guadeloupe, we call it the St Tropez of the Caribbean We spent 6 days on Les Saintes, and enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of these pretty islands, watching the fishermen haul their nets while Pelicans joined in and the goats and chickens looked on.The small shops and simple houses are colorful and it was fun to walk around the streets, most of which are for pedestrians only. No worries walking around at night. During the day it is lively with people on scooters and electric vehicles. We spent time at the beach under the coconut trees looking out at all the yachts at anchor in the beautiful clear blue waters. A great walk to take is up to Fort Napoleon with breath taking views of the bays below and Guadeloupe to the North or to the fjord like bays fringed with tall swaying coconut trees and white sandy beaches.

A few hours sail to the North along the West coast of Guadeloupe passing Pigeon island, a Jacque Cousteau marine reserve, we anchored in the well protected bay of Deshaies, a charming sleepy village which has just the right balance of traditional fishing village and good eating and drinking options. “Death in Paradise” has been filmed here many times hence nearly all the colorful bars and restaurants have photos of the actors on their walls. We hiked up to the Botanic Gardens over looking Dehaies, which are well worth a visit, and next day hiked over to a stunning beach called Grande Anse. Actually the beaches on the north of Guadeloupe are stunning and many empty of people, a few signs warning drivers to take care of turtles crossing the road.

We rented a car for 3 days and explored inland, such a beautiful unspoiled and un-touristy tropical island, where ever you turn you feel you are in a botanical garden, with Bird of Paradise flowers growing at the side of the road like weeds, Ginger Lillies, Banana trees in flower and Bread fruit trees and Mangoe trees dripping with fruit. We visited a chocolate factory where we bought a ton of chocolate just too good to resist, with candied ginger, orange peel, chilly pepper, …. and a coffee factory, where we stocked up with a years supply of organic delicious coffee, hiked to waterfalls in the jungle and up rain forest mountain paths to have a 360 view of Guadeloupe.

We managed to find one of my favorite artists Willy Banken who used to live in Provence and now lives in a shack/studio in the jungle, over grown with trees and flowers, a shaggy rescue dog, cats, lizards and chirping wild birds . Larry had bought one of his paintings many years ago at an art gallery. He has a great style which we absolutely adore.

Improvised lunch of cheese, tomatoes, baguette, T-punch with limes from his tree and some weird fruit I had never seen before. Learned so much about his life in Provence and then Guadeloupe. Just love his paintings from the South of France.

Now we are in Antigua busy sanding and varnishing and getting The Dove ready for our migration North to Maine. We just fell in love with Maine last year and can’t wait to get back and spend the summer and autumn up there with another trip to Nova Scotia at the end of August. In a few days time we will sail over to St.Martin to collect our new main sail that is being flown in, and meet our new crew Karlie from California, so excited to have Karlie join us.

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