Roseau, Dominica,.9 March
We had a long but comfortable day
cruising up the west coast of Martinique, including a stop for lunch and a
snorkel in Anse Chaudiere. We anchored near the jetty at St Pierre, managed a
quick run ashore only to find the supermarket was virtually empty. The anchorage was pretty rolly and we
didn’t get a lot of sleep. As we
left in the morning a catamaran anchored nearer the shore than us was in danger
of getting swept ashore by an increasing swell. We were glad to leave and escape. After just over an hour we reached the
top of the island to find 25 knots of NNE wind and a big swell – I decided to
abort and return all the way to the capital, Fort de France. It’s always frustrating to be going away
from your destination when time is getting short, but there were few
alternatives. We arrived in the
middle of a protest march or Political rally (difficult to tell which) but found
a comfortable anchorage just off the jetty, However, the town was dead,
vegetable shopping was financially traumatic (for a Cornishman and a Kentish
Maid) and the place had very little going for it. We bumped (almost literally) into
Franc, the French Police motorcyclist we met in St. Lucia, as he had
anchored about a boat length in front of us (plonker), and he didn’t recommend
going ashore at night because of the problems. The French Islands appear to be out of
action this year.
Away early the next morning (6.40h) for the long haul up
the west coast and hopefully over to Dominica. Another lively sail, but our new victims
stuck it out until we made it to Roseau on Dominica after about nine hours. We were helped to an anchoring position
off Dominica Marine Centre by a boat boy and had a very brief run ashore to
check it out – not too developed.
As the cruising guide says, if Columbus returned to the Caribbean,
Dominica would be the only island he would recognize. The cruising guide uses a certain amount
of poetic licence when describing some of the places and islands, most are
definitely third world, with little maintenance of buildings or public
land. The people though are
generally welcoming in the poorer areas, and I don’t think any of us have felt
threatened when we wander through dodgy neighbourhoods.
Monday 9 March,
we planned a day off on Dominica, partly because the wind direction was poor for
heading North, but mainly because we had two Birthdays, both Paula and Pete
reached major milestones. I won’t
mention a lady’s age, but Pete was looking forward to some cheap bus
travel. Presents and cards were
received before breakfast as the Cruise ships came alongside the dock and
spilled their rich ‘contents’ onto Dominica for the day – it’s always more
difficult to be a budget tourist when the cruise liners are in, as all the taxi
drivers and shops think we are from the ship. However, for the local economies on
these islands it’s a necessary evil. I just wonder what cruise passengers
think of some of the places where they disembark – pretty grim is an
We envisaged the big fry-ups they were having onboard the
Liner, and just for a laugh I radioed them to say we had two Birthdays on
Whitemeadow and could they manage an extra 5 people for breakfast. We did get a response and were told to
check with security at the dockside.
We wandered down to the ship but couldn’t bluff our way through to talk
to the ship’s security officers; oh well, worth a try. After clearing customs ourselves, we had
breakfast at a local café and then went to shop for provisions. Paula, Pete and I bussed to Soufriere at
the southern end of the island and stretched our legs. In the evening we all ate out in
Birthday style at the Fort Young Hotel, where we had a 3 course buffet for 87.50
EC (about £25) each. We naturally
assumed buffet meant ‘all you can eat’, so we did! Some of it was less than perfect (e.g.
the mushroom soup was abandoned by the three that tried it) but generally we had
a good feast in pleasant surroundings.
The next day it
was time to move on, but not before trying to bus to Trafalgar Falls and Sulphur
Springs while Ben and Charlie made their way North by bus with an arrangement to
meet at the Purple Turtle in Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth in the evening. We made it to the falls, had a swim and
returned to the boat in good time.
Coming alongside a rather shaky jetty for fuel and water was slightly
tricky, but all had gone smoothly until we were filling with water and diesel on
the same side of the boat. The
water fills faster than diesel and the inevitable happened, some water ran back
along the side decks and into the fuel tank. How much was debatable, but water in a
diesel tank can be disastrously expensive if it gets to the injector pump and
engine. The Skipper was not a happy
bunny. There was no simple answer,
and no time to spare, so we set off and prayed we could at least reach
Portsmouth safely. Still on the
steep learning curve, although I feel I’m sliding back down the curve at the
moment after a catalogue of basic errors and mishaps.
We picked up Ben and
Charlie successfully apart from the outboard failing to go into gear, so Ben had
a long row back to the boat. Not
the best of days, let’s hope tomorrow is better as we head up to the Saintes,
the small French Islands south of Guadeloupe, which everyone says are worth
Pics: Birthday girl
still in night attire, but wearing one of her presents (check out the left
wrist). Sorry Pete pics of you were rather dark.
Dominica. Phil and Pete swimming in the falls.
Road building in
Soufriere - would you fancy this job? Local flora.