Lights from the island were visible in the wee hours of the morning. There weren’t a lot of lights, but there certainly were enough to make the fact that we were approaching land very obvious and very real. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!
As the sun rose, we eagerly checked out our new surroundings. The land we had seen on the radar last night was the island of Grande Terre, the eastern half of the butterfly. Shortly before dawn, we had approached from the southeast corner of Grande Terre, and were now following the coastline northwest, so the island was on our right. From what we could see, it looks to be very flat and pretty dry. The western half of the butterfly, Basse Terre, was due west, so it was directly ahead of us in the distance. Basse Terre is mountainous, lush and green, which contrasts sharply with Grande Terre. Even though Basse Terre was much farther away, because of its height, both the island and its infrastructure were more visible that the flat Grande Terre. From what we could tell, both islands were dotted with scattered buildings. As a bit of trivia, in French “Grade Terre” means “big land” and “Basse Terre” means “flat land”, so it seems the French misnamed the two islands. However, the names stem from the amount of wind. Grande Terre, being the easternmost island, gets big winds, and Basse Terre doesn’t get nearly as much wind.
Our destination was just south of where the two islands join together, on the Grande Terre side. As we moved deeper into the bay created by the two side by side islands, slowly but surely the ride became calmer and smoother. At 0930 local time we neared the marina in Point a Pitre, and the men brought in the paravanes. By now we were in pretty well protected waters and it was fairly flat. Once the paravanes were secured, we rounded a corner into an inlet where the marina is located. We’re not totally sure what we were expecting, but it was definitely more modern than we had anticipated. The marina was lined with what seemed like endless 3 and 4 story condominium complexes that all had waterfront views. The condos all seemed like they were high end and fairly new, though, honestly, they looked a bit weather beaten, most likely the after effects of some of the big storms that blow in here during the summers. Across the water from the marina is a series of high end, brand new looking and very attractive commercial buildings.
Both photos are taken from the mouth of the marina inlet. The first photo is looking back at Basse Terre. You can see some boats moored in the distance. The second photo is looking forward, and you can see some of the commercial buildings in the front left and the marina in the back left.
We called the marina office on the radio and were pleased Continue reading Welcome to Point a Pitre, La Guadeloupe, France