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Little Green Boat
Spruce left New Zealand at the end of May 2014. We had a wonderful time in NZ, Fiji and Vanuatu We are now in New Caledonia and will move on to Australia in early November 2014.
Les Saintes - Back in France!
Sue & Andy Warman
17/Mar/2010, Bourg - Terre de Haut - Les Saintes

Twenty-one Miles and we have flipped from independent East Caribbean Dominica to French West Indies and Les Saintes, under the jurisdiction of much larger Guadeloupe whose impressive volcanic landscape lies just to the North. These islands are a popular day-trip destination for folk who holiday in the big island.

The first noticeable feature of lying to anchor here is the breeze. Dominica rarely had a decent breeze through the day. Although not so good for generating wind power it also exacerabated an already hot and humid climate, this is much fresher.

The island group comprises four main islands with a few scattered islets. The largest and most populated island is Terre de Haut. The initial impression of the archipelago is rather like the channel islands near Guernsey, but as one draws closer the dry climate becomes apparent. Quite a contrast to the recent rain forest experiences. The volcanic past of the region is clear from some of the rock formations. The photograph shows part of the impressive outcrop called "Pain de Sucre" with the town (Bourg) opening up to view on the left. We assume this is the French transalation of Sugar Loaf but can't quite see the similarity to Cape Town:-)


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Bye Bye Dominica.
Sue & Andy Warman
17/Mar/2010, Prince Rupert Bay - Dominica

It was only ten-days ago that Spruce dropped her anchor of a very swelly Portsmouth in Dominica... but seems like an age ago as we have done so much and had som many great experiences here. Dominica rates as one of our favourite islands. The natural landscape is fantastic and largely unspoiled. The main area of development is around Roseau in the south of the island where about a third of the nations 72,000 inhabitants live. The rest of the island is verdant forest and nature. If you want more than just a beach holiday then this is a destination worth considering.

The photograph shows the entrance to Titou Gorge with Alex & Daria from the boat Aleria swimming in . It isn't at all dark inside, just seems that way with the bright sunshine outside.

Our next destination is Les Saintes, an island group just south of, and part of, Guadeloupe. So we are back in the EU and French West Indies later today. Time to stock up on Brie, Camembert and Red Wine:-)

News & Updates
Last Rainforest as we Head North.
Sue & Andy Warman
15/Mar/2010, Dominica

A last rental car day out in Dominica to visit some areas at the national park in the southern half of the island. Names such as Boeri Lake, Titou Gorge and Trafalgar Falls give an indication of the type of landmarks to be found wirthin the World Heritage Site.

The 25 miles to the main town Roseau took an age on the windy roads.Then finding the "Valley Road" out of Roseau took several wrong turns in the heavy traffic in the capital. The island delights in roadworks that declare Road Closed, but with no diversion suggested.

The steep climb into the Heritage Site was along a crumbling and road works strew route. Sheer drops and gorgeous views down a valley resplendent with lush deep green vegetation. mple rain falls here and did during our day out. The hike to Boeri Lake was grand and not at all spoiled by the torrential rain showers and the undulating path causing a fair degree of perspiration in the hot humid air. The hike was followed by a visit to Titou Gorge to cool off. The gorge is flooded with a small waterfall feeding the end so the visit was conducted by swimming. Beautiful cool water gently flowing through magnificent curved shapes carved in the rock over millennia. Our final visit of the day was to Trafalgar falls where two waterfalls cascade over a cliff into deep transluscenrt plunge pools below. The enormous size of the boulders in the river valley give a clue to the volumes of water that can flow during a flash flood. The annual rainfall here is about nine-metres so that takes a fair bit of rain:-)

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Snorkeling with Alerians!
Sue & Andy Warman
13/Mar/2010, Douglas Bay - Dominica

Not a creature from the black lagoon but Alex & Daria from the sailing vessel Aleria. Off we went with Martin, one of the local guides, for a trip into Douglas Bay a couple of miles away. A designated nature reserve we are not permitted to take our dinghies in there nor to anchor so it was good to have Martin drift along as we swam.

There was an excellent cliff that ran on down into the sea and then to some 10-15 metres deep. Magnificent corals and lots of brilliantly coloured fish. Highlights were a small hawksbill turtle, quite tame, and a large fish lurking beneath a rocky crag, very shy and either a puffer fish or a porcupine fish. The retracted spikes clearly visible along its 70cm long body. We eyed each other cautiously then we retreated and left it in peace. Another memorable sight was a large mesh fish trap lying on the bottom. Who knows whether this is a dispensation to local fishermen or an illegal trap with no buoys on the surface. The contents were colourful but also with a trapped shark lying in the corner. Not sure of the species but it seemed able to pump water across its gills while stationary and was about 120cm long. Whatever the status of the trap the fisherman will get quite a surprise when he hauls his catch:-)

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Market Day!
Sue & Andy Warman
13/Mar/2010, Portsmouth - Dominica

The butcher, the baker but no candlestick maker. Another early day and up at dawn. Market is on two days per week: Saturday and Tuesday. When you cruise in Europe it is nice to visit the local market for some colour. Here in Dominica if you don't get there by eight o'clock supplies are dwindling, and they don't have shops that sell a whole range of things as a fallback. Oh yes, and the stalls start selling at five-thirty! We were in town by six-thirty and got the last of the eggs an hour later.

Buying meat was a real eye-opener. There didn't seem to be much finesse in producing nicely dressed cuts of meat. The butcher, though, was a dab hand at wielding a machete. His nearby assistant evidently had a great deal of trust in the skill of his master. It all seemed a bit of a panic buy. Shoppers thrusting fistfuls of money forth and ragged slabs of meat, hastily wrapped in plastic, came back. Sue successfully procured a pound of beef, our small quantity raised a smile. On to the fishmonger. Another expert with a machete. We stood by in amazement as a large "Blue Malin" rapidly vanished into the throng of bystanders, we accounted for but two-pounds of it.

Bananas, some ripe, some green. Grapefruit, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Cucumber. All really nice fresh produce and a joy to find. When the odd shop does carry some produce it is often well past its best, so market day is crucial if you want to eat cheaply and well. The baker was selling from clorth covered bins. The piece de resistance was bread pudding, just the way Andy's "Nan" made it.

The eggs, our final purchase, and off to Spruce, clutching our bags. All done by seven-thirty. Local guide Martin was due to pick up us and the "Alerians", Daria & Alex, for some snorkeling in the nearby nature reserve.... to be continued.

The photo shows sugar cane being prepared for vending. In the foreground are Carrots and Breadfruit. Beside the table in the distance are coconut "Water-nuts" these are sold as a substitute for canned drinks. Again the machete comes in to play to hack the top off ready to drink:-)

News & Updates
Indian River at Dawn.
Sue & Andy Warman
12/Mar/2010, Prince Rupert Bay - Dominica

Awake at dawn and ready to be collected by Alexis, a local river guide, in his launch powered by the ubiquitous Yamaha Enduro 65hp outbard engine. We were off to the nature reserve in the Indian River to see the superb foliage and the wildlife therein. As Alexis gently rowed us along, no petrol engines allowed in the river, we saw land crabs, blue herons, flycatchers, various fish, moorhens, crested humming birds, banana quits and iguana. After a mile rowing along we docked and walked through a nearby miniture plantation. An amazing selection of crops were being grown: breadfruit, grapefruit, cocoa, bananas, lemon grass, cinnamon bark, paw-paw, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, coconut and cashew nuts. We have put together a short film of the trip which you can view by clicking the link below. No voice over so you'll have to guess which fruit is which and what creatures are what:-)

The return trip shows the wrecked ships on the beach cast up on the shore by hurricanes in previous years, the most recent to affect Dominica in 2008. A poignant reminder for us to be well north of the danger area by the end of May.



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