By Gerry Barker
ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY FIVE – Yesterday we were drenched with rain; today, drenched with sunshine! Yes, at long last the sun has made its appearance, just in time for our stop at Iles des Saintes in Guadeloupe. A grouping of eight tiny islands, with the emphasis on “tiny,” many travel guides call them the Caribbean’s hidden gem. We will anchor off the largest of them, Terre-de-Haut. Another great example of places the Azamara Quest can take you that other ships can’t.
Before our arrival, passengers are treated to a jazz brunch in Discoveries, the main dining room. There are all the traditional serving stations, offering everything from omelets-to-order and waffles to a towering ice wall of shrimp. In the background, a trio entertains with live jazz music as the captain prepares to anchor us in “The Saints.”
We are now 1,200 miles from Miami, and in contrast to rainy St. John, temperatures are in the low 90s. The waters around these islands are crystal clear, and as we approached a school of dolphins followed us briefly, some swimming up to the edge of the ship before traveling on their way.
Sightseeing on Terre-de-Haut is limited. There are some nice beaches, but not with the same amenities as Trunk Bay. Most of the shopping appears to be concentrated in the area of the pier. The language spoken here is French, but it’s no barrier when it comes to buying jewelry, as Pam ably demonstrated. One thing you want to check – some shops do close during the day and reopen in the afternoon. And the currency as you might expect is euros.
There is also Fort Napoleon, built in the 19th century, atop a nearby hill. I was going to make the trek but found out it’s only open from 9 a.m. to noon. So I opted to find something cool to drink instead. The town itself is quaint and colorful, and life here is the opposite end of the spectrum from islands like St. Thomas. You can rent scooters or just use foot power; either way the distances to anywhere aren’t that great.
We will be here until 10 p.m. tonight, when we up anchor and head for the rain forests of Dominica. Until then, we are soaking up every drop of this wonderful scenery and sun. As one staffer told us: “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
March 6, 2013