Can I stay here forever?

Yesterday when we arrived to Guadeloupe we found out that if we wanted to go through Guadeloupe on River Salee it would be best to do it early on Saturday morning since the bridge openings aren't scheduled on Sundays, which was our intended day to do it. Suddenly we were in a hurry. Cecilia's bag was supposed to be at the airport, we needed to provision and Sofia and I desperately needed Internet in order to buy new cameras. Sofia's was stolen on the prize giving ceremony and mine stopped working a week ago. My sister, Catrine, will join us on Antigua on the 23rd of February so the cameras would have to be delivered before her departure from Sweden. Although it was fun to have a camera that worked under water as well as above we decided against it this time. We both thought that the Olympus cameras didn't take as good pictures as our old Canons, and another aspect, the price, made us go for the cheapest available Canon Ixus. For the moment we are glad that Cecilia and Jane both have cameras that we can use. To save time we split up, Jane and Cecilia took a cab to the airport to get Cecilia's lost bag. Sofia and I went to buy food and then found Internet and managed to order new cameras. When we met up again to go back to the boat it was already 9 pm. We had parked Volare very central, close to Place de la Victoire, the only downside was the unpleasant fish smell that came from the quay mostly used by fishing boats to unload their catch. The locals laughed at us while we loaded Volare with more and more things and in the end Cecilia's big backpack, when we finally left the maximum three persons note wasn't visible at all. Back at the boat I started to read closely in the pilot about the passage on River Salee, it's a very narrow river and the depths is in the last part seldom more than 1,8 m. A B31 like Cantare is supposed to have a draught of 1,7 m. But, I foresaw that we would sink a bit deeper when loaded for this adventure and therefore we repainted the waterline 6 cm higher than the old one. The new waterline is almost perfect, it depends a bit on how much water and diesel we carry, so I calculate that we have a draught of 1,76 m making it possible, if only barely, for us to go on the river. Off course I was a bit nervous, especially since we don't have a working depth sounder anymore, now seems to be the time when the equipment start to crack-up. This morning we sat the alarm on 3.40 am, horribly early, since we all were very tired from the last crossing from St. Lucia. We took up the anchor and motorized slowly towards the first bridge and waited for the opening together with four other boats. It opened at 5 am and then we had half an hour to reach the second bridge. After the second and last bridge there were supposed to be mooring buoys, since the last passage is the trickiest we had planned to pick up a buoy and wait there until it was high water and daylight. We found no buoys, instead we dropped the anchor and mosquito secured the boat (the river is lined by mangrove) before we slept a few hours. The last passage was no problem and not once did we touch the bottom. The hardest part of today's short trip was instead to find our way to the anchorage beside the island Illet a Caret in Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin. There where hardly any buoys and our plotter and chart in the pilot didn't show the same things. During the trip on the river I concluded that the pilot book was the most accurate and therefore followed it, but it was tricky without depth sounder. We were totally dependent on eyeball navigation for the first time and when the sun hid behind clouds we sometimes had to slow down and wait until the sun reappeared. I feared that we would in best case end up on a sandbank, like in Denmark, but I also had in mind a story another sailor told us in Soufriere, about how they had fucked up (his own words) on the windward coast of Martinique and lost their boat on corals. I told Sofia to stand on the boom to get a better view over the water and now we are safely anchored on sand bottom. We are surrounded by reefs and azure blue water, it's amazingly beautiful and I love this place. We are the only sail yacht anchored here and solitude and peacefulness is what I expect of the coming days. / The Captain

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  1. Helena Says:

    No... you cant stay there for ever!
    You have to go home for the "squirrel wheel" / Mum and grandma