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Pointe-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

12th February, 2013

Guadeloupe, just like Martinique, is an overseas region of France and therefore part of the European Union. It uses the Euro and flies the Tricolour as its national flag.

Christopher Columbus was, again, the first European to land on the island. He named the island Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura after the image of the Virgin Mary in Guadalupe, Extremadura in Spain.

A bit of a mouthful for such a small island, so inevitably it was shortened, much to the delight of cartographers and chart makers who could then actually fit its name on the landmass of their maps and charts.

Columbus is also credited with discovering the pineapple on the island which he called pina de Indias or pine of the Indians.

We arrived at the pilot station at the slightly later time of 8am and proceeded to make our way through the buoyed channel up towards the city of Pointe-A-Pitre.

Turning and then manoeuvring alongside we made fast the ships lines ready for our passengers to proceed ashore. From the bridge we could see over the red roofs sat atop white colonial buildings, towards the main streets where people were preparing for Mardi Gras.

Mardis Gras (literally fat Tuesday in French), which we refer to as carnival time, ends with a colourful parade on Shrove Tuesday (today). All over the Caribbean as well as many other parts of the world similar colourful celebrations would be taking place.

The clamour of steel drums and various percussion instruments of the Mardi Gras could be heard from the ship all day and would no doubt provide our passengers with an interesting spectacle.

This would be our last Caribbean port this cruise, so the colour and noise was a fitting end before we commenced our six and a half day passage across the Atlantic towards the Azores.

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