Sunday, June 7, 2015

Marie Galante

Jimmy Cliff - grandfather of reggae
We came to Marie Galante because 1.)  We have never been and B.)  The 16th annual Terre de Blues Music Fest is going on.  As you well know, we like music and especially live music so why not.  And finally Jean Louie sv Sagaramantha from Madicascar told Tom in Trinidad "Tom, you simply must go to Marie  Galante.  And you must rent scooters and buzz around the island."  This was said in his best English with a heavy French accent (of course) which somehow put extra emphasis on the importance of going.
Anchorage SE corner - we didn't anchor here

One of multiple big ferries - we anchored to the left

Our anchorage - tight

View to the NW inside the break water

Now Marie Galante is not easy to get to.  It's further east than most if not all of the rest of the islands that make up the eastern Caribbean, except for perhaps Barbados and Tobago.  What does east mean?  Beat to windward.  But we worked ourselves into a better position by setting off from Ilet du Gosier - just east of Pointe a Pitre Guadeloupe.  Oh......FYI Marie Galante is part of Guadeloupe, although as we learned at this music fest, they are fiercely proud to be from Marie Galante.  We heard "Marie Galanate" chanted several times during the 4 day fest and even a couple of songs with Marie Galante in them.  Anyway.....we were still close hauled to get there but we made it to the main town Grand-Bourg.  The entrance was a tad tricky but marked.  The harbor inside the break water has two ferry docks and then two docks that were mainly fishing boats - as in small village fishing boats, with a few sailboats thrown in for fun.  There was an anchorage off the fishing docks but not much room.
Interesting graffiti

Lunch time drumming jam
We looked at anchoring on that side but decided against it and man are we glad we didn't.  The big ferries need turning room for exiting the harbor.  The propwash from the stern thrusters on the ferries was substantial.  Then they would throttle up their jet engines as they were leaving the breakwater.  The jet wash was present in that side of the anchorage.  Instead, we opted for the even smaller area inside the NW corner.  It was really tight but arriving a day earlier made the difference.  The next day there was 30 mins of intense anchor watch when a French cat came in and took the private mooring ball very, very near to us.  They watched and we watch for awhile as we both swung through various winds shifts.  We didn't touch through all the wind angles so we gave a sigh of relief and set about having a good weekend.  Although, they were so close I now feel like we are family since I know what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a few other things I could have gone a lifetime without knowing but oh well.  * Yes, technically we shouldn't have anchored so close to that mooring ball but it was a tiny area and we took a chance.  If there would have been an issue, we would have moved.  
Tom, Norbert, Nicolai, Sabrina, Christian aboard sv Pamela

FYI - the anchorage outside the breakwater was terribly rolly when we were there.  Sv Pamela was out there.  We visited them twice and I kid you not.....roll city....and Tom and I have a high tolerance for roll.  

The main stage (left) and vendor tents

Vendor tents and the mooring ball the French boat took the next day

Anyway, our anchorage spot was no more than 100 yards from the main stage for days 1 and 4 as well as events during the daytime each day.  There were also all the supporting festival stuff - food vendors, arts and craft vendors, rum tasting (Marie Galante has several rum factories and the island is covered in sugar cane for making this rum), and kid activities....all in tents 100 yards from us.  Perfect.  I say perfect because the music and everything that goes with it is why we came.  It is amazing to me when cruisers anchor close to something like a music fest or even close to shore off a beach bar for easy access ashore and potentially free wifi and then complain about the noise.  Are you kidding me?    

Holiday rentals are everywhere - rooms, studios, apartments, houses, ect

We tried to rent scooters but with the music fest, there were none to be had.  We opted to take the bus one day.  There was some confusion (mainly on our part) but turned out ok.  We rode it to the end of the line and back.  That really confused the bus driver but he was a good sport, only shaking his head at the silly American tourist.  There were supposedly village stops along the way where we thought we might get out and wonder around but those villages turned out to be four or five houses grouped together in the countryside.  Other than a few towns, Marie Galante is primarily rural countryside filled with sugar cane, old abandoned rum mills and a few rum factories.
Fireworks the last night
Tom's Music Corner will at some point have an official write up of the actual Terre de Blues.

No comments:

Post a Comment