Travels in Guadeloupe part 2: The Main Island.
In the last blog I spoke about getting to Guadeloupe - now I want to talk about the island itself. We rented a little gite near the town of Sainte Rose. We chose this place because it was within 50m of a beach and 50m of a supermarket. If you want to go to Guadeloupe and you want to see everything on the island then renting a car is pretty essential. The Western half; Basse Terre is basically a gigantic National Park with a few towns scattered around the coast. We were not renting a car so being able to go somewhere on foot to get supplies was a must.
Hills. With rainforest on them.
The place we were staying was awesome. It was one of two flats in an extra building put up next to someone's house, with the express intention of being rented out to tourists during the high season. This is really common on Guadeloupe. I would advise it. There are loads of hotels but this is way cheaper.
The view from our terrace.
Our upstairs neighbors were a very friendly French couple. They visited the island every year and stayed at that same place and so had built up a good relationship with the owner. She encouraged them to pick the fruit that was growing in her yard - and as there was so much of it they would give it to us. We came back on several occassions to find this waiting for us:
Mango and star fruit
We got on great with them - despite the fact that they didn't speak English and I don't speak French. They even gave us a bottle of wine and invited us to go out to stay with them in France!
The trees also attracted fruit bats.
Naturally it rained on the first day. In fact it rained every day. But it really wasn't a big deal. First of all because it was 30 degrees. Second of all because it never lasted. At some point during the day the wind would pick up to around 20 mph and clear blue sky would give way to dark clouds. There would be a sudden downpour that would last for like 15 minutes and then everything would return to normal.
It was still very nice.
As I said in the previous blog Jess and I are simple people. We just wanted to find a quiet stretch of beach to swim around in. That we found. For pretty much a week we had this little stretch to ourselves.
This beach also had a natural breakwater. Some rocks out in the sea that broke the waves (the sea can be pretty rough and dangerous on the north coast of the island) before they got to shore. This created a sort of paddling pool with waterfalls and bubbles. It was like being in a really fancy spa pool filled with water features. Only it was the sea. In the tropics. So there were hundreds of little crabs, fish, snails, mantis shrimp and other little marine creatures that we could watch going about their business.
Fiddler crab. Eating a leaf-cutter ant. Even when I'm not trying to I end up photographing ants.
It also backed onto a rainforest. - filled with leafcutter ants. So when I got bored of swimming in crystal clear, bath-tub temperature water I could go shoot one of my favorite insects. If it sounds like I'm bragging it's because I am.
Atta worker with a leaf.