Monday, March 13, 2006

Going West Again

We arrived in Des Saintes as planned and found a beautiful group of islands. Unfortunately, so had half the boats in the world so it wasn't quite the secluded paradise we had hoped for but nevertheless had a nice time exploring the main town (about the size of a small village in the UK). It was really very 'French' we almost felt like we had left the Caribbean if it wasn't for the weather. The place was so busy we decided to leave earlier than planned and head to Dominica just 20 miles away. We arrived in Dominica early evening on 6 March. We were a bit nervous as the books we have say to be wary of 'boat boys' and crime in Dominica. As we approached the anchorage a small fishing boat zoomed towards us and we agreed our strategy. We were greeted by a chap with a big smile who just said 'welcome to Dominica my name's David and if you need anything while you are here just call me on the VHF' then off he zoomed - we were really pleasantly surprised. We spent a lovely night in Prince Rupert bay, before heading further south as we wanted to leave the boat on a buoy and explore ashore. We arrived in Roseau, the capital of Dominica and met Pancho (also known as Poncho, Pinko, Panko on R2). Pancho found us a buoy and took us to clear in his very fast boat as the customs dock was a fair way away. We then went to explore Roseau a little, before Pancho picked us up and whizzed us back. Roseau was a little poorer than other towns we have seen but the people were just lovely and all said good afternoon to us, we met a couple of great guys who were building chairs and they chatted to us for ages. The next day we got on our hiking boots and ventured inland. We tried to get a bus to some waterfalls but unfortunately a cruise ship was in so all the buses had become taxi's for the day. So we decided to walk and see if we could find a bus, we met more lovely people as we walked and were stopped by Julius who offered us a lift, after a bit of bartering we agreed a price and off we went. We are not sure what Julius was supposed to be doing that day but in the end he took us on a tour and we paid him about the equivalent of 20 GBP for the day. We went to the amazing Trafalgar Falls which are two falls, one hot and one cold. We found the spot where they meet down stream a little and swam in a pool that was hot on one side and cold on the other - really amazing. We then headed to the mountains to a huge fresh water lake, where we hiked and saw amazing birds, plants and trees. Julius hiked with us but he really was not expecting us to want to go quite so far and it really was very hot - poor chap! Dominica was really out of this world, by far the most beautiful island we have seen, really lush and green with mountains and valleys that take your breath away (as did the roads). But no time to stop as we were off to Martinique to meet our lovely friends Talara & Bob on Imaginess. We had an early start and then great sail down to Fort de France, the capital of Martinique, where they were anchored and pulled in just after lunch. It was great to catch up with them and we hung out together for a few days in a very swirly, rolly anchorage. Last night we said our goodbyes and this-morning they headed north and we are heading west again. We are sailing in the direction of Bonnaire which is in the south west Carribean, part of the Netherlands Antilles. The passage should take about 4 days so we hope to arrive for the weekend all being well. At the moment it's all a bit rolly and we are having to find our sea legs again, it is strange to be out of sight of land once again. Hopefully we'll do better on the fishing front on this trip as I'm still waiting for that Tuna.

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