Tom’s Deshaies, Guadeloupe

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.

5 thoughts on “Tom’s Deshaies, Guadeloupe”

  1. Nick would be very excited as ‘Death in paradise’ is one of his favourite tv programmes. He loves a good soft-focus murder mystery that he’s watched a hundred times before.

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  2. Hi Polly and everyone. We’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, what an adventure so far! Polly, I hope you are keeping up with your ‘prep ones’ and ‘prep twos’, though I expect the outdoor life might make them a bit less necessary. Anyway now we’ve found your blog we’ll keep an eye out for the next instalments. Have a great time. Best wishes, Steve & Kathryn

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    1. Hi Steve. So glad you’ve been enjoying our accounts. I actually do Pilates every other day if I can. There’s a space on our aft deck under the mizzen boom where I can fit the mat and I find the rocking of the boat adds an extra challenge to stability. On passage it’s pretty hopeless but then just keeping upright does wonders for the core muscles!

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  3. I’m really enjoying all your blogs (like everyone else.) Great photos of the islands. Obviously it all brought back loads of memories of those places but we never visited Marie Gallant in all the years so I was really interested in that. It sounds idyllic so our loss that we never went there !
    (How about adding a few more showing more of life on board – for instance everyone at supper, chilling out around the cabin, where you sleep, that excellent photo of the schoolmistress and pupils you sent me and and a cockpit shot or two showing you under way, steering etc. so people can see the daily activities.)
    All the very best to you mariners
    Adrian

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