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Sailing Letter April 2016

May 6, 2016

April 2016 in the lower Leeward Islands.

We have now spent a whole month on the islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe, and more and more we understand how people can sail for years in the Caribbean archipelago. It is so much to explore.

Dominica have become one of our favorite islands: fantastic nature, nice and friendly people and OK anchorages with sympathetic boat boys. We visited Roseau bot on our way going north and coming south. The moorings, taken care of by “Seacat” and his people, are fine and safe on 20-10 m of water (that’s why you avoid anchoring!). We did a hike with Octavius (Seacat) to the water falls close to Roseau. We walked 3 different paths in the rain/sun, swam in the cave where one of the “The Pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed and tested lime leafs, lemon grass, cocoa- and coffee beans, etc. Octavius was eager to show us everything. One rainy day we took the dinghy to the Champagne reef south of the harbor. We got OK to use one of the divers moorings and as soon as we went under water we were greeted by a fantastic reef with good visibility, lots of fish, nice corals and bubbles (champagne!?) coming from the slightly warmer seabed.

Later in the month, coming down from the north, we anchored in Portsmouth, north Dominica. A beautiful harbor with good holding in 5-7 m of water. Nice friendly village, where we used the book exchange in the PAYS office (the guys that runs the moorings and support the sailors) as well as at the Sandy’s bar. We did a hike on our own to the north of Portsmouth, where we found a sea bar with cold beer and great hospitality: we got invited to taste their private Sunday lunch which was a spicy fish soup. We also hiked the hill with the castle and a lot of ruins. A perfect view over the anchorage! Lots of tree and ground lizards. Around the boat we of course saw the obligatory turtles. The most impressive excursion in Portsmouth was an Indian River tour with Alexios. We started early in the morning, before the heat forced all birds to take shelter, and got a two hour boating tour with a rowing boat. We saw the “witch’s” house from “ The Pirates of the Caribbean”, different kind of herons (white and green back), crabs (spider and “land crabs”), big shoals of fishes since it is a natural reserve and a lot of “green stuff”. Our guide was able to identify most and also tell us about how it was before and how it was used. He was brought up in the forest. He even managed to show me (Eva) the red seed that is so useful for making bracelets. Fantastic…I now have enough for a couple of ear rings.

One night we were invited to a wedding party with Pot Luck. An English couple got married upstream Indian River, with a party on the beach afterwards. All yachties were invited. We had a very inspiring evening, where Peter’s fish burgers and Eva’s potato salad was a success. A bit of aching muscles after dancing in the sand until 23.00 in the evening…

We love Dominica. The hospitality is great, cars stop on the road to ask if we are OK, do we need something, do we enjoy Dominica. Imagine that happening in Sweden….

North from Dominica is Guadeloupe. We visited the Il de Saints (Terre d’en Haut), Guadeloupe mainland and Marie Galante. Il the Saints are sandy/hilly islands where you can anchor or utilize one of the moorings. The islands are not big, rather touristic, but nice. One thing that we will forever remember is a fantastic experience regarding fauna. In Martinique we heard something we thought was electronic equipment to remove birds from restaurants. Entering a nice restaurant in Il the Saints we heard the same noise and asked the waiter to either turn it off or move us to another table. Imagine our surprise when he said that he could gladly move us to another table but the TREE FROGS were small and difficult to move (smile). Now knowing what we heard, the noise was not only OK, but very pleasant. We understand that now is the time for these frogs to evaluate a partner, and we hear them on most of the islands. By the way: the restaurant was named Tree Frog……

From The Saints we sailed to the north west of Guadeloupe, to Deshaies. Caught a Barracuda and a small Tuna. We found a good anchorage where we had to watch up for all the turtles when dropping anchor. We did a hike up to a resort on one of the highest hills overlooking the bay. (Peter found out on the net that a room cost about 400 EU per night..)

This is the point where we turned south again (this year). We made a stop at the Pidgin Islands, one of Cousteau’s waterparks. For 2 days we snorkeled both close to our boat and on the Islands. Lots of turtles and nice corals. Unfortunately the last day we saw plenty of algal bloom, making the visibility bad. El Niño? Water temperature is around 30-31 degrees which is higher than normal.

Main harbor/marina of Guadeloupe is Pointe-â-Pitre. Huge marina, nice market in town but the town did not appeal to us in a major way. We stayed for some days, enjoying some bars at the sea front and making a survey of the hull. Got the positive sign off that it was not osmosis coming back, but some problems between the epoxy and the antifouling paint/epoxy that was the problem creating blisters. Leaving the marina, the weather was calm and we had the possibility to sail/motor to Marie Galante. A sandy island with a perfect anchorage. 4 meters deep, very big and with sand and grass. We stayed for 2 nights, walking the main street up and down and enjoying a very nice fish lunch at one of the restaurants. All in all we enjoyed all anchorages outside the main marina in Guadeloupe, but for now Dominica gets first price.

Nature

At anchor, we enjoy the Frigate birds and all turtles. An interesting moment is when we are hoisting the dinghy every evening. Our light at the davits is attracting a lot of different fishes. We see small fishes/animals like krill, flying fish and lazy trumpet fish. One fish with a snout is very aggressive and we almost caught one in our dinghy the other day.

The season for Lobsters is now over and the last catch we got was in Portsmouth. 12 EU for a kilo. 5 small Lobsters. Peter made a fabulous dinner out of them.

Now we are in Martinique for some maintenance and picking up post and then we will move to St Lucia and further to the ABC islands. At least that’s the plan right now.

Until next time,

BR, Eva & Peter

From → Sailing Letters

One Comment
  1. amazing pics and plc

    Like

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