Saturday, December 20, 2008

La France - Guadeloupe

[Kyle]After spending a couple of weeks at a work, in the winter wasteland that is the NE USA currently, I arrived home, cleared customs, took a cab home from the airport where Maryanne met me to clear customs again (this time to clear us and the boat out of Antigua). I had been officially back in the country for about 2 hours. The next morning we got up very early with the intent of leaving at sunrise for the sail to Guadeloupe. We were low on water and decided it would be more sensible if we refilled in Antigua – we weren’t sure where we would be able to fill in Guadeloupe (and it turned out it would not have been possible). So we delayed our start by a few hours. We had breakfast at the fuel/water dock while we were waiting for them to open. (We purchase water by the gallon – so we had to wait for the store/fuel dock to open). Maryanne “stole” a shower and came back to report it was not worth stealing.

[Maryanne] Since we ended up hanging out at the dock for 2 hours, I decided I’d try and scrub up, and took a shower. Technically the showers were only open for those boats paying for dockage (not those getting fuel and water) – but hey, it was open! The shower turned out to be a cold trickle of water with a non-draining shower pan. I tried to fix the draining problem and I wish I’d never seen what I found when I lifted the floor plan! Yuk!

[Kyle]Once we did leave Antigua, we had a really great, fast, broad reach in strong trade winds to Deshaies (pronounced De-Hay), on the NW corner of Guadeloupe. We arrived mid afternoon but waited until the following day to clear customs (they were not open on the day we arrived). We had a swim in the picturesque little fishing village's bay and soaked up the atmosphere from the boat. The buildings were colorfully painted, and nestled in lush green (very big) hills. About half the boats in the anchorage were also flying their “Q” flags (waiting for customs clearance) so we were not alone in waiting.

Guadeloupe is administered as a region of France; In much the same way Puerto Rico is part of the USA, or the Falkland Islands is part of Britain. The French government treats it as if it was within the mainland of France – no different. The cars have European Union (EU) number plates attached; the Euro is the official currency; entry into France for the boat is equivalent to an entry into the EU and if we stayed too long we would have to pay VAT. But most of all, being in the villages of Guadeloupe, we were to find, feels just like being in any other small French village – Baguettes and all!

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