The main street of Deshaies.
WOW! What a fabulous day we have had here in Deshaies. This small fishing village has a strong French feel and very little English is spoken. Needless to say, our communication is poor since we don’t speak much French, but that hasn’t prevented us from having fun!
Church bells ring at the hour and half hour!
Today began with 8 am Mass. Fortunately all Catholic Masses have the same format and I had my on-line missal with todays readings and Gospel in hand. Without it we would have understood almost nothing. Once the Mass was complete, the priest and congregation immediately began an additional service of some sort. I am not sure why or what the significance was as the only thing I understood was the Litany of Saints. All told, we were in church for two hours. We enjoyed some delightful music and were able to receive Communion for the first time in weeks.
After Mass, we decided to take a walk we read about in the Chris Doyle Leeward Islands guide book. The book said “anyone ready for a cool, shady scramble should follow the Deshaies River as it winds its way into the mountains.”
Create your own path on this beautiful stream.
Well this “scramble” is actually a pretty intense hike as we had to traverse over, under and around boulders. The “path” is not marked and this hike is really an opportunity to get in touch with your inner child and explore a river without having your mom reminding you to be careful and not go too far!
After a solid two hours of rock hopping, we found the road that would allow us to walk home. However, the guide book also said the very adventurous could carry on another few minutes to reach the furthest point along the river. Have you ever known us to stop before completing a challenge? Onward!
It was a shady climb.
End of the line….
About 20 minutes past the road, we found “the end” which was a crystal clear waterfall on the backside of a cave that opened into a small circular area before cascading down through the rocky river. Also a perfect place for a very chilly swim!
Looking out from the cave.
After a total of nearly 3 hours of hiking, we started our walk back to Deshaies via a road. One of the first things we encountered was a retreat or convent of some kind called St. Michael the Archangel. It was a beautiful, peaceful area that included an outdoor Stations of the Cross and a shrine to Mary!
The photo doesn’t capture the serenity of the setting.
There are 10 “beads” between each post; a giant rosary!
After this point, the road descended pretty quickly past houses, dogs, cows and chickens. We were quite happy to reach the dock and dinghy back to LIB!
Frank and Captain took naps while I enjoyed some quiet time reading and watching the sun set.
I thought this would be the end of the day.
One more trip to grass for Captain led us to discover that June 21st is the Festival of Music in France and in Deshaies. So off we went, back to town to enjoy a walk down main street to check out the celebration.
The largest ensemble we saw.
The group with the most unique sound.
There were five tents interspersed along main street and each held a unique musical offering. We enjoyed strolling along and stopping to hear the various groups.
I have to admit, sitting on a street curb, listening to a local orchestra with a quarter moon shining in the night sky was rather enchanting.
I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to experience such a variety of places and people!
We left St. Martin and had a quick and easy motor sail to St. Barts.
Our first stop was Anse de Colombier which is exactly the kind of anchorage we love…
Clear blue Colombier
The water is beautifully clear – I counted 5 starfish on the sand 12 feet below our boat while at anchor!
The French are trying to restore the bay after damage from anchoring and have installed several free mooring balls which we were happy to use. And their efforts are working as much of the sand is gaining sea grass and we saw a lot of turtles and other marine life.
This turtle posed for the photo!
Rays and fish just below our boat.
While moored in Colombier we went scuba diving two times on the south side of Ile Petit Jean. The coral and fish were more plentiful than any other Caribbean diving we have done so far. Our camera wasn’t graded for the depth of our dive, so I don’t have photos, but we saw many schools of fish in a variety of types and sizes. Also the sponges were HUGE! They looked like giant planters that could be used in a garden.
We also spent a lot of time hiking from Colombier. Here are some of the beautiful scenes from our hikes:
LIB nestled up close to the shore in Colombier.
Just another beautiful bay, but too shallow for us to anchor here.
Gustavia in the distance.
Gotta have a selfie.
We managed to exhaust Captain!
The public pier of Gustavia is clean and landscaped.
The public dock in Gustavia was our next stop on St. Bart’s. I have to say, this is a gorgeous town where you can buy all kinds of beautiful baubles, clothes, food and wine.
We spent three nights in Gustavia and sampled food from several delicious restaurants. And we managed to find chocolate croissants again! YUM.
After sampling Gustavia, shopping and not buying the rather expensive clothing, we decided Colombier was more our style.
Kathe and Gary ready for our walk.
So back we went to Colombier to meet up with our friends Kathe and Gary on Tribasa Cross who braved a slog into the wind so they could meet us on St. Bart!
It was great sharing sunset drinks with Kathe and Gary, then hiking with them the following day.
I much preferred St. Bart to St. Martin, at least on this trip. St. Barts was easy to navigate and everyone was very friendly. I was able to practice some very rusty French and my efforts were kindly received. Gustavia feels like a quaint, clean, upscale European city and everything we needed was easy to reach on foot.
An added bonus is that the French are very nice to dogs. The restaurants welcomed Captain when we stopped to eat. In fact in every restaurant the staff immediately brought Captain a bowl of water. She usually received her drink before we did!
Sunset in Gustavia, St. Barts.
We really enjoyed the remote and the city life on this island. St. Barts is definitely on our repeat list.