Saturday, April 2, 2011

Martinique to Dominica

It rained every day we were in Martinique, really rained, and not just a little. Oddly, we liked it there anyway, and it's on our list of islands to explore more next time. On our way north to St. Pierre, we passed a lot of little beaches where you could anchor a boat provided the swell was from the east, which it was at the time. And by next time, one of us will have learned more French. That would be useful.

Our last day in Le Marin we visited the vet. Märzen's ear problem was due to mites, and we're treating her now. The vet, Dr. Fonder, speaks English, and was recommended by cruisers we met in Rodney Bay. She's also listed in Ti' Ponton, the free “Sailor's Guide to Martinique,” which is available everywhere, including in the Custom's office.

Photographic evidence of a reluctant little dog's first trip ashore since Las Palmas in the Canary Islands:

Sort of fun to start out

Are we almost there?

I'm tired, Mom.

Oh, all right. I'll carry you.

Just let me get this on you so we can go back to the boat.

All done and ready to go home.

Clearance into and out of Martinique is simple. The office in Le Marin is open every morning, including Sundays, just like Noonsite.com says. (Noonsite is a great online resource, but frequently inaccurate in the details, we've found.) You do the form online and print it out right there for the officer to stamp. They don't stamp your passport. The office is by the dinghy dock where the marina office used to be. That's in the middle of the dock complex to the left as you approach. There's a whole big expansion area to the right that didn't really show up in our cruising guide. The buildings in the expansion are mostly empty, but there are a few shops, and the marina office and, more importantly, their free and open showers are there too.

Dinghy dock

Yole, a traditional sailboat

Internet access was a challenge in Le Marin. In the anchorage I found one pay site, CaptMarin, but I couldn't figure out where to pay for it or how much it cost. Maybe it's from the marina. Mango Bay, which invites you to come in for free Wi-Fi, mostly wasn't working properly. We met the nice family from Windarra while trying to connect to the Internet there, and the next day we met some nice Polish Canadians, but we never did get connected for longer than two minutes there.

We checked out at Le Marin and motor-sailed north to St. Pierre, also on Martinique. There we anchored for the night but didn't go ashore. It looked like a pretty town, very Mediterranean, but we were really fascinated by its history. It was totally destroyed in the 1902 eruption of Mont Pelée, and everyone died except one prisoner in the jail. The bay is still littered with wrecks. Mont Pelée dominates the background, and it's pretty eerie.

On the way to St. Pierre

Once we got clear of the island of Martinique, we turned off the engine and sailed to Dominica (pronounced Domineeka, accent on the third syllable, like the old song). It was a fast sail, and we averaged 5 knots for the whole trip even though we dropped below 3 knots for the first part while we were sheltered by the island north of St. Pierre. It's always fun to be able to sail without the engine.

On the way to Roseau

At Roseau, the capital of Dominica, we took a mooring buoy because we'd read that the steep-to bay doesn't have very good holding. It's only $10 USD/night and worth it not to worry about the anchor holding. The boat boys noted how much we were rolling in the swell right away, but we didn't really notice until later. It was bad enough that we decided to leave for Portsmouth in the morning instead of doing our clearance in Roseau. Too bad because it looked like a nice town.

Now we're anchored in Prince Rupert Bay just north of Portsmouth. As we came into the bay we saw how much all the boats were rolling, and we picked a spot near the one mono-hull that wasn't moving so much. We have some swell, but it isn't as bad as last night. We had planned to use Alexis as our guide here because he was recommended by Chris on Avocette, but he didn't answer our hail on Channel 16 when we wanted a taxi to go clear in (it was blowing too much to get the dinghy in the water). So now we're using Cobra, we think. The boss was supposed to come and give us a price for an Indian River tour tomorrow, but didn't. So we'll see. We're planning to stay a few days, so if it doesn't happen tomorrow, we'll try Alexis again.

Later update: The swell has really increased, and we tried a tactic to point us into it so that it wouldn't feel so bad (front to back rather than side to side). It worked, but, unfortunately, it caused us to drag anchor. So after a little frenzy in the dark during which the boat behind us, who we were trying to avoid drifting into, yelled at us that we were going to be on their anchor. Duh. Well, we're re-anchored, but we'll see in the morning if we can put up with this in order to see some of the island. We've really been looking forward to Dominica, but so far it isn't a comfortable place to be.

Later again (tomorrow actually): Cobra came through on the Indian River tour, plus a tour of the island, so we were gone all day and had a great time. That's for another post later.

1 comment:

Islay Mist in the Med said...

The girls love the pictures or Marzen, and incidentally the name for a traditional sailing boat ib Shetland and Scandinavia is Yole! Although I think we would spell it yoal.