A Stop in Les Saintes and on to Portsmouth
13 June 2016 | Grand Anse d'Arlets
After Deshaies, a place we will be visiting again for sure, we headed down to the Saints for a quick couple of days. After dodging the damned fish pots on our way in, we secured a mooring in our favourite area. There is something to be said for later season cruising, the anchorages and mooring fields are much more open! There were balls vacant for the couple of days we were there!
We did what we had to do, such as a little last minute French shopping (including goat cheese for one of my Dominican friends) in the main town, and checking out of Guadeloupe at the Customs computer. We then took the boat around to the new moorings by the Pain de Sucre. This area used to be a popular anchorage, but they have now put moorings there, with just a little bit of space for anchoring still available. We chose a mooring close to the big volcanic plug that bears the name of Pain de Sucre with the intent of snorkelling on it. It wasn’t bad snorkelling, with decent coral and lots of fans, but like so many reefs, there weren’t any fish of appreciable size. We spent a quiet night there, then left mid-morning for Dominica’s northern anchorage, Portsmouth.
The wind was again more boisterous, and the seas bigger, than forecast. This seems like an ongoing trend lately, and is affecting everyone’s forecasts. Fortunately, it isn’t a long trip from Les Saintes to Dominica, so it wasn’t the worst trip to endure. When we were close to the entrance to the harbour, we had our cold beer ready for whoever was in position to greet us. This time it was a little strange, as our “greeter” came out farther than normal to meet us. He gratefully accepted the beer, then explained that another service provider’s employee was going against the established protocol and was aggressively going after business out in the open water. Geez, just when you think they had it together, some of the guys start going a little rogue. When times are tough, that’s when working together is even more crucial.
We anchored in our regular spot, and rowed ashore to check in with Customs and immigration. We enjoy walking there, rather than taking the dinghy, as it gives us a chance to chat with people and see what is going on in town. And to visit Miss Sharon for the ice pops! (Custard, juice, or some other concoction frozen in a sandwich bag. Bite off the corner and enjoy. A GREAT deal at 50 cents to a dollar, EC).
We had arrived in time for the Jazz and Creole Festival, and seriously considered going, but decided that we didn’t feel like a crowd scene. We left that for other cruisers to enjoy, while we did our own thing.
Bob and Gigi from ‘Pinnacle’ were anchored close by, and they introduced us to Dave and Mary on ‘Wandering Rose’, more Canadian weather refugees, but from the Left Coast. We ended up hiking Segment 13 of the Waitukubuli with them, and made a detour on our way back to the waterfall that we had first visited last December. We even managed to find a ripe cocoa pod for Dave and Mary to have their first experience of “mountain M&M’s”, the pulp found on the cocoa beans inside the pod. We also found mangos, soursop and limes that were ready to be picked, or eaten.
Ken, Bob, Gigi and I also walked to another nice area on another day, but the guava tree offerings were not ripe enough to pick yet. Again, more heliconia, torch ginger, and incredible buttress roots provided a beautiful backdrop to our hike.
After about a week in Portsmouth, the three boats made an exodus to Roseau, for more exploration.