Day 6 - October 7, 2013 - Pointe Pitre, Guadeloupe
By Kara Weller, Biologist
Co-ordinates: 16º14.1’ N, 061º32.3’ W
Air Temperature: 30ºC, 86ºF
Pressure: 1014 hPa
Wind: 8 knots
Coming alongside the pier this morning in Pointe Pitre was a change from the usual zodiac operations of the last few days. The large city next to us beckoned as our gangway was lowered, and after breakfast those signed up for the rigorous hike up the volcano set off with high hopes of a spectacular hike and wonderful views, which were rewarded in the end.
Other options for those not so keen on hiking for four hours in the heat inlcuded the choice to head out by water taxi to Gosier Beach to relax, swim and enjoy a few hours of leisure. Others opted to wander through the fascinating town. A tour to the Jaques Cousteau Marine Reserve was offered as well.
This tour took us out through the edges of the city and included a long drive over a bridge to the other island and then through France’s first national park in the West Indies. The green mountainous hills were beautiful to drive through, and the road eventually brought us to Malendure Beach, a place of strange black sand where we had some time to wander around at leisure. Then the highlight of the day awaited us – a drive in a glass-bottom boat out to a small island with spectacular marine life surrounding it. We dove inside the lower level of the boat where benches lined the high glass windows and we could peer out at the colourful fishes, corals and sponges surrounding the island.
After anchoring the boat we wasted no time plunging into the water with snorkel masks and fins to explore. The sponges were enormous here, the schools of brightly colored fish fascinating, and the attractive yet funny looking parrot fish were wonderful to see. A sea turtle was briefly spotted as well.
A few brave souls ventured down the slide on the boat to plunge at full speed into the water. Who says you have to be a kid to enjoy such activities? The water was not cold, the sun wasn’t too hot, the temperature was just right and the marine life was abundant. And the rum back onboard wasn’t too bad either.
We headed back to the port with a short stop to admire the Crayfish waterfalls in the national park on the way.
After lifting the lines and heading back out and away from Guadeloupe, we had a briefing and then our captain invited everyone in to The Theatre for a farewell cocktail party. During the party, many crew members were invited up on stage to be recognized and thanked for all their hard work. We raised a glass to one more great day on our voyage and to happy further journeys.
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