Friday, February 14, 2020

Guadeloupe, Antigua and on to St. Maarten/St. Martin!

 Hiking in Guadeloupe; near the start of a hike

  Hiking in Guadeloupe; the mud begins

  Hiking in Guadeloupe; and more mud

Guadeloupe waterfalls along the trail

Dawn from Cat Tales enjoying a tropical downpour

Maria and Dawn with a large fern umbrella

The trail used to be here

 Beach time with Laurie on Cat Tales running quickly from a typical wave

 Enjoying the Guadeloupe aquarium.  Laurie seems trapped...

Steve's favorite percussionist in Guadeloupe

Sometime you just have to explore to find the treasure

Downtown Pointe a Pitre needs a bit of cleaning up to do

Ah, Antigua and Jolly Harbour without the rain!

Maria enjoying our anchorage

Sailing to Sint Maarten/St. Martin and fisherman Maria is showing her catch of the day!

S/Y Aspen – February 15, 2020 – Log #169
Aspen Position: 18 degrees 02’ N  063 degrees 85’ W
Sint Maarten, Caribbean

We hiked so many trails in Guadeloupe with our friends, Dawn and Laurie, on the catamaran Cat Tales.  Driving on the island was fairly easy but traffic was a challenge with the sheer volume of cars, trucks, busses and people on the roads.

If you enjoy viewing waterfalls, well this is your island.  The volume of water cascading down the mountains was exceptional, not to mention the rivers of mud and water washing out the trails we hiked on.  It seems the hurricanes of 2017 destroyed nearly every trail on Guadeloupe.  What were once well groomed and carved forest trails were gone, only to be replaced by rutted, rooted and barely passable semblances of the once magnificent trail system all over the island. 

We persevered at times but rarely completed a hike to the finish because of the non-existent trails.  Ah, you have to take what you can get so our lunch breaks and refreshment stops made up for the lack of passable walks.  Of course since this is part of France, the restaurants were expected to be wonderful.  Well, that didn’t work either since in the Caribbean restaurants set their own very odd hours for serving food, if at all.  So finding places to enjoy any culinary delights was as much of a challenge as finding the forest trails!

With our exploration of Guadeloupe complete, we sailed Aspen north to Antigua where we could speak English once again.  We went into Jolly Harbour to hide from more intense winds and seas for nearly a week, while visiting with sailing friends who had also made Antigua their destination this sailing season.

Luckily another sailing weather window appeared and Aspen roared toward our favorite island, St. Maarten/St. Martin.  We had not visited this twin island nation (Dutch and French) since the hurricanes devastated them in 2017.  It was good to be back among so many island friends again.

The Dutch side of St. Maarten has and is recovering nicely with work crews everywhere, sweeping, shoveling and repairing the many hotels and restaurants throughout the Dutch side of the island.  However, on the French side of the island, time seems to have stood still, with strikes, riots and very little progress being made to recover from the damage.  It is like France has forgotten about little St. Martin and left the French side of the island without much help.  Or maybe the millions of Euros sent for recovery aid somehow disappeared and evaporated, as the locals seem to think.

But things change and good can be found all over this island, from the beach bars and restaurants lining Simpson Bay to the fun Carnival parade in French Grand Case every Tuesday night.  We also have rendezvoused with many sailing friends coming up from the south and down from the north at this sailor’s crossroads in the Caribbean.

Cheap rum, boat repairs, and well stocked chandleries are the hallmark of St. Maarten.  We are doing our best to support the local economy by working on Aspen and completely going through all her systems for the first time in what seems like ages.  Lockers have been emptied and cleaned, while we found things we forgot existed.  Aspen turns 19 years old this year so it is time for this project.

We always make time for happy hours, beaching and hiking with friends while we are here too.  There is no shortage of enjoyable activities to participate in, you can count on that.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Steve and Maria

1. You can track our location using this:
2. Our sailing book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at (
3. And the new book, Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race is also available at (