At a Crossroads

For cruisers in the Caribbean, March is a time for decisions, the hurricane season starts in June and you need time to get out of the way.  Some head south to Grenada, some head east for Europe and some, like us will be heading north back to Canada and the US.

When we decided to try cruising we came up with the idea of a “one year plan”, a way we could have an adventure and see if this is something we want to do for the long term. This March we face the crossroads, do we switch to a long term plan or head home? 

We have decided to head home.  We have enjoyed this adventure, but we are not going to be cruising full-time.  We have found we need a land base and, at moment, we need to be able to deal with life’s curve-balls without the complication of living on the boat.

There are a lot of factors that contributed to this decision; living 7/24 with one person in a small space is not ideal.  Seasickness takes the enjoyment out of the passages.  A close friend with a life limiting diagnosis.  A list, for sure, but more than this, we need space and more variety in our lives than we can get on the boat.

Our plan is to sail back to the Chesapeake by early May and cruise there while we look for a buyer for Kinship.  In the meantime, Kathleen is flying home for a couple of weeks to be with our sick friend and I will be sailing the boat solo back to St Martin from Guadeloupe.

It is sad to be giving up a dream, but we are happy that we had the dream for a year and that we took the chance.  We will treasure the memories with have made.

Guadeloupe on land

Guadeloupe seems to have sucked down our anchor, and we are firmly ensconced in Pointe-a-Pitre harbour. After dropping off our boat guests, we moved the boat to Marina Bas-du-Fort to make it easier to get some boat jobs done. Our guests had kindly delivered parts for fixing the holding tank, and we sure didn’t want to risk having no head, living at anchor. Once that job was done a few more cropped up, including the broken roll pin (see blog post “all that for an 85 cent part?!”). By the time that was done bad weather rolled in, with the waves outside the harbour in the 9 foot range. While hanging around waiting for the weather to clear, one of the marina staff created another boat job to be taken care of…while backing a boat into the slip next to us he drove it hard into our bow, leaving a six-foot streak of blue paint off the incoming boat onto ours. So now we are waiting for the marina to come fix and polish the gelcoat. You know what they say, cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic locations.

As far as exotic locations go, this is a pretty nice one to be stuck in. In addition to taking in the local Carnaval, and spending time updating our blog (finally), we have explored quite a bit of the island, both from P-a-P, and prior to that while sailing along the coastline. Of course, our favourite way to explore is to hike, preferably to the highest point we can find for the views. Here are some of our favourite places on land:

Le Parc Nationale de la Guadeloupe


View of Grande-Terre from the top of Morne Louis

Suspension bridge over pretty river

Walking trail named after my favourite Son

Tropical rain forest full of fun Tarzan vines

La Riviere Rouge

Giant ferns on the trail to Le saut d’eau du Matouba



walking through a banana plantation. Did you know it takes from 9 to 18 months to grow a banana plant? The plastic bag is to protect the fruit from disease.

Check out the flower on a banana plant!

Les Saintes

What looks to me like a Rapunzel Tower, but is actually a defense post for the island of Terre-de-Haut


Volcanic islands provide lots of interesting Geological formations – check out the well-defined layers here

and some pretty spectacular sunsets


Boulder-hopping up the Deshaies River with fellow cruisers Al & Tess

boulder-hopping up the Deshaies river with fellow cruisers Al & Tess

Guadeloupe is a lush, green island, not to be missed!





Coffee, anyone?

Anyone who knows Matthew knows how much he loves his coffee. On every island he searches out the best places to get a good cup of coffee. Two islands in particular really outdid themselves, putting on a great welcome and feeding his coffee addiction.


Kinship Coffee, Private Blend

In Falmouth Harbour we went ashore and walked up a hill to check out the Carib Bean Coffee Co., a coffee roastery that was written up in our Doyle’s Cruising Guide. It was well worth the trip – the owner didn’t realize he had been mentioned in the publication and was just thrilled. He served us a couple of kinds of coffee, while discussing in great length how to make it, checking for our preferences, and giving us a referral of a supplier for a knock-box and replacement milk thermometer for on board coffee making. We sat in his coffee shop on a hill, with a lovely view of the bay we were anchored in, enjoying the breeze and the good coffee and conversation. We left with 5 bags of “Private Blend Kinship Coffee”, enough to last us the rest of the trip.

It was a nice treat for all, even for Angela, the non-coffee drinker among us. When we first arrived and were greeted by a fella wearing a t-shirt that said

Things I don’t like:

  • mornings
  • people
  • morning people

 Angela was afraid she would be run off the property, but no, they were gracious hosts even to her, the morning person to beat all morning people!

With our hosts at the Carib Bean Coffee Co.




When we were driving around in the hills of Basse-Terre we stumbled upon the Musée du Café (coffee museum), on the site where the Guadeloupean coffee, Café Chaulet is produced. For a nominal fee we got to tour the roastery, read up on the history and production of coffee on the island, and view interesting displays of old-fashioned equipment and coffee serving paraphernalia.

garden and museum

history lessons (en Francais)

The tour ended with a complimentary tasting, sitting in their lovely garden. 

I have always known that coffee was rocket fuel for Matthew on a bicycle, now I know it works on a sailboat too!