POSITION : 16°13'•2 N and 061°31'•8 W
DAY / TIME : 25.02.2013, 23:00 UTC
MOOD : SERIOUS
The rain I was talking about previously was followed by very strong winds, much too high for the season,
but we have no choice.
We have to continue our journey.
However the strain on crew and material starts showing.
when the reefing system of the main sail broke down.
We have a so called in-mast furling system, meaning we furl the main sail into the mast and by doing so can reduce it in strong winds to whatever size we like .
When the system broke, the whole main came out !
Great. We took the jib sail ( front of boat ) away, and started the engine, limping into the bay of Pointe-a-Pietre, the largest town on the island with a marina that can cater for up to 500 boats.
A rigger I had called earlier was expecting us already, so after staying at anchor, we finally took the whole main sail down,
and then went into the marina.
This repair will be tricky and needs to be done with patience.
It is essential that the
system will not fail us again during our return trip to Europe,
otherwise we will be in great trouble !
But for now we are stuck.
One week at least !!!!!!
But it is France, nevertheless, an Overseas Department and as such again part of the EU.
The parked Rolls Royce in the marina and the passing BMW's on the sometimes 3 lane motorway give you the feeling like driving in the "Hinterland" between Cannes and Nice,
and again to me it has nothing to do with the Caribbean.
Guadeloupe consists actually of two islands
that combined look like a
lopsided butterfly ,
only divided at its waist by a river,
the Riviere Salee.
One can actually sail it , even with larger boats, if you have enough fenders and crew.
The two halves are
Grande Terre ( on the right),
which is a low land, and
on the left Basse Terre
( Low Land ) which is actually the high land,
the mountainous part.
Well my australian mermaid,
who seems to be following me to all these islands,
tried to put
female logic to it:
You see, she said, when you are on the left side,
you see in front of you the low land,
so you call the land you are standing on "Low Land", and vice versa.
Great, anybody as confused as me ?
But then the majority of women can't even tell you where left and right is, right ?
But no, it has nothing to do with female logic, but with the language :
Here is MY point :
IN FRENCH YOU CAN SAY SOMETHING AND MEAN THE OPPOSITE !
In French you can talk as long as you like without saying anything !
You can also say something, but later insist you did not mean what the recipient of your words understood you were saying.
You might also not say properly what you mean although you meant it.
In case of doubt you can insist you haven't said anything anyway.
You could also say something but mean the opposite, or you meant to say something but didn't dare to say It, so you said something different which might be interpreted as something you had meant to say.
But you didn't.
GOT IT ????
So all of this and much more is the advantage of the French language.
Now you know why French is the language of Diplomacy.....and LOVE !
Any difference ?
I don't see it.
The more you talk the less you say.
All Diplomats are the same.
It serves all purposes, and is never boring .
All Lovers do the same.
You can understand what you "Like To Hear" or the opposite, everything is possible with this language. Vous comprenez ?
"Basse Terre" actually means "below",
so the left wing of the butterfly is slightly below the right wing of the butterfly.
Finally : Male Logic !!!!!!!!!
Guadeloupe presents itself
much cosier to us than Martinique.
Columbus discovered it,
landing at Sainte Marie
( Basse Terre on the eastern side )
on 4 November 1493,
and called it after a Spanish monastery :
'Our Lady of Guadalupa de Estramadura.
Later is was colonised by the French, but changed hands a couple of times with the English, who founded the town we are in presently :
Peter's Point ( Pointe A Pietre ).
The whole place seems to be one big
textile and bric-a-brac bazaar.
In shops and on the streets you see
clothes, clothes and clothes for sale,
sometimes next to "real" Rolex watches for 50 Euro the piece, or the Armani suit for 95 Euro !
What a bargain !
The rather peaceful chit-chat is only disturbed once in a while when the street sellers start running
whilst the police is approaching.
Some scream, some laugh,
putting their merchandise of bras and undies
into their one bag and make a run.
If you know Venice, it is the same cat-and-mouse game there with the hand bag sellers from Africa.
But let's focus on here and now.
In the back of the shops you see who really runs the show here :
Arab speaking merchants from the Maghreb : Tunisians, Algerians and Moroccans .
Tea and Coffee is consummated at the doorstep whilst the locals intermingle with their creole language.
What a place !
with a population half the size of 'Pieter's Point'
The difference however lies in the seemingly architecturally unconnected "State Buildings",
almost like "White Elephants" towering over the residents and their small dwellings in this small town.
Big Brother seems to be big, white, and therefore pure :
La Grande Nation !
It still depends on it's sugar cane plantations to produce the Rum that is so highly valued in France.
Previously it was produced on slave plantations by white colonists,
of whom most were killed during the "Reign of Terror" by the
revolutionary commissar of the new Republic,
Victor Hugues ( 1762 - 1826 ).
Although Napoleon re-instated slavery in 1802 due to the "headache" of his wife,
it did not bring back the surviving exiled Creole families of plantation owners, but slavery continued nevertheless until 1848.
Land ownership thereafter was consolidated by large companies from metropolitan France,
and that's the way it is until today.
And that's the way it is, Walter Cronkite, CBS News , New York !
When I returned from my trip with the car and came back to the marina, I said to myself :
Dear DHL, pls bring the spare parts quickly, I want to move on.
And that's the way it is,
reporting from Guadeloupe,
nothing new !
Just FRANCE !