Guadeloupe

Caribbean Round-Up

My trip has now come to an end, I am home and back to (some kind of) normality. It’s been over a week since I returned to blighty and by scheduled content has all now been posted, which means it’s time for a round-up of my favourite images from the trip!

Before I start though, if you have missed any of the posts from the last 4 months then they will all be linked throughout this round-up.

 Propellor - Grenada Marine, St. Davids, Grenada 07/01/2016

Propellor - Grenada Marine, St. Davids, Grenada 07/01/2016

Our trip started in Grenada, where the boat had been played up at the end of last season, and when we arrived our first full day was spent at the boat yard checking the boat over and starting to get things in some kind of order. I really love this pictures of one of the propellors, it’s closed and still and had been like that for the past 6/7months but still looked barely used. It was quite an obvious picture to take but i’m pleased with the way it came out. I actually had trouble taking this image as there was a support right in the way so I had to contort around it to get the composition that I wanted.

This picture features in my Hello Grenada! post.

 Bonfire - Mount Cinnamon Hotel, Grand Anse, Grenada 08/01/2016

Bonfire - Mount Cinnamon Hotel, Grand Anse, Grenada 08/01/2016

The next picture that really stands out to me is this one of a bonfire. This was actually taken the day after the picture of the propellor. We were sat at the beach bar one evening, knowing there would be a bonfire that night but we never expected it to be as big as it was! The thing was huge! Almost 10ft tall before it was lit, and the flames jumped and danced up to well over 15ft. I had taken my camera down with me that night to photograph the bonfire but never expected the magnitude it would be. All the images came out perfect but this one if my favourite from the set.

This picture also features in my Hello Grenada! post.

 Ivan & Brenda - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

Ivan & Brenda - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

After a mishap in Grenada we skipped up to St. Lucia for some emergency repairs to our water maker. Whilst waiting for the parts to arrive we headed down to the Pitons for a couple of nights. On one of the days myself and our crew headed out on a hike to find the start of the Piton trail. As we neared the trail head we came across these 2 little guys. This picture will always stand out to me when I think of that hike. I named them Ivan and Brenda, don’t ask why because I don’t know. This picture actually started the whole naming thing I do. Oops.

This picture features in my Pitons Bay post.

 Tall Ship - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

Tall Ship - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

The same evening as our hike we saw this magnificent boat anchored up at the edge of the bay. Normally boats drop their sails at anchor this this one still had them up, so whilst I had the opportunity I grabbed my 100-400mm Superzoom to snap some images before the sails were dropped. I really love the colours in this picture, the sun was setting so all the colours around us were a chalky, muted tone which came out perfectly when I edited the photo.

This picture also features in my Pitons Bay post.

 Old Fig Tree - Wallilabou Gardens, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 06/02/2016

Old Fig Tree - Wallilabou Gardens, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 06/02/2016

Our next stop after St. Lucia was St. Vincent & The Grenadines. We first stopped in a place called Wallilabou Bay, where some scenes in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films were shot. The place wasn’t big at all but just a short walk away was a small botanic gardens were we spent a morning. The images that stands out to me from that morning is this one of the Old Fig Tree they have there. From just the right angle the tree blocked out the visitor centre and makes it look like you’re in an abandoned village. This was a tricky picture to get because I wanted the stream flowing, so needed a long exposure, but without a tripod or flat surface it did prove difficult. I managed in the end and I am still super happy with the results.

This pictures features in my It’s A Pirates Life For Me post.

 Green Sea Turtle - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 14/02/2016

Green Sea Turtle - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 14/02/2016

Still in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, but this time in a cluster of islands called Tobago Cays. Now, Tobago Cays is famous for its abundance of Turtles that live in the area and we were not let down. We must have seen dozens of them swimming around in the area. Being one not to miss an opportunity I jumped in with my GoPro and saw around with the turtles, I got so many pictures but this was by far 1 of the best. To make sure I got plenty of pictures without missing anything I had my GoPro set to time-lapse mode taking a picture every half a second.

This picture features in my Tobago Cays post.

 Trafalgar Falls - Trafalgar Falls, Dominica 07/03/2016

Trafalgar Falls - Trafalgar Falls, Dominica 07/03/2016

Heading into March we started the month in Dominica, with our first shore excursion being up to the Trafalgar Falls. We had to take the bus up from Rosseau, the capital, and by bus I mean mini-van packed with far too many people. I still feel sorry for the little girl crushed between me and her mother. Anyway, when we got to the falls we were amazed by the sheer size of them! There wasn’t much water flowing as you can see but there were so tall the water was sticking the rocks with immense force. I have so many great images from the falls but this one is my favourite as it shows the sheer scale of them!

This picture features in my Trafalgar Falls post.

 Tommy Turtle - Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Tommy Turtle - Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Throughout March we spent time in Dominica and Guadeloupe. This next image is from Guadeloupe, and my favourite place to dive ever! We stopped off at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve specifically to do diving as we had heard it was world class. Boy did it live up to the expectations! We did 3 full days of diving and this picture came from the very last dive. I must have been 3ft from this turtle and could have easily reached out and touched him, I didn’t as I didn’t know how he would react. I did name him, like many other animals on this trip. I gave him the name Tommy, doesn't he just look like a Tommy?

This picture features in my Diving Guadeloupe post.

 Archway - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

Archway - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

From Guadeloupe we headed up to Antigua to change crew. While we were there we headed round to a place called Deep Bay, a beautiful anchorage not too far from Jolly Harbour. One morning I hiked up to the fort to catch the sunrise. As I got to the fort the sun had already started to rise but it was no big deal. I found this archway, which actually led me to the very top of the fort, and it made the perfect image. The way the light comes in at an angle and falls onto the wall and floor just mesmerised me, and the landscape and water in the background just top it all off.

This picture feature in my Deep Bay Photo Mission post.

 Ripples II In Deep Bay - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

Ripples II In Deep Bay - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

This next image is also from Deep Bay and makes us look like we have the bay to ourselves. We didn’t but with careful composition it worked just the way I wanted. The hotel slightly ruins the picture, and the area for that matter, but the bar is right at home. Like I said careful composition lead to the result I got, but mainly thanks to dad liking to be close to shore and brave enough to only have 1.5m of water between the keel and the sand means that all the other boats were far enough away that I didn’t have much to hide.

The picture also features in my Deep Bay Photo Mission post.

 French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

April ended with another trip to the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve as we made our way back south from Antigua. Our first dive site was the Fran Jack Wreck, which is where we met the French Angelfish you see above. It was pure luck that this picture came out the way it did, again with my GoPro in time-lapse mode taking pictures every 0.5seconds this guy swam straight past me as if I wasn't even there! He then hung around as we snapped some more pictures at the bow of the ship.

This pictures features in my My Favourite Place To Dive post.

 Lenny Lizard - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Lenny Lizard - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

From Guadeloupe we were back in Dominica, and that meant another trip down the Indian River. I have actually done 2 posts about Indian River but this image is from the second trip. At the halfway post of the trip you stop at a bush bar with a small nature walk. This guy was hanging around on a fallen tree and just let me snap away as many pictures as I wanted of him. I named him Lenny and he wasn’t the last animal I named on this trip.

This picture features in my Exploring: Indian River - Round 2 post.

 Cannon - Pigeon Island, St. Lucia 29/04/2016

Cannon - Pigeon Island, St. Lucia 29/04/2016

When we arrived back in St. Lucia we took a trip over to Pigeon Island and up to the fort. Pigeon Island was actually the first fort I visited in the Caribbean when I visited in 2015. The cannons at the top of the fort lay there broken and battered but they make great subject to photograph. With this image I wanted a different angle to the rest of the cannon pictures I had taken throughout the trip. The angle makes the cannon look sad and lonely while the wall draws your eye towards the tip of the cannon.

This pictures features in my Exploring: Pigeon Island post.

 Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

From St. Lucia it was back to St. Vincent & The Grenadines which meant back to Tobago Cays. Towards the end of the trip I really got into making Long Exposure Time-Lapses, you can see a couple on my Instagram. This particular picture though i thought had been ruined! Some people on the beach, bearing in mind it was about 10:30pm, decided to shine their torches towards and in front of my as my shutter was open but in actual fact it really improved the picture! I only found this out as I came to editing all the images and putting the time-lapse together.

This picture features in my Time-Lapsing: Tobago Cays post.

 Driftwood - Sandy Beach, Carriacou, Grenada 11/05/2016

Driftwood - Sandy Beach, Carriacou, Grenada 11/05/2016

The last image I chose for this round-up was the above one of a piece of driftwood. Our final destination before getting back to Grenada was a place called Carriacou and a little sand island, aptly, named Sandy Island. This piece of wood was left after a storm that pretty much destroyed the island a couple of years ago. To me it made an interesting subject and I only actually took 1 picture of it, this one. It came out perfect and the black & white edit really makes the picture.

This picture features in my Sandy Beach post.

So there you have it, my favourite pictures from the past 4 months. If you would like to read any of the posts from the last 4 months most of them are linked under their respective picture but you can check out my Caribbean Archive for the rest.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Which of these is your favourite image? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

My Favourite Place To Dive!

I didn’t think I’d be writing a post with this title anytime soon, I thought it’d come after a couple of years but here goes. 

And I know I’ve already done a blog post about diving in Guadeloupe but after doing more diving here I just had to write this one. Anyway, moving on.

I’ve made some pretty bold claims on this blog recently but here comes another. Guadeloupe, specifically the Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, is my favourite place to Scuba Dive. Jacque Cousteau actually said the waters around Pigeon Island, where the reserve is located, are one of the world’s top dive areas. He also encouraged the protection of the reserve after filming for the feature film Le Monde du Silence (The Silent World), which was taken on by Guadeloupe’s authorities.

 OK Jacque? - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

OK Jacque? - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

My favourite dive in the reserve is the Fran Jack Wreck. Sunk in 1996 the Fran Jack is a 90ft Dredger with the majority of it’s equipment still in place. You can get inside the ship if you wish via a purpose cut hole above the engine room, but we have always avoided entering to avoid getting trapped. There is a massive cargo hold that has much easier access and is far safer to enter. I have now done this dive 3 times, the first being when we first visited the reserve at the end of March and the other 2 times being our last visit in early April. The level of growth on the ship is immense, you can really tell it’s been down there 2 decades, and the diversity of the fish that live there is incredible! We have seen all sort of fish there, puffers, French Angelfish, Sergeant Majors, Trumpetfish, Jacks, Chromis and Barracuda to name just a few. 

 French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

One of the dives we did was a small photo mission for myself, CP and Nena so we just swam around the ship looking for good, and funny, pictures. As we were doing our safety stop another group of divers descended past us and their bubbles created this beautiful image in front of our eyes. I grabbed a few pictures and think the one below, which came out best, would make a great background for a mobile phone.

 Bubbles - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

Bubbles - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

Another really good dive site in the reserve is called La Piscine (The Swimming Pool). The range of coral and fish rivals the Fran Jack but in a completely different environment. The site starts off shallow (7m) and slopes down past 30m, but it’s best to stick around 15-25m as thats where the coral is most impressive and where the fish hang around. Here we have seen everything from Parrotfish to Spotted Drums, Pufferfish to Triggerfish and many, many more, some we haven’t seen anywhere else in the Caribbean!

 Yellowtail Snapper - La Piscine, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 11/04/2016

Yellowtail Snapper - La Piscine, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 11/04/2016

Another of my favourite site in the area is the Jadrin Japonaise (Japanese Garden). The site has huge boulders that are covered, and I mean COVERED, in coral. The boulders also provide excellent swim-throughs and crevices to explore, often with fish hiding in the shadows trying not to be disturbed. You can dive anywhere between 1m and 30+ here but, just like The Swimming Pool, the best stuff is around 15m-20m.

 Purple Tube Sponge - Jardin Japonaise, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 09/04/2016

Purple Tube Sponge - Jardin Japonaise, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 09/04/2016

The last site worth mentioning is the Tombant aux Carangues (Falling at Jacks) where you can find a sunken bust of Jacque Cousteau to pose with for an obligatory photo (like the one at the top of this post). The first time we visited we missed this site off due to the amount of current on that side of the island, but on our last visit we made sure to do it. The site starts at about 10m and slopes off nicely to 20m but you can dive further down to, and past, 40m if you wish, although it’s not recommended. Like other sites I’ve mentioned, the best diving is between 10m and 20m. Obviously we made time for pictures with Jacques’ bust. He originally had a hand giving the OK hand signal but it seems to have disappeared, whether is has been stolen, damaged, or just worked itself loose in the currents and drifted off I don’t know. Just like in the Swimming Pool we saw much of the same variety of fish and coral.

 Following The French - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

Following The French - Tombant aux Carangues, Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 12/04/2016

So that concludes this post. Like I said this is my favourite place to Scuba Dive so I do whole heartedly recommend visiting the Jacque Cousteau Underwater Reserve if you are ever in Guadeloupe, even if you don’t Scuba Dive as there is lots to see just by snorkelling and you won’t be disappointed. If you do Scuba Dive then there are plenty of dive centres around that run multiple trips daily, all by my understanding have good reviews and give a great experience.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

If you Scuba Dive where is your favourite place to go? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Diving: Guadeloupe

Our next destination after Dominica was Guadeloupe, another French island. We’d heard and read about the diving in Guadeloupe but didn’t expect it to be the best diving we’d have in the Caribbean! Yes another bold claim but it’s true!

 Sand Diver - Isles D'Saintes 16/03/2016

Sand Diver - Isles D'Saintes 16/03/2016

On our first dive in Isles De Saints we saw an abundance of marine life and coral we hadn’t seen anywhere else! Far too many to list, but one that stood out to me was a very brave and calm Sand Diver that was pitched on a rock. We saw it towards the end of the dive, in shallow water, in a field of rocks.

 Sergent Majors - Isles D'Saintes 16/03/2016

Sergent Majors - Isles D'Saintes 16/03/2016

Our second dive was just round the corner from the first and pretty much followed on as well. Again we saw so much new marine life that it was overwhelming. Towards the end of our dive, again, something stood out to me, this time it was a huge, and I mean HUGE, school of Sergent Majors just swimming merrily around without a care in the world that we were swimming amongst them. These 2 dives alone proved what we had heard and read about diving in Guadeloupe. This was only the start and things just kept getting better and better with each dive we did.

 Parrotfish - Jacque Cousteau Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Parrotfish - Jacque Cousteau Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

The obvious place to dive in Guadeloupe is at the Jacque Cousteau Marine Reserve. There must be about 10-12 dive sites all around a tiny island called Pigeon Island towards the north of Guadeloupe. The first site we did had lots of northernly current which took us around to the other side of Pigeon Island, which wasn't a bad thing because we covered 2 sites in 1 dive and saw lots of everything! I noticed that in the reserve there was a huge population of Parrotfish. Emily, my girlfriend, loves Parrotfish so I was on a mission to get an amazing picture for her. The one you see above was the best I could get. Although they were friendly, if you got too close they’d high-tail it out of your way and under a rock. I succeeded though and Emily loved the picture.

 Shipwreck Selfie - Jacque Cousteau Reserve, Guadeloupe 20/03/2016

Shipwreck Selfie - Jacque Cousteau Reserve, Guadeloupe 20/03/2016

Included in the Marine Reserve was a couple of boat wrecks, one much deeper that the other. We dove the shallower wreck which sat at 25m at it’s deepest point. Myself and Friso were the guinea pigsas we were unsure if it was possible for us to dive the wreck. The dive worked out perfectly and was the best dive I’ve ever done! Yes another bold claim, that’s 2 in one post. We saw an Eel that was probably half a foot thick, a massive French Angel Fish, came face-to-face with a Puffer Fish (we didn’t make it puff don’t worry) and so much more! As I was waiting for Friso to take to pictures of the bridge of the ship I found a steel girder to sit on and took a few selfies, as you do in that situation. We probably swam round the ship 2 or 3 times and for about half an hour before we had to surface. Dad and Ann did the same dive in the afternoon to see what all the fuss was about.

 Tommy Turtle 2 - Jacque Cousteau Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Tommy Turtle 2 - Jacque Cousteau Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Our diving ended with one of the best experiences of my life! We (myself, Ann and Friso) were halfway through our last dive when we came across a super chill Hawksbill Turtle. He swam right up to, past and with us for a good 5 minutes before finding something to eat. We hung around to watch him when another, YES ANOTHER, Hawksbill Turtle came along! That’s 2 Turtles at the same time. They swam around for a bit before going their separate ways, at that point we headed back to where we dropped in to surface and get picked up by dad in the dinghy.

I know I’ve already said it but Guadeloupe was the best diving I’ve ever done and the Jacque Cousteau reserve is the perfect place to go diving because there is something for everyone!

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Have you ever taken a selfie perched on a shipwreck? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob