After an interview with Fitzroy Armour on sperm whales, we left Dominica heading towards the islands Marie Galante and Gouadeloupe. On the occasion of the "sun21"'s arrival on Marie Galante, the mayor of Grand-Bourg and environmental activist Alain Bourg addressed the present ecological threats in their speeches.
Before our departure to the French DOM (Département d'Outre-Mer) Marie Galante, we again met Fitzroy Armour early in the morning. Martin interviewed him. They sat on the mighty roots of an old tree. According to Fitzroy, Columbus could already have seen this tree when he landed in Dominica in 1493.
Fitzroy knows several sperm whales personally. They come to this area of the ocean on the West side of the island. The sea there is very deep and calm. The calves are cared for by more than one female whale of several generations. The calf is breast fed for four to seven years. It stays with its mother for many more years. The sperm whale feed on squids deep in the sea. They empty their bowels if they come to the surface. They bring the nutrients from the depth to the upper layers of the sea, food for the plankton a wonderful cycle of life. We regret not having encountered whales since the Atlantic crossing.
We departed after eight and floated along the steep wooden mountains veiled in pouring rain clouds. After five hours of quite moving sea, we were heading directly towards the white church of Grand-Bourg on the round and flat Marie Galante Island. The boat was docked on a pier in the small harbor without any formalities or customs controls. Soon, the first visitors arrived everybody was already fully informed about our boat and journey. Alain Blaze, an environmental activist, did a very good job: An hour later the mayor and several media people showed up on our boat. They took us into town. On the central square, an aperitif with snacks and fruit juices was already prepared. Alain Blaze and the mayor gave longer speeches and clearly addressed the present ecological threats. Even the drowning of their island in the sea was evoked as a dreadful consequence of the climate changes. Martin responded with the vision of Marie Galante as a pioneer island for ecological tourism and sustainable energy with the abundance of solar and wind energy there is on this still very natural island. Beat added: "Vous êtes des 'grand-bourgeois' valables."
"Sainte Marie-Galante, priez pour nous": this inscription is astonishing for a liturgologist. It can be read on the façade of the church of Grand-Bourg on the island Marie Galante ("Maria Galanta" was the name of one of Columbus' caravelles). We mean, in any case, her vouching for us in heaven may not harm our expedition. In a libertine's sense – and since the sun is a female being in the German world – we can also jokingly mention that we have had "une aventure galante" with the sun, our daily goddess, on this sugar island. Because today, we had to put again to sea, and floated thanks to her grace to another one of the numerous islands of the Antilles: Gouadeloupe. This island also has a name derived from a sanctuary of the Holy Virgin, a name widespread in the global catholic world; but his origins come from the Spanish pilgrim town Guadalupe. Anyway, with the grace of the holy Marie-Galante and after having crossed a very moved Antillan channel, we arrived wet but lucky at the village Goyave on the "Basse Terre" of Guadeloupe. And we did not have to change the host-dedicated little flag bleu-blanc-rouge because we remained on French territory. On the western "Basse Terre" (low land), there is nevertheless the highest peak, "Le Soufrient", 4’300 feet (1487 m). The eastern part, "La Grande Terre", has only a capital called "Point-à-Pitre" to offer, but no grand mountain.
Our guest on board was the creol engineer Alain Blaze, who is very involved in solar energy. He has again prepared for us a very sympathetic welcome in a new pretty guesthouse next to a small mole. The owner of the inn piloted us with his boat through a dangerous serpentine waterline in a sea area full of fishnets and coral reefs. Our skippers Michel and Mark received the best docking place, Martin a tasty vegetarian dish, and Beat got a bike.