Saturday, August 17, 2013

Le papillion et l'hippocampe

So let me say it up front and get it out of the way.  I am working from the Caribbean for the month of August.  Now if everyone is done chuckling, it really isn’t as bad of an idea as it sounds.  I spent the last two months lining up outputs from the consultants, and now I have a month to put them together.  Working part time and taking some vacation as well.  I work for my most productive four (or six or whatever I am feeling that day) hours, and then go play.  If it rains, usually I would be upset because it was raining on my vacation, now it is all cool, because I just spend that day working, and take a sunny Thursday off.

My partner in crime, Mac, and I spent the first two weeks of our month on the island of Guadeloupe.
Guadeloupe is a French overseas protectorate, which means it is like the Puerto Rico of France except they get to vote in parliament (which makes it one up on the District of Columbia).  There are a couple of them, so Guadeloupe is the one shaped like a butterfly (or two volcanic islands connected by the land bridge but this is France after all and that is nowhere near sufficiently poetic).  In addition to my previously mentioned productiveness, we have been filling in the days hiking, sunning, diving, beaching, driving, cliffing, volcanoing, waterfalling, and drinking copious amounts of Caribe beer.

Basically this post is really just a vehicle for me showing off my dive pictures.  (It may not have the packed sea life of the Pacific or Red Sea, but the viz is crystal.  And on the upside, its most sectarian conflict is over whether to drink French or Trini beer.)  In addition to the flamingo tongue sea slug and the puffer fish with the weird eyes, I also got the biggest sea horse that I have ever seen.  He is a bit hard to see in the pictures (natural camouflage blah blah blah), but you can just make him out.

The cliffs along the ocean are nice and dramatic for hiking, and one is never really that far away from a golden beach if it gets too hot.  Then there was one sort of ill-fated decision to hike the local active volcano (every island has got one) in the rain.  The sulfur mixed in with the low hanging clouds and basically left us in a foul smelling hazy for three hours.  I am attaching a photo so you can see how happy I was to get to the top, and looking, as Mac rather generously described, like a wet puppy.

Fortunately there was a nice bar at the bottom that served Ti Punch – which is a fruity island favorite when served in tourist bars but is just a shot of cane rum with lime and sugar when you stop in the roadside pirate bar (ie what Jimmy Buffet drinks the night his wife leaves him).  But it took care of any lingering chills right quick.

So that is Guadeloupe – catching a southbound boat tomorrow afternoon…


Andy Oler said...

Because I'm blind (and lazy): which photo has the seahorse?

Kristen Himelein said...

Below the puffer fish - the black and white looking thing.

Tammy Barlow said...
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