Dominica to Martinique. 14:30.2N, 61:05.2W
Dominica has more rainfall than a lot of other Caribbean islands, and we felt it on Wednesday, when it poured most of the day, so we stayed on ‘Serenity’ and tried to catch some of it to refill our tanks. The technique needs some work yet, but we did see the most amazing rainbow.
On Thursday we were collected from the boat by one of the taxis and taken ashore for a half day tour of the northern part of the island. Firstly we were taken to Syndicate Falls, a 20 minute walk from the road in the forest below the highest mountain, Morne Diablotin. This whole area is cultivated, with mixed plantations hiding in the forest. There were fruit trees growing alongside the roads and paths, and we saw coffee, cocoa, nutmeg and vanilla, as well as root crops, sweetcorn, and beans. At one point we came across massive polytunnels growing tomatoes and other salad vegetables. We were given a cane of sugar by a man cutting back vegetation from the footpaths and our guide picked us a huge bunch of fresh herbs and some starfruit. On the way back down we passed one of the farmers, and our driver stopped him with the result that we also came away with 5 pink grapefruit picked straight from the tree.
Titus gives us a lift ashore
Phil with our gift of sugar cane
Plantations amoung the forest
The footpath to the waterfall with plantations either side
Polytunnels under the mountains
Looking towards Morne Diablotin
After the falls we were taken to the Atlantic coast, where we saw the ruins of a sugar mill that we are told was used for one of the scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean. You could still see the Glaswegian makers mark underneath the rust on the equipment. And finally we visited a cocoa plantation where there was a cottage industry making chocolate. Sarah bought a bar flavoured with spices before we left.
At the sugar mill
The Atlantic coast
The cocoa factory – and a traveller palm in their gardens
On Thursday evening the guide association who look after the moorings had a fundraising barbeque so we went along and enjoyed their rum punch and the company of some other visiting sailors.
We were up early on Friday for the passage to Martinique. It is about 20 miles down the coast of Dominica from Portsmouth and then a further 30 miles across the passage to St Pierre, the first available anchorage on Martinique. The weather down the lee of the island was a fairly typical mix of conditions and we were constantly changing the amount of sail we had up, or starting the engine to keep moving. But once we cleared the south coast of Dominica the wind set in from the east and we enjoyed a close reach averaging about 6 – 6.5 knots.
Dominica showing its sunny side
It was quite early when we reached the coast of Martinique, so we decided not to stop at St Pierre, but to continue to Grande Anse d’Arlet – a further 15 miles. The wind let us down, and we ended up motoring and arriving after dark. When last we visited here there were numerous mooring bouys, so we spent some time motoring between the yachts we could see looking for a vacant mooring, but eventually decided to anchor. This morning we can see that there are no moorings anywhere. Maybe there are only put out for the high season, but we could have been anchored an hour earlier if we had known! This is a pretty bay, and worth a longer visit some time.
Grande Anse d’Arlet