January 1995 - Iles des Saintes to Anguilla

1 January 1995   Bourg des Saintes to Iles a Cabrit
Ceris went into town for a stroll around while we did school work.  We motored over to Iles a Cabrit and anchored in 20 metres depth.  Glenys and I went for a dive while Ceris and the boys stayed on board making a cardboard “Thomas the Tank” engine set.

2 January 1995   Iles a Cabrit
I’d planned on this being a windsurfing day, but it wasn’t very windy in the morning, so I did some accounting while Ceris and Glenys did school work.  A Swedish couple called by and wanted to do a dive – as soon as I agreed, the wind picked up! 

Ceris, Glenys and the children walked up to the top of the island while I did the dive. It was very hard work because it was his first Open Water dive and she hadn’t dived for 2 years. 

3 January 1995   Iles a Cabrit to Bourg des Saintes
We went over to the town anchorage.  We all walked up to Fort Napoleon to look at the very interesting Nautical museum. There are some good model displays of the Battle of the Saintes, which took place nearby in 1782 . 

On 12th  April, the two fleets engaged at close broadside range on parallel opposite courses near Les Iles des Saintes. As the lead French ships approached the British rearmost ships, the French Commander “De Grasse” signaled his fleet to reverse course so that the action could continue on parallel courses, but the command was not carried out by all of his ships’ captains.

The disobeyed order to reverse course together with a sudden change in the wind caused gaps in the French battle line. Seizing this opportunity, the British Commander, Admiral Rodney then executed a maneuver never before seen in a major naval battle. He turned his ships ninety degrees and sailed through the broken French line of battle, splitting the French line into four segments. In doing this, the guns on each side of the British ships were brought to bear on the French with little risk of return fire.

De Grasse could not reform his battle line and as the day went on, six heavily damaged French ships hauled down their flags. Finally, De Grasse’s 130-gun flagship, struck her colors and De Grasse surrendered his ship and his sword to the British. Overall, the French were soundly beaten. The invasion fleet was decimated. The French ships were either sunk or captured and more than 6,000 men perished.

The Battle of the Saintes, firmly established Britain as the dominant sea force entering the Nineteenth Century and the coming Napoleonic Wars. The successful tactic employed by Rodney became known as “Crossing the Tee”. The Battle of Surigao Strait, history’s last and final Battleship-to-Battleship engagement, in October 1944, was won by the U.S. Navy employing this very same tactic.

We then had lunch in a restaurant which was filling but pretty ordinary.  Glenys and Ceris walked around town while I took the boys snorkelling – another guy came over and asked about doing a dive but I said ‘No’ because we’re leaving tomorrow.

Chutes Des Carbet, Guadeloupe

4 January 1995   Bourg des Saintes to Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
We sailed 20 miles over to Guadeloupe and anchored outside the marina.  I went to clear in and out of customs and buy some petrol.  We then motored up to Pigeon Island where Glenys and I did a dive while Ceris went to the beach with the boys. 

We’ve been having second thoughts about going through Panama.  The biggest worry is money – will we have enough to last three years?  Especially because we will have to buy some more gear for the boat and I’m worried about the house.  Our thoughts at the moment are back to going to the States and then Belize and cross to Portugal in May ’96. 

We will have been out of the UK for three complete tax years by April ’96, so I should be able to shut down my Jersey Trust, which will be a plus.  I filled 4 tanks.

5 January 1995   Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
Glenys and I got up early, went for a walk at half past seven and hired a car.  We all went on a tour of some of the island – we went for a walk in the rain forest in the National Park and visited a small waterfall.  We then walked up to the Chutes Des Carbet which are a series of large waterfalls.  It is  a  30 minute walk through the rain forest to the second waterfall, which is very spectacular at 110 metres high.  The other two waterfalls were two hours walk away so we didn’t bother!  There was a natural hot spring by the waterfall, so we spent a pleasant 30 minutes recovering. 

We took advantage of the convenience of a car and went shopping.  It was half past seven in the evening before we got back onto the boat – shattered!

6 January 1995   Pigeon Island to Deshaies, Guadeloupe
I did a Discover Scuba Dive with Caroline from a Belgian boat “Bellatrice”.  Ceris and Glenys did school work with the boys.  We then motored around to Deshaies.  The others went into town while I played the clarinet for an hour.  Sarah and Dave from “Morning Flight” came over for a beer or two.

7 January 1995   Deshaies to Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
We got up early to strong winds (gusting 30-35 knots).  After a bit of indecision, we set off for Antigua and had a very unpleasant bash upwind for 4 hours - we could only just lay the course for English Harbour.  Thankfully, the wind eased off and veered, so the last 3 hours were OK.  We anchored in Falmouth among the mega yachts – a stark reminder of what a scruffy little boat we have!  Glenys took Ceris and the boys out while I slept.

8 January 1995   Falmouth Harbour
Brett had the runs, so I stayed with him, while Glenys, Ceris and Craig went around English Harbour and up to Shirley Heights.  Brett and I rigged up a swing, which he is delighted with – I should have done it two years ago!

9 January 1995   Falmouth Harbour
Ceris went into St Johns while we motored over to the Catamaran Club (a marina) to get water and fuel. Glenys and Brett went into St Johns to meet Ceris while Craig and I lounged about on the boat.  Glenys and I went out for a meal in the evening.  We had a great time and decided that we definitely won’t go through Panama.

10 January 1995   Falmouth Harbour
I did some administration in the morning, while Glenys and Ceris went for a stroll.  I sent a fax to Gareth offering our services while Fiona has the baby – we’ll see what they want to do.  It will only be worth our while if we can earn some money, because we will end up stuck in the West Indies.  We went to the beach in the afternoon.  We all went out for a meal in the evening.  I’m afraid that Glenys and I got a little drunk.