If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Wed 24 Jan 2007 20:38

21 January 2007, Sunday


Well, I left and things were going well until noon when the wind went decidedly flukey.  Mountainous landscape meant no wind or lots of wind, but apart from half hour when I put the engine on it was a reasonable sail to the top of the island.  Then we got to the open sea between the two islands and the wind was 15-20 knots plus and the waves were quite big and rough with a strong current across.

Something passed me, I am going to guess at maybe a cow, very dead and ghostly.  It was a good sail until I got the the bottom of Dominica when it was already dark and the wind dropped off again, so I motored for 3 hours. 


22 January 2007, Monday


At 2am the wind picked up and was back to 15-20 so I sailed again.  3.30 the wind was too close to my course and so I put the motor on.  The wind was gusting 23-26 knots, but no good against me.  I got to Portsmouth just as it was getting light. Coastal sailing is very hard as I have to stay very awake the whole time.  I do have my clockwork kitchen timer which I set for 15 minutes, but very rarely was I sitting down when it went off.  It would have been so easy to go to sleep, but so dangerous, even for a short time.  All I wanted to do was collapse and have a rest. 


I anchored the first time near the beach, but it did not hold.  It is difficult when the wind catches the bow and then I just go sideways.  I moved back and over to the side so that I was not near any other boats and tried again; this time I thought it had held.  Boat boys greet you, offering you assistance, trips, fruit.  I know they are trying to make a living but by the time the third one had got me up I was barely able to be polite.  The only thing I wanted was to be left to sleep, come back later.  I got up 3 hours of interrupted sleep later.  I got the dinghy off and even put the outboard on and then realised that I had dragged.  By this time lots of boats had left and others had come so I drove round and round until I found a nice space and the wind was reasonable and I anchored.  Obviously the wind then dropped, I am not paranoid, it is definitely a conspiracy. 


I set off for customs.  I stopped at Kestrel, one of the boats that were on the radio when I was coming across.  I felt as though I knew these boats, so I stopped to say hello.  He said I could probably skip customs and nobody would bother.  It was a very long way across the bay to the port, but I was all ready and had the motor so I carried on.  Half way my motor died, I gave up and started to row back.   I was a few boats away and one of the boat boys gave me a tow back to the boat, so I felt I should go with him to Customs.  I would never have made it under oars.  We picked up some Danish Sunsail customers who needed to check in.  The blue pen, red pen, process was very much in force.  The Danish people did not realise and had their form taken away and had to start again because they had used the wrong colour pen.  Their english was very good, but they struggled with the how many stowaways question.  Immigration was in town, but it was optional, so we opted out.  I will just have to live without a Dominica stamp in my passport.  Then back to the boat.  The guy wanted to help with my outboard, but I think it is water in the fuel or the throttle cable.  Just leave it for now.   It was nearly dark by now and I needed an early night.


23 January 2007, Tuesday


Went with the 8 Danish on an island tour.  It is a beautiful island, 11 volcanoes, 7 of them active.  The coastline is very dramatic and not much of it is boat friendly, certainly not the Atlantic coast.  We went to see where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3.  I have not seen 2, I will have to get it to check.  Did they really film 3 at the same time?  Very mountainous, but hardly any surface is not covered by something growing, very green.  It was all day.  It is quite similar to New Zealand.  I wanted to see the world famous boiling lake and we went to the site, but it is a difficult hike to the lake, 3 hours each way.  Wrong shoes - maybe tomorrow.


I did see a black pelican and some small lizards.


Found the local radio station, tonight it is Francofun, an hour of fun learning french and then a Country and Western programme which was just what I needed as I had terrible stomach ache.


24 January 2007, Wednesday


Had a seriously bad night, this is usually an allergic reaction and I can only think of the coconut I had while I was out.  I have two more on the boat, but I may try to turn them into drinking cups rather than dare eat them.  There is nothing to be done except wait for it to wear off.


I also had to get up to see what was going on in the early hours.  A catamarran came in front of me and must have dragged because they were putting out fenders and the other boat was pushing them off.  Then they got their engine on and took themselves off to pretty much where I did, out of the way.  When it was light they moved down to the beach, but had gone by this afternoon.


So many boats come and go, lots of them do not bother to check in.  I really struggle when I see boats leave, I want to go too.  I must have watched a dozen go after it got light.


I was going to leave this morning, but I still had to put the dinghy away and it cannot be a good idea if I am suddenly in agony.  I ran the watermaker for an hour, had a shower and did the washing.  8.30 The boat guy came to see if I wanted to do the indian river trip, I wasn t going to, but I decided to go.  An Italian couple, passengers on a charter yacht from Martinique came.  We picked up an American couple, but had to return them to their yacht as they were going on the island tour – I did think they were very well equiped for an hour up the river.  It was different and rather nice being paddled quietly up the river with mangroves and vines.  There were big fish and crabs and small lizards and I did see one parrot. 


All Dominica has is agriculture and eco-tourism, so I stocked up with fruit and did the tours, my bit to support Dominica.  Then it was time to eat.  I had yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and gravy that had been on the menu, but postponed since at least Saturday.  The boat guy came by to give me three oranges, I think he just wanted a chat, perhaps I paid him too much.  He says there is music tonight on the beach, he could pick me up, but it doesn t start until 9 or 10 and I do not want a late night, I really do intend to leave tomorrow.  I do not feel that sociable yet to go out in the evening.  There are two cruisers in, one on the berth and one waiting.  They all get bussed off for tours and then off they go, next island. 


I had trouble getting the outboard off the dinghy and on to the boat.  The arms on the seat now mean there is not room for me and the outboard on one side of the back.  I knew I had to concentrate and be very careful and then the spare rope caught in the wind generator again.  I don t seem to be able to pull the engine up by the rope anyway, so I must not take it back to the stern again, the wind generator will not tolerate much more abuse.