Below, Tom’s write up of Deshaies, Guadeloupe, for the sailor considering a visit…..
A wonderful anchorage off a charming little town with excellent snorkelling
The approach from the West is hazard free except for the inevitable fishing buoys in depths up to 150m. Inside the bay about 30 moorings have been laid at the Eastern (town) end of the bay but, unlike those on Les Saintes, they aren’t maintained by anyone. The upside of this is that they are free, the downside is that they are potentially unreliable and most are now permanent home to various local craft. We anchored in the middle oof the bay in 7m on a soupy mix of sand and mud with patches of weed. The holding for a properly set modern anchor seems good enough but we did see a couple of boats drag when the wind funnelled through at up to 30kts. Encouragingly, the charter firms seem to be equipping their boats with more appropriate ground tackle than was the case in the past. Hopefully the spectacular drag fests that used to be such a feature here are now just a cherished memory. The dinghy dock is well made and large enough for the significant numbers of tenders using it. Why there are no cleats or rings though remains a mystery.
Formalities can be completed at the Police Station or at the Pelican shop. Specialist yachting amenities in Deshaies are pretty much non existent. Fuel can be jerried out from the filling station and Camping Gaz is available at the Spar. The nearest laundry is 15km down the road.
The town is small, picturesque with a laid back atmosphere and boasts several restaurants offering the usual French/Caribbean fare at the usual outlandish prices. One stand-out is ‘Mahina’ on the waterfront which does startlingly good pizzas and is full of locals residents – surely a good sign. There is a well supplied fruit and veg market, an excellent Boulangerie and the small Spar supermarket carries a very creditable line of basics and bagged ice. There is an ATM but no bank. Our children enjoyed retiring to the air conditioned comfort of the library to do their school work while the librarian seemed delighted to have some customers. Mobile internet is hopeless so rely on the WiFi in the cafes for internet access. Tourist highlights include the long established and excellent Jardin Botanique (lots of humming birds!) a mile out of town to the South and the Pointe Batterie on the South side of the bay. Another big draw are the locations used in the long running TV series ‘Death in Paradise’ which is largely filmed in and around Deshaies.
The bay itself is full of marine life including turtles and shoals of small fish being chased around by bigger fish and harassed from above by frigate birds and pelicans. The snorkelling on the North side of the anchorage is first class with lovely vent, fan and brain corals and big schools grunts, angel fish, parrot fish and all the usual suspects plus the loggerhead turtles.
Girls wrestling on a canon. As you do.