Today was another chore day. Eric was busy all day long. As far as regular maintenance goes, he changed the oil and filter on the main engine, changed the oil and filter on the generator, cleaned the bilge, and flushed the DC water maker. He also re-organized the spare parts.
In the repairs department, he tried to fix the squeak on the anti-siphon valves by putting petroleum jelly on the valves and tightening them. Hopefully, it will work. That squeaking gets incredibly annoying.
The piece that holds one of our paravane lines in place had broken off on the passage, so he rigged a new one that seems to be holding well.
One of the reasons we haven’t anchored out here in Guadeloupe is because after the Stromboli ordeal our dinghy engine stopped working. So, Eric serviced the engine, hoping that would do the trick to get it running again. He changed the oil, drained the gas and put in clean gas, and aired out the spark plugs. Much to his surprise, once he was done, the engine started right up. Phew. We were worried we’d have to buy another one.
So, we wanted to share some of our overall impressions of Guadeloupe with you. First of all, we wanted to make something clear that we may not have before. Overall, the island of Guadeloupe is very safe. Point a Pitre does have some bad neighborhoods, but other than those few pockets, everywhere else on the island is totally safe.
The marina is by far the nicest part of Pointe a Pitre, and the locals seem to like to hang out here. We see a lot of local families strolling up and down the waterfront in the early evening. On weekends, it is jam packed. All the parking lots are full, with people getting quite inventive at creating parking spots. There is literally a line of cars as far down the road as far as we can see, all waiting to get in. The restaurants are all busy with well dressed patrons. The most packed restaurants are some of the cheaper ones, too. The bar has a parade of people going into it, most dressed to “be seen”.
That said, part of us wishes we had chosen to stay in another part of the island. First of all, this marina smells bad, particularly where we are. We are pretty sure there is a sewage outlet close to where the boat is parked as it always smells like sewage. Secondly, we like to get out and wander around town, and being on the edge of a bad neighborhood means we can’t do that. We are confined to the marina most of the time, particularly at night. And we didn’t travel all this way to stay confined in a marina.
All the restaurants we have been to in the marina and along the waterfront in other parts of the island have been fairly expensive, on par or more expensive than prices in France. We have also been to a few low budget places around the island, and even they are probably a little too expensive for someone on a shoestring budget. However, the portion sizes served here are absolutely enormous and they seem to always use high quality ingredients, so we think the food is good value for the money, particularly in the low budget places. And, except for the restaurant we ate in on the day we arrived, we have thoroughly enjoyed the food in every place we have eaten.
One of the things that has delighted us about this island is that when you ask for a bottle of water, you are almost always served a 1.5 liter bottle. Most other beverages come in 16 ounces glasses or bigger. In Europe, we often felt like we were dehydrating with their small beverage serving sizes. It is like heaven to have plentiful amounts of liquid again.
From what we have seen, restaurant workers seem to be fastidious about cleanliness around here. Every place where we could see the kitchen, people were meticulous about washing their hands and putting on gloves, as well as cleaning up food mess the instant they are done cooking. Even little crepe stands are that way.
And on a completely random topic, there is a kind of bug here that makes noise at night. These bugs sound like alarms going off. At first we did think they were alarms, and it took us a while to figure out it was a bug making the noise. Kind of odd.