Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rasmus & Ellen visit, June 2012

Inside volcano shelter
Finally: Rasmus and Ellen are coming to visit us on Guadeloupe.
As we wanted to give our long planned Soufriere Volcano hike another try before their arrival, we anchored on the south
west corner outside the Riviere Sens Marina and rented a little car for a couple of days.
The marina itself is now slowly being rebuilt after hurricane damage many years ago.
Hiking conditions were acceptable this time, and the trip was quite successful even though we had little sight on the the top and a lot of rain on the return.
On the top we joined a little group that knew their way around behind the fences, so we followed all the way up to the
Beautiful flowers in the mist

Mountain with a serious bad breath pro
sulfur-spitting roaring gaps. The close encounter with the volcano is for us a more exotic experience than a great mountain top view.
Hello there!
There is a natural hot bath where this hike starts. As our hiking clothes already were soaked by heavy rain, we finished
the trip by jumping directly in. We drove back wearing the only dry clothes we had left; our bathing suits.

The visitor pickup at Point a Pitre airport was late in the evening, about an hour's drive from the boat.
Our guests' suitcases turned out to bee just a little smaller than the Citroen, but somehow we managed to get everything in there. (in the car)
After one hour under the suitcase in the backseat, and a fairly rough dinghy ride to the Riviere Sens anchorage, our guests were safely on board Yum-Yum.
Ellen and Rasmus had been racing hard the last week at home to prepare for this short notice visit.

And since the swell in the anchorage was a little more than we want for newly arrived guests, we were glad to have the Citroen for one more day. We had a nice little hike to one of the waterfalls on Soufriere's east side, a much needed shorts shopping for father and son at an Intersport along the road, an extensive provisioning in Basse Terre, and when we returned from that, the day was gone. The planned internet cafe visit were postponed to the following day.
The guests were happy to join the Yum-Yum yoghurt/fruit/cereals breakfast community. After enjoying the mango-based morning fiesta we started the next day with mounting the bikes and preparing for a few hours landfall before sailing north to the Cousteau underwater eldorado at Pigeon Island / Malendure. E&R had some urgent internet work to do, and V&T biked to Basse Terre to do the customs/immigration paperwork.
After following the traces of the customs office from one deserted office building after the other, it turned out that the

check-in point had been transferred to a location in Riviere Sens, yes, exactly the internet cafe were our guests sat bent
over their computers..
A good morning bike trip has a value of it's own. Besides, the trip could not be described as fruitless, as we were bringing back a very heavy load from a good fruit and vegetables shop in Basse Terre.
It turned out that the staff at the Baracuda place did all the work with our immigration registration for free, and after a short email session and a good lunch there we set sail for Pigeon Island.
Pigeon Island: Great snorkeling.
Deshaies: A good hike following the river into the forest. Extensive after sun treatment.
Ilet Fajou: Very calm and shallow anchorage, a not very remarkable snorkeling,
an interesting dinghy ride several miles up a river through mangroves and farmland.
Riviere Sale: An alternative route from north to south, following a narrow mangrove passage between the two halves of Guadeloupe. Two lifting bridge passages in the extreme morning hours, the south one barely wide enough for Yum-Yum.
Gosier: Difficult dinghy landing. Guests had to do the provisioning alone, which they managed very well.
Marie Galante: Good sailing, we found a nice desolated beach anchorage which we enjoyed for a couple of days. Finally some badminton practice again.
The local fly-fishes were ready to preform late night shows when chased by our strong flashlight beams. We had a big party of swarming ants ending their queen hunting day (and their short lives) in our cockpit.
Point a Pitre: Ellen's departure day. The first people that we asked for direction to bus/taxi offered her a ride to the airport. The Guadeloupe-ans keep on impressing us by their kind helpfulness.
Provisioning and shopping before departure to Petit Terre.
Petit Terre: We don't like so much to take advantage of Yum-Yum's abilities as a motorboat, but when five hours directly against the wind can take us to such a place, we are happy.
The best snorkeling ever. Very nice and varied landscape, ideal snorkeling depths, beautiful and colorful corals, lots of fishes. We also met a turtle and a fairly big lemon shark with proper pilot fish and everything.
Petit Terre has a very well protected mooring area that we had for ourselves except from some hours in the middle of the days. Lots and lots of iguanas. And the very poisonous Mancenilla trees, that are more scary and dangerous than anything under water in the Caribbean.
But we will still remember the contours and glowing eye reflections of countless sharks surrounding Yum-Yum in the night. The next morning the big barracuda under the boat looked far less scary than the days before..
This was also the place where wee took out the instruments and the sound system, and Rasmus proved that my hand bongos can sound extremely groovy under the right hands and with a little amplification magic.
We let our very dear furling genaker take us back to Point a Pitre and Rasmus' return flight in a soft and efficient downwind ride.
When we returned from the airport I felt a touch of emptiness, something that almost never happens in these Yum-Yum days.
It was really great to spend some time with my son again. And finally, with Rasmus and Ellen on board, after several previous failed attempts, the Knock / Gin Rummy card game is now an official and established part of the Yum-Yum game culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment