Days 83-85: Sailing Sailing and More Sailing

Trip Start Nov 10, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guadeloupe  , Guadeloupe,
Friday, February 18, 2011

Just after 1000 we depart the Virgin Islands and head into the Anegada Passage. Becca's sailing trip is coming to a close, she bought a flight home out of St Lucia and we got 6 days to get there; about 350 miles. Lucily the blasting trade winds that were blowing like crazy the whole time in the Virgin Islands had died down quite a bit and the sea was calm as we motorsailed further east. It was daybreak when the first island of the Leeward Islands came into view, Saba. The beginning of a chain of all volcanic islands, Saba is a steep volcano that shoots out of the ocean and somehow supports a dutch colony on its steep slopes. It totally looked worth exploring but without any safe anchorages, we take it in from the water and sail on by. 

Next up, is another Dutch island, St Eustasus. As we're cruising on by the south coast of St Eustasus, a pod of dolphins come visit Strolla and start playing in our wake. It was getting pretty hot out and I was ready for a swim and what better time to go swimming then with a bunch of dolphins! I quickly throw some snorkel gear on and jump over. Unfortunately they all were much better swimmers than me (surprisingly) and swam off out of my reach. As I swam back to the boat, I could see the drool dripping down the chins of the rest of the crew. They were jealous I had swam with dolphins. 

Next up is St Kitts. We sailed on by at dusk and took in the scenery of yet another volcano. Two days on the open water we were all still in good spirits due to the calmness of the sea. We kept pushing on, sailing on by Nevis and Redonda at night. Montserrat, the British island came into view at first light. Montserrat is where Jimmy Buffet lived and recorded his album "Volcano." (A note on our travels: Since leaving the Virgin Islands, we now lack a cruising guide or any information on these islands we're approaching and simply have to find out what they're about once we step ashore. I did pick up a Jimmy Buffet book in Virgin Gorda which has litte stories of his travels through the Caribbean. We now decide where to go based on what Jimmy Buffet tell us.) We'd been warned to stay on the windward side of Montserrat since it's an active volcano. Last place you want to be on the open sea is in an ash cloud. It didn't look bad and it was more convenient for us so we stayed on the lee side. Although we didn't get caught in ash, there was no doubt it was active with the pungen sulphuric smell engulphing us. 

Next island: Guadeloupe. It rose over the horizon and looked so inviting so we decided it was time to stop. We dropped the hook late in the afternoon in the French town of Deshaies. It was French alright, our first welcome was a French man coming by our boat to sell us crouissants and baguettes for the morning. How could we turn it down. Pete and I dinghyed ashore to explore and we might've well been in France for nobody spoke English. Neither of us knowing a word of French, we were truly a minority amongst the locals and French tourists. 
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