Anyone sailing to Dominica should try to be anchored in Portsmouth on a Sunday evening as the local yacht services organisation arranges a beach BBQ from 7pm for around 12 pounds each. They supply lots of rum punch, fruit juice and food plus a really good DJ and we ended up dancing the night away on the sand. It raises funds for the security in the bay and was a brilliant night and good opportunity to meet other cruisers and the local families. One young boy got up on the stage and did a Michael Jackson number with all the moves to loud applause.
Earlier in the day Rob and I went on the Indian River tour, with our guide Andrew. We passed wrecked ships on the beach, one blocking the river entrance, which forced the locals to dig out a new river mouth. We had to be rowed the rest of the way, through the unspoilt and fascinating vegetation., spotting kingfishers, hummingbirds, herons, land crabs and a variety of tropical trees. It was incredibly peaceful and in one area he showed us where part of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was filmed, a short time when the area was invaded by film crews and all the stars.
Our friends from Halsway Grace were there and both boats sailed to Les Saintes just south of Guadeloupe yesterday, cracking along despite the beam on swell. We seem to hurtle between islands these days so our passages are quick but the winds shift around the headlands and gust down the valleys, so caution is needed. Once out in the open the wind stayed constant though. The approach to Les Saintes from the south also needs care as there is a reef to the eastern side. The old anchorage off the main town Terre de Haut is now filled with mooring buoys marked with the allowed length of yacht and ours cost us 11 euros for the night. They have large hoops on the top so the ‘moorfast’ stick we bought for the solent came out of the locker – great piece of kit.
Customs has changed venue, so instead of the town hall, it is now in the internet café just after the square on the right and up stairs between the shops. It is called LSM (Les Saintes Multi-service) and they also deliver bread, collect garbage etc. There is only 1 terminal for immigration, so there was a queue but it is the same self-service form as in Martinique. You can then sail on to Guadeloupe without clearing out from Les Saintes.
The town is very pretty but the most tourist focussed we have visited so far. Lots of nice restaurants, expensive boutiques, a stall selling crepes and ice-creams on the square and a few supermarkets. You can hire mopeds and next visit we will tour the island to find the good beaches which all the day trippers seem to come over in the ferry for.
The bay is very ‘rolly’ though and the boat moved constantly. Together with the tourist shops this was a negative for us and we much preferred Dominica.
Our next stop is the NW tip of Guadeloupe on our way to Monserrat or Nevis if we make good time.