We have spent the last 10 days cruising Marie Galante and Guadeloupe. This will be the last island that we visit before serious preparation in Antigua for our next big trip, about 10 days, to the USA. It seems such a long time since we arrived in Barbados.
Our geography and knowledge of the the Caribbean has improved enormously. The islands vary hugely mainly as a function of their heritage and size. It terms of heritage the influence of colonisation in the Carribean is very apparent. There are numerous battlements to visit on all the islands. Some islands eg Martinique are French regions and very European – in fact our UK phones work – this is great, as getting decent WiFi is a constant occupation. Some of the islands are independent but ex GB colonies – they speak English, drive on the left and have preserved red telephone boxes! The level of prosperity of these varies enormously with the like of Antiqua feeling quite prosperous to Dominica which is desperately poor. The influence of the sugar industry, and slavery is also apparent on all the islands although tourism is now well established. The dreadful effects of hurricanes are ever present but some islands are clearly very well prepared while others quite destroyed and really struggling to deal with the aftermath.
We have enjoyed the wildlife – turtles, pelicans and iguanas being our favourites. We were thrilled to see some baby turtles hatching on the beach in Barbados. The rainforest is impressive and of course we have seen many deserted tropical beaches and had some amazing snorkelling
Part of us is sad to be leaving these delightful islands and the very relaxed attitude to life, but equally we are looking forward to something new. In particular we miss decent broadband and Julian is desperate for some regular Amazon deliveries which might just be possible in US!
Marie Galante must be the flattest Caribbean island. This was welcome and we thoroughly enjoyed our walk through the forest and along one of the many deserted beaches. The hiking has been difficult in the Caribbean as it is always very steep either up or down.
We visited Point a Pitre the capital of Guadeloupe. Like most of the capitals we have visited it has that rather tired and dusty feeling and we never want to stay to long. While there we went to the Aquarium which was excellent but there really are some very strange and spooky creatures that live under the sea. We also visited the slave museum which was again interesting but possibly rather lacking in detail but housed in a fabulous building.
We met up with our old friends Bill and Moira of Krabat in Iles Saintes. They had had a tough trip from the BVI’s so we produced a roast lamb supper. Even if I say so myself this was impressive and even the roasties were crisp! We have started to crave some proper English food and this was perfect. We were entertained the following day by some local fishermen who were fishing with nets. I am not sure what the plan was but the pelicans were ensuring that they got their share. It was not a good day to be a fish!