We sailed to the archipelago of the Saintes that are just south of Gaudeloupe, about five days ago and have spent time in a couple of different anchorages among these idyllic islands. It’s no lie that the farther south you go the more pristine the islands become! For the past several days we’ve been on a mooring off this charming village on the island of Terre de Haut.
The town is nestled into the shoreline with mountains rising up all around it.
There are several markets and boulangeries, so we’ve been able to buy French cheeses and olives and plenty of baguettes! There are wonderful restaurants as well. As with most of the villages we’ve visited, the church tower dominates the skyline.
Typical island structures are brightly painted homes with a bit of gingerbread trim.
Just above the village is one of the highest points of the island, so naturally that was a good choice for a fort. It is Forte Napoleon and it has been very well preserved and houses a museum. Yesterday we rented a golf cart with fellow cruisers Corey and Dale aboard Hi Flite, to visit the fort and tour the rest of this small island.
Here is the dry moat that used to protect the outer walls of the fortress. The inner castle is dated 1867.
The museum that is housed in the inner castle has very little information on the fortress itself, and focuses on island history instead. I would like to know a lot more about this fortress so I’ll look into it when I can. Meanwhile, although the building is barely more than 150 years old, the techniques used to build this impressive structure are much older.
The grounds within the keep.
I can’t resist windows and doorways and views from both–
–especially this view through a narrow gun slit that looks across the way into another narrow window.
Here are some of the interior rooms now used for displays. This is the hearth in the kitchen.
The grounds were beautifully kept, and there is now a project underway to create a botanical garden of ancient native plants. Here is one flowering tree.
There were plenty of bromeliads and epiphyte orchids with large bulbs and very long flower spikes. Bob thinks they are encyclias, but we could not find any nursery personnel to answer our questions.
The views from the fortress covered most of the shoreline of Terre de Haut. It would have been easy to defend this island from this vantage point. Here we are looking down into the mooring field where Pandora sits off the village of Bourg des Saintes.
The rest of the day we drove along all the roads we could find through island. Terre de Haut is ringed with beautiful beaches. Here is our chariot of the day.
We had lunch on a vibrantly colored pink and green patio cafe overlooking this beach.
We stopped along the road to take this panorama. You can click on it to ‘biggify.’
We ended the day with a collection of driftwood and sponges from the beaches for me, which I hope will help my friend Mary create some beach themed centerpieces for our upcoming bobbin lace retreat. Corey got a great cache of sea glass, and we both picked up a few shells and sea urchins. We returned tired and happy, and got together for sundowners with Carol and Bob from Oasis, who left this morning to sail to Dominica. We hope to follow them tomorrow. It was a very full day of sightseeing that left us wanting to know more about the history of this place, but well sated in beach combing and good food.