Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

Dominica - Jewel of the Caribbean - South of the Island

21 March 2024 | Dominica
Donna Cariss
We had decided to do a tour of the south of Dominica from Portsmouth, rather than leave the boat in th capital, Roseau later, as Roseau is known to have swell and there isn't the protection of PAYS down there. Jimbo and Lil decided to leave this trip to a later visit, so we were doing it alone, at 500 XCD, plus any additional entrance fees and lunch. Bounty Bonto collected us from the boat at just before 9am, introduced us to Max, who then took us to our driver and tour guide, Allington Walter. We weren't sure what Max had to do with the transaction. Allington proved to be knowledgeable, very pleasant and humorous. It took about 45 minutes to drive down the coast to the outskirts of Roseau, before turning up into the mountains. First stop was Freshwater Lake, at around 2500 feet. It was a little grey up there but the lake was pretty. It is used for hydro-electric power and a portion of it is buoyed off to swimmers so they don't get sucked down the pipe. We didn't choose to swim here, as the air temperature was a little cool and we knew we had other opportunities to get wet later in the tour. Round the corner from the lake, we saw many springs running out from the hillside into a roadside culvert and the water in the culvert looked orange. Allington said this was due to the mixing of water from hot and cold springs. He pulled over and we were able to fill up our water bottle from a piped cold spring and then wash our hands in the next one, which was hot; amazing! We were in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, home of the famous boiling lake, which is currently a 3 hour hike, each way, from our next stop, Titou Gorge. Allington told us that they are building a cable car, across the valleys, to Boiling Lake, so tourists can visit without the challenging hike and we passed where the cable car would start from. We could see cranes on hilltops and helicopters flying in materials. At Titou Gorge, we hired obligatory life jackets and purchased waterproof phone cases, dinned swimwear and entered the cold water outside the gorge. We could have taken a guide but didn't feel the need and we were lucky enough to have the gorge to ourselves. We swam through the narrow opening and continued through until we reached a place where the water was pouring in. Here we had to climb up the rocks to enter a small, high cavern where a waterfall entered the gorge. The power of the water was tremendous, in such a small space and I had to cling on for the photographs. We returned through the gorge and warmed ourselves (Pete was shivering) under the piped hot water springs, before climbing out and changing. It was a fun and interesting experience. Next stop was the River Rock Cafe, for lunch. Again, we were ahead of the crowd and had our choice of tables, on the deck, with an unforgettable view of the mountains and a bubbling river in the valley below. Hummingbirds flew around, stopping briefly to drink the nectar from the flowers but never long enough to get a photograph. Lunch was the usual Creole fare of chicken or fish with rice, beans, fried plantain, breadfruit and taro, plus a beer or two. It was overpriced at 150 XCD, including tip but we were obviously paying for the view. Five minutes up the road, we stopped at Trafalgar Falls, which had just been out of our sight at lunch. There are 2 falls and it's less than a 10 minute walk from the visitor centre. Entrance was free as we had our national park permits. We sat for a few minutes taking in the view, before climbing down to the river and started making our way over the rocks and up the nearest waterfall. Pete went higher than me, in his flipflops and ended up scraping his leg on the way back down. Outside the visitor centre, we purchased a colourful sunhat for Jimbo, as it was his birthday the following day. It was just his thing. We stopped briefly at Wotton Waven to see the sulphur spring. It was small and very smelly and not much to look at; just a steaming, muddy puddle. However, it was the source of the hot water at Ti Kwen Glo Cho pools, where we enjoyed a laze in a bath tub fed with hot spring water, a bathe in the warm mineral pool and an extremely cold, spring water shower. Allington joined us for the soak in the warm pool. The experience cost just US$10 per person and rid me of all the aches and tension in my neck and shoulders. I have slept much better since then. from there, we returned to Portsmouth, passing Mero Beach on the way, where a number of yachts were anchored. Allington Walter was worth tipping, even after we had paid top whack for the private tour, with there only being the 2 of us. If you're in Portsmouth, Dominica, contact him directly for taxi or tours on +1767 614 5878. As soon as we were back on board, Jimbo came to pick us up for sundowners on Full Monty, with Guy and Michele, where we did our best to pick their brains on everywhere south of Dominica. We gave Jimbo his hat, wrapped in pages from a yachting magazine and he loved it. Then we sad our goodbyes, as we would be heading south to Roseau next morning.
Wednesday 20th March, the birthday of many of my friends - Joanna Apter, Heidi Clewer, Liz Walmsley, Jimbo Lillywhite. I wished them all a happy birthday via Facebook and / or WhatsApp. Before releasing our mooring buoy, we called PAYS on channel 16 as we needed to go for water. Another yacht immediately called up saying they were ready to go for water, trying to beat us to it. However, we made it to the water buoy first and Papillon had to motor round in circles until we were done. We had been told that water was 50 XCD, no matter how much you took but the water guy made us pay him 60. Pete should have argued the toss, as Alexis, Bounty Bonto and Titus had all told us it was 50. At 0835 hours we slipped the buoy and motored by Freedom Girl and Full Monty to wave goodbye. We put the sails up straight away and were sailing well with 10 knots on the beam. This lasted for 10 minutes and then the wind died to nothing. It was just the usual land breeze. We motored until 1155 hours and then managed a decent sail for 50 minutes before dropping the foresail again. At 1330 we dropped the main, as there was still little wind and the sea had become confused, so the mainsail was banging from side to side. The tide was still rising to the south of us but falling to the north, which may have explained the sea state. 1 mile out of Roseau the wind suddenly hit us on the nose, out of nowhere, at 22 knots. As we came into Roseau, slowly, heaving up and down on the swell, we radioed Marcus and Sea Cat for a mooring buoy. There was no answer, so we approached an available buoy ourselves. Just as we reached it, a boat boy arrived to assist. He said the buoy would be 50 EC but that went to Marcus, so the guy needed a 10 EC tip. As we only had 3 x 20 EC notes, there wasn't a lot we could do to protest. Tied to the buoy, we had 31 metres of water under the keel. The wind was blowing 24 knots, which was keeping our nose into the swell, so we weren't rocking side to side, just up and down. The wind eased at sundown and then the rolling started just as we were going to bed. I slept sideways on in the aft cabin to combat the roll and did manage to sleep reasonably well. The wind was non-existent.
Next morning, we were up at first light, 0545 hours to make the passage to Martinique. Ablutions completed and orange juice downed, we were starting preparations to sail. I put my head up into the cockpit and initially thought that some boats had already left, as I couldn't see them and then I realised that they were still there but we had moved. The fishing boat that was 50+ metres behind us was now slightly in front and to the side of us and the yacht that was on the buoy close inshore and way behind us was also now in front of us. During the night, we had dragged the mooring buoy about 75 metres and we were only 20 metres from the pilings of an old jetty. The instruments showed we now had 32.5 metres of water under the keel. We made a sharp exit and were on our way by 0610 hours. Sailors beware of the buoys in Roseau; expensive and unsafe!
Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
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Created 26 September 2020
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Photos of Muirgen preparations
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Created 11 August 2017
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Created 1 July 2017
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Created 23 June 2017
Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
10 Photos
Created 19 June 2017
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Created 15 June 2017
The Beautiful Kvitsoy
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Created 5 June 2017
Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
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Created 5 June 2017
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Created 30 May 2017
Mad creatures
16 Photos
Created 29 May 2017
Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
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Created 6 December 2016
Buying Muirgen
6 Photos
Created 26 November 2016