Despite negative reports about security on Dominica, we found the island hospitable and felt safe during our week long stay in Roseau, the capital and Portsmouth. Talking to the locals, their reputation was deserved a few years ago but in recent years they have concentrated on organising the boat boys into approved groups, providing security patrols, moorings and far better customer service.
Although we were approached by a boat when arriving at both harbours, there was no pressure and at Portsmouth he thought we were going to anchor before we actually asked for a mooring. We normally anchor but wanted to support their efforts. Rope is used so it is still worth snorkelling over the mooring to check it. It cost 7 GBP a night and the boat boys handled our lines in both harbours – no need to pick them up yourself.
We also took a guided rowing boat tour up the Indian River at Portsmouth, which was well worth doing. Very peaceful with stunning scenery. The highlight of our Caribbean cruise so far was the Sunday night beach BBQ, organised by the boat boys every week to raise funds for their security patrol. We also met all the other cruisers in the bay, the DJ was brilliant and the locals mixed happily with us all for a really good night. The rum punch was as strong as ever and a BBQ and salad was also on the menu, all for less than 12 GBP. We took nothing off the boat and had no concerns about her security.
The Old Stones Bar in Castle Street Roseau was another great venue with a lovely menu. It has been open for less than a year but has a nice atmosphere and friendly staff. They also let us plug our laptops in. The Drop Anchor has a jetty outside where we briefly stopped to take on water and when we return south we will stop there for a drink as it is also a bar. We used Pancho’s mooring at Roseau and he and SeaCat take it in turns to meet yachts, so again no pressure or hassle. The mooring is right outside his house, so we felt very safe there too. He also took me to the Customs Office in his very quick but leaky boat and was very helpful.
The Dominica Marine Centre is just north of the moorings with further moorings and they have Wi-Fi and other services for yachts. The Fort Young Hotel also had excellent Wi-Fi and coffee but being a top notch hotel, it was served in silver coffee pots for a higher price than we were used to in Dominica, which is very cheap usually. Pancho also took our laundry returning it the next day.
Next time we want to take some inland tours to visit the boiling lake and amazing rainforest. It is a lovely island with great people who are very welcoming to yachtsmen.