Exodus hopped from Dominica to Guadeloupe, pushed forward by winds of 27 to 29 knots, gusting to 33 knots. Making good speed, covering the 30 something sea miles to Guadeloupe swiftly.
Guadeloupe is part of the French Antilles and an overseas department of France. It consists of 2 islands, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, joined together by a narrow strip and many bridges. Its official currency is the Euro and any European Union citizen is free to settle and work there. It is the largest and most populous EU territory in the area.
Yet its link to Europe turned out to be a problem for us. Arthur’s European residency expired on the 18th of January. Thanks to a combination of the wonderful miscommunication skills of the Belgian police and the bureaucratic arrogance of the government attorney his application for citizenship was denied. The result is that he can only enter European territory if he applies for the appropriate visa, which can only be obtained in very specific embassies in the Caribbean.
Sailing along the western side of Guadeloupe, made for an interesting sail. It is a long island and more built up than Martinique. The mountains create an on and off effect for wind, with here and there some serious acceleration. The wind would drop to 6 knots, to pick up to 21 in 10 seconds, requiring frequent adjustment of the sails. A nice but tiresome sail.
The winds predicted through the night were equally strong, but a bit less the next day. After 47 active miles we decided to take a rest and park Exodus in the Deshaies bay. We had another 42 sea miles to go from there to Antigua. We hoisted our Q-flag. This entitles you to stay in the country’s territorial waters for a night as long as you do not set foot on soil. To go to land your captain needs to clear immigration and customs first, which was not possible in our case. We enjoyed some afternoon sun and a swim in a beautiful bay.
Next day we continued our trip, sailing past Montserrat. This island is part of the UK Commonwealth, and is named after mount Montserrat in Spain. Its most prominent feature is a large volcano, Soufriere, sticking out. And an active one at that. In 1995 Soufriere erupted and destroyed most of the island and kept erupting. Two thirds of its inhabitants fled. Large parts of the islands are inhabitable. Sailing past, a smoke plume was easily discerned, rising up above the clouds.