Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 27 Feb 2009 02:35
It was up early today to leave St Pierre and head across another open-water gap to cross from Martinique to Dominica. The winds were lighter, but we still headed off with 2 reefs in the main and a well rolled genoa, just in case! The winds can whistle round the ends of the islands - wind acceleration zones. Once clear of Martinique we were able to unroll some of the genoa to increase sail. As with the passage to Martinique, we were heading west of north so the wind was just ahead of the beam, but the seas had reduced overnight with the wind and it was a quieter crossing. Dominica is quite long and we ran out of wind half way up, having to motor the last 3 hours to reach Portsmouth in the North West corner. The total passage was 55 miles and we arrived at about 4pm, anchoring off the town in Prince Rupert's Bay. It's a large bay with plenty of room to anchor, but as we expected, with the French Islands on strike there were loads of boats there and we anchored a long way from the shore.
It is quite a landmark for us as we have sailed from Portsmouth (UK) to Portsmouth (Dominica).
Dominica is ex British and has very little development - they say that if Columbus came back today, Dominica is the only island he would recognise. It is very poor and ships that had been washed up on the shore by hurricanes are left to rust away (some we remember from 13 years ago) - there is no money to remove them. The locals in their colourful boats are out to make money by running water taxis, taking yachties on tours of the island, selling fruit and veg, providing laundry services. Our target is to get to Antigua to pick up spares for the wind generator and sort out the problems with it, so we are only staying a night and will be on our way again in the morning.
As the sun went down we were treated to a fantastic red sky.

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