The night had been terrible. I'm good at sleeping in my “starfish” prone position so the rolling didn't affect me much, but waves coming around corner would slam into the back of the boat at irregular intervals and make a loud banging sound while making poor Zanshin slam and vibrate. This kept me from getting deep sleep and even putting in earplugs and sleeping forward didn't make much of a difference, so I was tired and grumpy this morning. Breakfast coffee was good, and I opted to get going for les Îles des Saintes as soon as possible in the hopes that I'd get a good night's rest tonight.
The leeward side of Guadeloupe has odd winds, most of the times I'd sailed along them I found them to be back winded during the day or that there was flat calm. I'd planned on motors ailing much of the way and was going to make water and do my laundry. But the winds out there were strong and for the first part of the trip towards Pigeon Island I sailed with 2 reefs and was doing a comfortable 7-8 knots. Then the wind freshened and I was down to 3 reefs and was slamming into the waves doing 8-9 knots! The indicated wind was 35 knots most of the time and the waves were getting bigger and the tops were being blown off them with some streaks of foam, something I'd rarely seen in the Caribbean. I decided to roll up the genoa and keep a bit of main up for stabilization and motored into the wind and waves but it was certainly no fun at all. I spotted the small anchorage called “anse a la Barque” which I'd used before and decided I needed a break, as did Zanshin and even though it looked open to the weather there's a small reef on the windward side which would hopefully keep the worst of the weather out. I got in and anchored, the wind was still 15 knots inside the anchorage but at least I was protected from the waves so I thawed out a frozen baguette and made some lunch. After lunchtime it looked like the weather out there had settled, so I got underway again and stayed close to shore. The wind was still howling from dead ahead (south) at 25 knots, but there was only a short chop wave system now, so I wasn't slamming anymore and I made a good 5 knots under engine. When I turned the corner at the southern end of Guadeloupe I expected horrendous conditions as the wind always seems to funnel between there and the Saintes, but while the seas were just under 2 meters the wind remained the same and I ploughed on through that 6 mile passage to my old anchoring spot in the lee of the “pain à sucre” hill. I was surprised at how few boats were in there, but when I got closer I saw that they had now put in mooring balls and since nobody was anchored anymore I assumed that they'd put in a restriction. I got my mooring line and boat hook ready and was fortunate indeed to see that there was one single mooring ball left. I finessed the approach and stopped the boat right at the mooring ball but it had just a metal ring at the top and try as I might I couldn't lift it high enough to get my mooring line through it. I let myself drift back while trying to figure out how I was going to do this, and fortunately a fellow sailor had seen my predicament and came out in a dinghy to assist me. Once tied up and secure I saw that I'd arrived just when the mooring fee collectors were doing their rounds; it turns out that these moorings were only installed 3 months ago and that anchoring is indeed now prohibited here. I paid my €13 for the night and proceeded to wash down the forward decks and rails as well as the dodger. Everything was encrusted with salt and I thought it would be easier to get rid of before it dried; and there is no rain in the forecast so mother nature wasn't going to do it for me.
Although the mooring attendants had reassured me that my mooring wasn't too close to my neighbor, after they departed we had a quick word and agreed that we'd have to watch out if the wind died down during the night. Rather than risk contact, I rigged up a kedge anchor and put some little white floaties on the 30 feet or so of yellow poly line that was float behind the boat so that no dinghy would inadvertently run over it.

Anse a la Barque This small and relatively open anchorage provided me respite from the 30+ knots of wind out there
(2016-05-07 11:23:47 NIKON D7100 [f/5.6, 1/160s] ISO 100)
Anse a la Barque
Strong catabatic winds the winds were 30+ knots from the south and beating into it was a chore
(2016-05-07 13:27:18 NIKON D7100 [f/5.6, 1/640s] ISO 100)
Strong catabatic winds
Pain de Sucre Sugarloaf hill in Les Iles des Saintes
(2016-05-07 17:12:49 NIKON D7100 [f/5.6, 1/160s] ISO 100)
Pain de Sucre
Saintes houseboat I don't know how that houseboat could traverse the channel between Guadeloupe and here, but considering it is here it must have made it.
(2016-05-07 17:12:23 NIKON D7100 [f/5.6, 1/60s] ISO 100)
Saintes houseboat
Kedge anchor markers My mooring was quite close to my neighbour and if (or when) the wind changes at night we'd touch; so I set up a kedge anchor and marked the line with some floating balls
(2016-05-07 18:18:21 NIKON D7100 [f/6.3, 1/60s] ISO 100)
Kedge anchor markers
Sunset in the Saintes Sun setting over a small island, part of les Iles des Saintes
(2016-05-07 18:18:17 NIKON D7100 [f/6.3, 1/125s] ISO 100)
Sunset in the Saintes
   
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