Fort Napoléon des Saintes

At this point in our cruising career, we have seen more than a few forts. However, old forts never get old for me. They are just something so alien and strange to me. This building was constructed when? Then I walk around in aww looking at buildings constructed before the first European ever came to the Edmonton area (city we are from, for those that don’t know). So when the Sophie crew told me that there is a nice fort on Terre-de-Haut Island here in “the saints”, I was game.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect, but was delighted to see one of the best preserved forts we have ever encountered. As we walked around and read the plaques (mostly in French) it became apparent why it was in such good shape. The original fort structure was destroyed by the British forces in 1809 and this current structure was rebuilt in 1867. That is barely “teenage” status in “fort years”.  Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

The kid pack for this adventure!



The fort is completely surrounded by a dry moat. Its not evident in this picture but the moat is about 6m deep. The walls are double the height of the moat. A pretty formidable obstacle considering there would be men on the ramparts with muskets! 


Practicing to be Vanna!


Once inside the fort, its striking what great shape its in. The inner building looks amazing for sitting in the Caribbean salt air for almost 200 years!



Up on the ramparts looking back into the main courtyard.



This picture is not zoomed at all. This little fella let me put the camera like 6 inches from him.


1800s French cannon range was about 1km. Essentially, they could have hit any boat in the bay!



The kids always love it when they get to sit on a cannon (technically a mortar)



Oh ho ho… Sneaky French buggers.. Tried to pass a British cannon off as one of yours. The broad arrow is a British Government ownership mark. However its a possibility that this mortar was actually captured from a British ship.


I’m not sure why this cannon is laying in the grass here. Its in much better shape than the one at the front gates. This is an actual French cannon.


Alright, moving inside the main building. It looks amazing. However, I always notice the wear pattern on the floor stones. It makes you wonder home many people have walked there to actually wear down the stones! Stairs are cool too, since they are worn in the middle, with the outsides looking like new!


I absolutely loved this room. I’m not sure if it was the the actual kitchen, or just the bakery.


This island has absolutely no fresh water sources. Rain water was collected and fed to a cistern under the kitchen.


The next 3 pictures I found also interesting. If you ever wondered what was under the decks of those big “warships”.



The powder barrels were stored in the ballast.


Ok, one last shot of the bay as we walked back down. I always love elevated pictures of our boat in a bay as it shows how she is just the little girl of the cats.


Îles des Saintes is really a stunning place. This is the main town on Terre-de-Haut island, but that is just a small portion of “The Saints”. You could literally spend weeks here. Unfortunately the $10 euro nightly mooring fee gets expensive after a while ($10 for our boat since we are under 40ft, $13 for boats over 40ft, $15 for boats over $50).


No blog post of Terre-de-Haut island would be complete without a picture of the “Ship house”. No that is not a real boat. Someone built a house to look just like a ship coming out of the land!


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