Fw: Dominica. 24 November 2015.15.34 94N 61.27.87W

David Batten
Sat 28 Nov 2015 16:22
21 November 2015.  We were up at dawn and ready to leave Nanny Cay at 06.30, with help from Kate off Blue Summit, who was up doing her laundry.  Blue Summit is doing the World ARC and Venetia thinks Kate will be very good company for Anthony, as she loves walking, is very fit and is longing for someone to do some serious walking with.  We are a little concerned as Kate is pretty gorgeous, to the extent that the Skipper is thinking of taking up serious walking, so does Venetia really want Anthony to go for long walks with her?  We shall see.
Alcedo in Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola.  Ship’s Boy having to climb aboard.
Happy Hour on the beach, the night before we left.
Looking out to see, from the beach at Nanny Cay
Back to the serious job of doing the 290 odd miles to Dominica in what will be an easterly and therefore hard on the wind.  We made good progress down Drake’s Passage and through the gap between Cooper and Ginger Island.  Setting a course for Saba Island so we made as much easterly progress as possible while the wind had some northerly in it, we had good sailing in the company of a convention of squalls.  They were everywhere, ahead, behind, to windward and to leeward and bringing winds from ENE to ESE.  The Skipper’s wife got a good drenching, too tiresome for photographs, but eventually the squalls gave way to sunshine and we were on course for Saba with sufficient north in the wind to allow us to make decent progress to the east.  We hit our way point for turning south east towards Dominica at about 18.00 and had some very fast sailing just off the wind until we were off St Kitts when the wind was all over the place.  After that, it was good sailing between the Islands, with the wind East or even ENE, then hugely frustrating conditions while passing the islands, with the winds varying between 3 and 20 knots from ENE to SE.  The Ship’s Boy seemed to always be on watch between the Islands, taking over from the Skipper’s wife just as we cleared them, so she enjoyed improving conditions and course, with the Skipper taking over just as we approached the lee of the next Island, so the wind would promptly change leaving him and the Skipper’s wife with engine on/off, reefs in/out and 20 degree course changes.  Grrrrrr!!!!  A disturbed night for all with additional excitements of a huge tanker not under command off Eustatius, cruise ships and gremlins in the engines, which resulted in rather unreliable starting, initially from the starboard engine and then the port engine joined in as well. 
22 November 2015.  A day of more of the same, with Montserrat providing particularly trying conditions, but by 16.00 hrs we were about 25 miles from Dominica and with the promise of supper on the level in the friendly waters of Prince Rupert Bay, we were motor sailing to keep the boat up to windward while passing the Iles Des Saints and then flying along with one reef in the increasing easterly as we sailed between the Saints and Dominica.  By the time we were 10 miles off shore, it was dark and we had 2 reefs and 9 knots of boat speed, with the starboard motor running in case it refused to start when needed.  Just off Dominica, we were hailed by a fast, grey motor boat with no lights, which could have been the coast guard or was it?  Ship’s Boy and Skipper’s wife responded and maybe the female voices reassured them or told them they had the wrong boat and they passed on.  19.40 hours and a catamaran and monohull visible in torchlight and we drop anchor, in time to enjoy a large anchor nip and delicious supper cooked by the Ship’s Boy.
So yesterday we were visited by Lawrence of Arabia’s boys, who took the Skipper to Customs and since then we have been shopping and swimming and working on the boat and enjoying the peace of Dominica, somewhat disturbed by a visit from 2 of the big sailing cruise ships.  This morning we had a very pleasant, if somewhat wet trip up the Indian River with Lawrence himself, but were rewarded with a lovely view of a Purple Throated Carib and, very exciting, 3 or 4 kingfishers, both the ringed and belted, as we came back to the river mouth.
Indian River on the way up, before it started raining.
The hut used in the Pirates of the Caribbean for the witch.
The Purple Throated Carib, sheltering from the rain.
The Ringed Kingfisher in the rain.
Tomorrow, we leave very early for Martinique, where we are hoping to find a soda stream, as we have all agreed, we do like fizzy water with the orange juice, in the whiskey at sea and very important in Sally’s Ricard.