Dominica and Dominica to Les Saintes , Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 December 2013. 15.52.44N 61.35.95W

David Batten
Wed 1 Jan 2014 01:12
It rained again during the night, but we were lucky with the weather this morning and arrived in the market only slightly later than planned, i.e. 07.15.  Mostly women doing the selling and, as we discovered, you still have to be wary of sharp practice by one of the younger men.  The sting is you stand by a stall and pretend to be one of the sellers,  you “sell” some oranges and then say you were asking for money to borrow while the real stall holder tells you to go away because you have “stolen the lady’s money”.  You claim to be honest, which you are clearly not and nor, presumably is the stall holder who allows you to do it.  However, as the cost to us is 2 EC dollars we put it down to experience and resolve not to be such suckers next time!
After buying essential stores like avocados and oranges for the rum punch, we whiz back to the boat to meet Martin, who has already said hallo to us in the market, for the Indian River Tour.  The river is beautiful, calm, quiet and alive with birds.  We see humming birds, Green Herons, the Ringed Kingfisher and Banaquits and hear many more.  The pictures below might give an impression of this very special place where outboards are not allowed and nature is revered.
blogEarly Morning on Indian River
Early morning and we have the river to ourselves.
blogNo Outboards on the Indian River, so Martin Rows
No Outboards allowed, so Martin rows.
blogGreen Heron, adult
Green Herons can be seen on most stretches of the lower river
blogRinged Kingfisher
As can the Ringed Kingfisher
blogMartin explaining about the remains of the railway
Some chunks of metal and a stone supports on either side are all that is left of the old railway built by the English for transporting Teak and Mahogany from the forests to the sea.
blogPerfect Peace
Perfect peace as the river narrows.
blogUp River, by Foot
We eventually continue on foot until it is just a stream.
blogMade by Martin For Skipper's Wife
A gift from the river, made by Martin on the way back.
After the river tour, we learn more about Dominica from Martin and then it is a day of swimming, siesta and exploring.  The National Park at Cabrits has well marked trails and we had a very pleasant evening walk, arriving back at the dinghy at dusk with the tree frogs in fine voice and the crickets tuning up.
blogGreat Parking Spot!
On the road to the Cabrits National Park, some parking!
blogRuins in the Cabrits National Park1
Ruins of part of the old fort, where nature is taking over again.
blogRestored Gun Point at Fort Shirley
Part of the restored ramparts at Shirley Fort, where a wedding reception was being held the evening we were there.
blogView of Prince Rupert Bay from Fort Shirley
View of Prince Rupert Bay from Shirley Fort.
blogBlack Faced Grassquit, male
Black Faced Grass Quit, very busy in the Fort garden.
We had a disturbed night of sharp showers, so hatches open, hatches closed and the sound of water running off the Bimini.  Another 5 litres was collected in about 10 minutes in the morning.  As the morning was not very promising and Martin came to tell us the barbecue would not happen because there were not enough yachts, we decided to press on towards Antigua. We said goodbye but promised to be back in about a fortnight.  We up anchored and after saying hallo to Vamos, an Oyster 625 that was also on the ARC, who had anchored behind us, we set sail for Les Iles Des Saintes.  Needless to say, 2 reefs in the main and a couple of rolls in the genoa and a brisk 9+ knots in quite rough seas brought us to the entrance of this pretty and popular group of islands.  We decided on the anchorage off Iles a Cabrit, as the main anchorage off Bourg Des Saintes was very crowded.  We had to anchor in 19 meters plus, but the anchor seemed to hold well and we settled quite close to Aurora, a Catana 58 that was also on the ARC and that we had seen at Saint Pierre.  After a good swim and late lunch, it started raining again, so time to catch up with the blog and do some domestics.