Our last full day on Guadeloupe we spent snorkeling around Pigeon Island in the Cousteau Reserve in the National Park. It was wonderful seeing the fish and swimming through large schools of them. Having them all around you was incredible– so many different colors and types, varying in size, some solitary, others very much part of a group. You can see some of the kinds of fish we saw below. The parrot fish were my favorite, for their lovely coloring.
This excursion was a definite highlight of the trip for me. We went out on a boat with scuba divers, and they even put me in a wet suit– my first time in one. As marvelous as seeing all this was, it was sad too that you’ll now only find this wildlife in monitored and protected preserves, where the coral is fighting to barely make a comeback.
The next day, we visited the fort in the morning, before our afternoon flight home. This fort was involved in the seven years war between the French and the English. The English occupation ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris, in which the French relinquished claims to Canada in order to gain Guadeloupe. (Did you know that? I didn’t.) Since Guadeloupe was the most prosperous island in the French West Indies, England still wanted it, so they invaded again between 1810 and 1816. After that, the Treaty of Vienna restored the island to France, which has maintained control over it since.
After a smooth flight home, with the very same people in the plane we flew there with a week earlier, I arrived back to snow! What a contrast! Since vegetables were so very rare on Guadeloupe–the only ones they have are shipped in from France– I was lusting for salad, so my husband took me out to a delicious vegetarian dinner on the way home. In Connecticut, somehow, Christmas decorations don’t seem as out of place as they do in the tropics, and it sure is a luxury to have traffic lights again.
I’m so very grateful for this wonderful time, for the invite and the gift of the ticket from our daughter, and to have had such special time with her. It was great too to have the unexpected opportunity to explore a place I knew nothing about and never thought I’d visit. Traveling always gives a broader perspective I find truly valuable, but it’s also nice to be home!