|Susan and Jim AuBuchon
|Livin' the life - finally!
It is said that Columbus became so frustrated trying to explain Dominica's topography to the Spanish royalty that he resorted to crumpling up a sheet of paper and throwing it on the floor. Dominica is a beautifully verdant and abundantly productive Isle of dizzying switchbacks, deep valleys and sharp volcanic peaks (9 of which are still considered active). The people of Portsmouth toward the northern end of the island have figured out how to turn their beautiful Bay into a cruisers' paradise by providing moorings, security, land and water tours and even a weekly beach barbecue. Everyone is related here (and they all have huge families) so feeling welcomed and at home comes quickly. We took a day-long cross-island tour where we saw every imagineable crop being raised in jungle mountainside settings, hiked through a rainforest, forded a stream to a waterfall, walked on a spectacular ocean promontory and visited a chocolate farm/factory (founded by 2 "Bohemian Scots aristocrats" in the 30s and now run by their grandson). Today's adventure was paddling up a mangrove- and palm-lined river - ending at a "bush bar"! This end of the island seems to have figured out how to recover from a Cat 5 hurricane far better than the other (capitol) end! We plan to do some swimming and snorkeling and depart Monday for Isle de Saintes off the south coast of Guadeloupe. Have been meeting and making friends with more cruisers, many from New England, and trading lots of interesting stories and experiences!
Enjoying a peaceful evening in St. Pierre before heading to the "wilds" of Dominica tomorrow. Went shopping at the fabulous farmer's market yesterday and got lots of nice produce including some spectacular lettuce (hard to get down here). Did laundry this morning and a fisherman was carving up a huge [...]
We finished up our chores and touristic romps and departed Marin on Thursday. (After playing the line-up-and-wait game at the fuel dock: quite the circus!) We sailed past Cap Diamant, a volcanic spire extending from 1500 feet below the surface to 175 above. Then on to Anse Noire, a pleasant bay that [...]
I knew Martinique, and Le Marin, in particular, was the center for Caribbean cruising among Francophones, but I wasn’t quite ready for this! The bay is large and is filled to overflowing with boats, probably at least 2000 of them, most of them on moorings or at anchor and most of them cats (which the [...]
While most of you, dear readers, were watching the Super Bowl, we beyond the reach of US television were watching the Bequia Maritime Demolition Derby. It all began around 10pm when three different boats decided to raise anchor and move. The reason for doing this 3 hours after total darkness is unclear. It was a bit windy (12-15 knots) but no different than all the previous day. Out of the three, one managed to hit another boat! In the ensuing kerfuffle, they managed to wrap a line around their Prop and began drifting....Luckily a tow boat was summoned to take them to a mooring after driftingacross the bay, and we thought the only remaining excitement was SB OT. But wait - there's more! This morning at 0800 I was down below when I heard a large boom. I came up on deck to find a 45-foot catamaran - mainsail up - had just T-boned the boat anchored behind us. That boat escaped with cosmetic damage, but their rub rail took a chunk out of the bow of the starboard Hull of the cat, and, we later learned, the impact cracked the cat's Hull and they were taking on water. (No Travelift to haul them out for 50 miles!) Sailing away from a crowded Anchorage is never a good idea, particularly when you're an inattentive skipper! Luckily, we were only spectators in this bumper-boat escapade!! Leaving Wednesday for Martinique.
We had a marvelous week with Beth Anna and Brian McDonough. They flew into St. Vincent from Miami and took the ferry over to Bequia where we met them. We sailed around the Grenadines to all our favorites spots, including the beach lobster roast at Tobago Cays. They treated us to several nice meals ashore, and Susie returned the favor with some spectacular entrees, including eggplant parmesan, roasted pork loin with apricot sauce, and chicken tikki marsala. Beth Anna wanted to try out breadfruit, but it's not truly in season. However, a vendor on Union Island ran to his grandfather's farm and found us two ripe ones that the ladies cut into small pieces and we roasted on the grill. The last 5 minutes we added some cheese and cream, and it was a wonderful accompaniment to our pork chops! We were sorry to see them leave after a fun and relaxing week with great friends and great sailing! It was wonderful having them aboard, and we look forward to next time. Now we have to get back to doing all our own sailing jobs!