We had a very nice time anchored in Petit Anse, Terre d'en Haut, Iles Des Saintes, Guadeloupe (50 ft, 15d52.13'N, 61d35.17'W). Some of our friends (on Cristata, Monearn, Gipsy 4 & Mindemoya) who also crossed the Atlantic this season were there and we picked up right where we left off in the Canary Islands with afternoon Bocci Ball games (in the park near the helicopter landing pad) and sundowners ashore. There was a great pizzeria (Gourmande) with reasonable prices where we became regulars. On the weekend some locals in costume paraded down the one street in some sort of Carnival celebration. Hikes up to Fort Napoleon (easy) and Le Chameau Lookout Tower (hard) were worthwhile. Clearance in and out was possible at the government office near the church. There were a couple 'supermarkets', an open air produce market and a bakery. Ferries run regularly to Basse Terre from the jetty in town carrying crowds of tourists.
The last time we were here was on a charter yacht about 20 years ago and we seem to recall less infrastructure and more coral/fish. Although really not that good, the best snorkeling we found now is on the west side of Pain de Sucre (Sugarloaf) near the beach or on the reef in the middle of the bay near the red buoy.
Hoping to find some better underwater sights and after nearly a week in 'The Saints' we moved north to the Cousteau National Park at Pigeon Island off the West coast of Basse Terre, Guadeloupe. Although we saw some yachts take a mooring out on the islands we chose to anchor just outside the park boundaries in the big bay off a nice beach (30 ft, 16d10.32'N, 61d46.82'W). We took the dinghy to one of the moorings, circumsnorkulated Pigeon Island and found the coral quite damaged but with a fair amount of various fish. It was certainly not worthy of being named a national park after Cousteau or scuba diving despite the numerous dive operators. A nice black sand beach back in the village lent itself to some great 'beach bocci' with our friends and the draft beer at the beach bars was not bad. We took a walk along the road south to discover two big supermarkets. Returning to them via dinghy and the small boat basin nearby (pushed the shopping cart right to the wharf) we stocked up on provisions for the next couple weeks.
After two days at the Pigeon Island Anchorage we moved back up to Deshaies. We and our cruiser friends played bocci on the lawn in the park just up the river from the dinghy landing every afternoon. Rain showers yesterday however forced us to play on the beach near the covered clubhouse veranda where we eventually took to rolling the balls on the patio.
We plan to set sail tomorrow for Tortola, British Virgin Islands some 200 miles NW.