Iles Des Saintes and Dominica

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Tue 22 Nov 2016 15:00

Our sail from Riviere Sens to the Saintes was much like the last time we made that passage in May:  there was too much south in the wind for us to point directly to the islands and we were keeping an eye on the squalls coming across the south end of Guadeloupe.  We had to reef in 20+ knots of wind as we approached, and Phil had great fun tacking up between Ilet a Cabrit and Terre de Haut in the pouring rain (really – he enjoyed it – despite rain running down his neck!).


We spent one night by the town, visiting the Couleurs du Monde bar for a welcome drink, then we moved to the quieter moorings at Pain a Sucre for a couple of nights and some swimming and snorkelling.  The snorkelling wasn’t brilliant, but we saw what Phil identified as a Spotted Snake Eel.  Our last night in the Saintes was spent of Ilet a Cabrit in company with half a dozen huge charter catamarans, but even the noisiest went to bed at a reasonable time.


Couleur du Monde Bar, Terre de Haut


Sunset in the Saintes


The sail south to Dominica was another good passage despite variable wind speed and direction.  At one point, we were reefing the Genoa (again) and we were buzzed by a helicopter which came up low and close astern of us.  We were later told that it might have been customs on the look out for drug smugglers – we couldn’t have looked suspicious as they didn’t come back. When we got to Prince Rupert Sound we were met by Uncle Sam (one of the group of yacht service and tour guides who look after moorings and maintain security in the bay) who showed us a mooring close to the town of Portsmouth and helped us tie up.  Then Titus, from the same group, gave Phil a lift to clear customs.


Dominica looking dark and brooding under the rain squalls


Taxi ride Prince Rupert Bay style


A great effort has been made in Portsmouth to improve the moorings and they now appear to have all new bouys and pickups, which is really reassuring as you sit on your boat feeling the katabatic gusts coming off the hills.


We had a couple of beers in Sandy’s Bar, and used their WiFi, and were accosted by a local who drew and sold us a welcome to Dominica card, along with a cheap wooden necklace for Sarah.  As the bar owner said, at least he is trying to offer a service, rather than begging.


Sandy’s Bar


Today we had a walk around town, which had a lot more shops open than last time we visited (during Carnival) and visited the Cabrits National Park.  This is two hills at the north end of Prince Rupert Bay, which the English fortified, with a bit of help from the French during their 5 year occupation of the island.


Not sure what this building is going to be?


Looking along the north coast of Dominica from Cabrits

View across Prince Rupert Bay from Fort Shirley in Cabrits