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Date: 06 Feb 2015 01:53:46
Title: Dominica

15:34:9N 061:27:8W

Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica
Thursday 5th February

A Special Meeting
Having gone ashore early on Tuesday to meet Sophie and Vincent, I had left my phone on WD. We waited patiently at the end of the jetty and didn't get the phone call saying where are you? Eventually, Vincent walked from the near by market to the jetty and found us. He got Sophie, and Denis arrived back with my phone. They were given a tour of WD and said nice things about her. Then it was back ashore to a local restaurant, where we eat a la carte at a special lunchtime price. Ti Punch to start...rum, a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of sugar. 'Ti' is short for Petit. So small punch. We had a great meal and chatted and laughed our way through....thank goodness for Sophie and Vincent's great language skills. During lunch we were told the story of the volcano erupting and killing the thirty thousand inhabitants. One survived, he was locked away in the local jail. Later he was to join the US circus Barnams and have a side show exhibiting his scars/burns. After lunch we walked the ruins and visited the museum. We had a wonderful afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed meeting our friends again.

Night Departure
We had eaten well at lunchtime and decided to make the passage to Portsmouth, Dominica overnight. The wind blew most of the way to Dominica and the went to nothing, as we didn't want to arrive until first light we gently motor sailed up the coast, timing our arrival to the minute. During my watch, I was shocked to see an unlit speed boat appear as if from no where and flash by a boat's length from us at a high speed...probably drug running to Martinique. We had read the pilot which explained the poor holding in Prince Rupert Bay and were relieved when we were met by Providence at 0700 to offer us a mooring.

Indian River Trip
Later that day we got the very knowledgeable Providence to take us up Indian River, this was amazing. It is where Columbus and Drake arrived and rowed up yo meet with the local Carib chief and get fresh water. Here we were being rowed up the same river a National Park, so untouched ashore and much the same as would have been for those sailors so long ago. We saw the blood wood trees huge fluted roots, land crabs, humming birds, yellow created heron as well as a huge variety of plants. Providence was an excellent narrator and had an entertaining style. We topped off the trip with a walk and explanation of the difference between Carib roundhouses and African long houses. Then had a Dynamite punch at the Bush Bar. There are 80 rivers in Dominica all providing so much water that they provide stand pipes along the road
For people to help themselves whenever they need it.

Beach BBQ
While using the local Portsmouth Association Of Yacht Security internet, we met Gavin and Georgie fellow Rival owners ( Rival 41C) who invited us over to Margaret  Wroughton at six for punch. Going across we were delighted to see 99bottles the catermaran which was damaged in front of us whilst entering Rabat river. We told them how great it was that they had managed to get across as planned despite the catastrophe. The family had gone home to France and Dad had gone to Portugal and had her repaired. All that and still managed to be in Grand Canaria ready for the ARC 2014. We met with another couple on board Margaret Wrought on and I had the good look around. They recommended an International product called wood skin? which they use on the toe rail with great results, formally a decsoliel product.

We all had a good chat and we left to go to the PAYS beach BBQ. Portsmouth used to be an anchorage where you daren't leave your boat, due to theft. But PAYS was started and they patrol the anchorage and it is now quite safe. The BBQ was to raise funds for the association. We sat on a table with a French crew. Their English and our French were about the same level. But somehow with the rum punch and food it didn't seem to matter. We got on so well, we have been invited aboard their yacht tonight. The skipper and owner of the yacht lives in Guadeloupe and his two crew were from Toulouse, all friends who had sailed together many times.

Syndicate Falls and DuBlanc
This morning we were up ready to go on a explore of Dominica. Us and a family with three young children and a 4 month old baby, were collected from our boats and taken to the shore. Where we met by a rickety old taxi and a jolly driver who took us along to see his Paradise Island. Dominica is known as The Nature Island, as they have a very small population and an unspoilt countryside. We saw cinnamon trees, wild coffee bushes, wild ginger, large leaf thyme, French basil, paw paws, advacado pear, pineapple, grapefruit and dashays? like a potato. We parked up and walked through the rain forest to the Syndicate Falls river, waded along and eventually found a one hundred foot water chute with a deep pool under it. We all went swimming. Only to find out later that there is a one hundred dollar fine if you swim there! Oh well, got away with that then.

We retraced our footsteps met one of the workers from the area who picked and peeled grapefruit with his machete. From the falls we visited DuBlanc a small fishing village, which is very successful at catching fish. The town was as it must have been for years with houses right down to the waters edge, fishing boats pulled up over the large boulders on wooden rollers. A beautiful place. On journey back we stopped at a small bar for lunch, visited the fish market and bought some bread for tomorrow's passage to Les Saints, part of Guadeloupe.


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