Roseau and Portsmouth, Dominica. 15:32.7N 61:27.6W
Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sat 6 Feb 2016 21:17
Well we got away early 0700 and motored up the side of Martinique until we picked up the clear wind and then had a lovely fast passage to Scott’s Head at the SW tip of Dominica. This area around Soufriere Bay is a marine park and no anchoring is allowed except for the registered dive boats so the first anchorage is at Roseau, there you have a mile long anchorage but it is quite a narrow strip of shallow water before it drops to around 20 metres and more. There are some mooring buoys available and we called up Dominica Marine Service's to ask for one and were answered by ‘Marcus’. Marcus is the night security patrol and general help and came out to put us on the only mooring available, having warned us that it had not been serviced so he couldn't guarantee how secure it was. He collected the payment ‘and a bit for his help’.
This was a really handy position within easy walking distance of the town and with a café, fuel station, shop, chandlery and bakers right by the jetty. We walked into town and cleared customs at the ferry dock. After the normal quadruplet forms and payment of about 10EC$ we were cleared in and out so long as left the island within 14 days, this is really handy as it saves time when we do leave. While we were in customs it rained, and I mean rained. Real tropical downpour for about an hour. (When we got back to the dinghy it had about 2” of water in it). A hurricane hit this area last year and they are still recovering, buildings are being repaired or left to fall down. It is a town of real contrast. The office of the President and the High Court being good examples (pictured below). Everybody we have met has been pleasant and helpful and I believe really pleased that you were visiting their country. We were even greeted by schoolgirls in the park wanting to know how we were enjoying Dominica (probably a dare!).
Back in the Café we met Ken and Katie, Americans who set out from west coast America and have sailed down to Honolulu, then up to Asia before shipping their yacht to the Med and continuing on to cross the Atlantic. They were on the other mooring buoy in their 32ft Yawl. They gave us a copy of Doyle's Cruising Guide to the Windward Islands which inspired us to then buy the guide to the Leeward Islands, as they are really full of useful information.
Another two days were spent in Roseau exploring the town and visiting the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately the nights were a bit spoiled by music. Very loud and repetitive. The first night it stopped at 2am, the second night 3am and then last night it didn't stop till 7.00 this morning.
Since yesterday afternoon we have had strong winds blowing through the area, up to 40knots, and as we had been warned that the mooring we were on hadn't been serviced we prepared Serenity for a quick departure and took it in turns to sit up as anchor watch through the night.
This morning the forecast was for the wind to ease this afternoon but then blow up again tonight. We decided to move up to Portsmouth at the top of the island where the bay might have a bit more shelter and possibly better moorings so had a great sail with just a scrap of headsail. Unfortunately everyone else has had the same idea so there are no spare moorings, but we are anchored with two anchors with supposedly good holding and all seems well this evening.
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