Day 163, Year 6 Fort Napoleon and Snorkeling
Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Weather: Beautiful; Very Windy, NE 25 (up to 35 knots at sea)
Location: Anse du Pain de Sucre, Terre de Haut, Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe

Anse du Pain de Sucre is not only a beautiful little anchorage, it affords great protection against strong E-NE winds. And that is what we had today. According to the weather synopsis, the winds were as high as 35 knots. It was a good day to stay in port and explore and that is what we did. Of course, we had to brave the winds and rough seas to take the dinghy into Bourg des Saintes, but it was actually not as bad as it was yesterday afternoon. The guys decided to go in “topless” in order to have dry shirts once we reached town. I donned a poncho and off we went. The road from Bourg des Saintes up the mountain to Fort Napoleon is a switchback affair climbing steeply from sea level. With a little huffing and puffing, we made the mile-long climb to the fort. On the way up the hill we saw a house that looks just like the bow of a boat. It is the home and office of a local physician. Then we looked out into the bay and saw a modern square-rigger coming it. It was a beauty and we had great views as we climbed. Fort Napoleon is not just ruins as many other forts we have visited. This one was built in 1867 and has been perfectly restored. The views from the top of the fort were magnificent and the museum inside the fort was of great interest. There is a really interesting display of the famous battle that took place here between England’s Admiral Rodney and the French Admiral De Grasse in 1782. There are display cases that show the location of the ships (so many of them) at 10 am, 11 am, and 12 noon on the day of the battle. There were also a couple of traditional Santoise fishing boats and the cactus and succulent gardens atop the fort are spectacular. We started our trek back down the mountain as the church tower was ringing to let us know it was noon. Unfortunately the only store in town that sells fishing gear was closed so we were not able to buy new line. We lost about half of ours in Carriacou when we “caught” a catamaran and had to cut our line. Yesterday if our line had been longer, we might not have lost that mahi mahi.

On our way back to Windbird we stopped by Flying Fish to say hello to Carolyn and Jack, the couple from Boothbay we met yesterday. Jack built the 27-foot long boat and it is a beauty. When we got back to Windbird, we had lunch and then spent the afternoon snorkeling along the shore in our little bay. It was not spectacular but it was so relaxing and we are always able to find new and wonderful sea life to examine. Today there were lots of Christmas Tree worms and tube worms that put out something like a feather duster. There were also lots of different kinds of sponges and the variety of fish that we have seen here in the Caribbean.

Tomorrow morning we move on to Deshaies on the northwest coast of Guadeloupe’s Basse Terre. We will spend the night there and on Thursday we will arrive in Antigua. We have to be in Sint Maarten on Sunday to pick up Mark’s sister, Jeanie, so onward we go.