Les Saintes/Dominica: May 4-16, 2012

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Ile Fourchue

We left the Lagoon of St. Martin the morning of May 3 and travelled the short distance to Ile Fourchue, a small barren island a few miles north of St. Bart.  We had been told that the anchorage was well protected, but that assurance was presumably based on an assumption that the waves would be coming from the east or northeast.  Unfortunately, there was a southern component to the swells that night.  Knowing that we would be leaving early the next morning, we decided not to bother with the flopper stoppers.  In retrospect, dampening the severe rolling would have probably been worth the effort.  In more favorable conditions, the isolated anchorage would provide a pleasant place to linger for a day or two.  As it was, we left at dawn with no regrets.


We arrived at Antigua just at dusk, enjoyed the unsecured wifi available from the exclusive resort on the southern shore of Five Islands Bay, and again flew a yellow flag and again left at the next dawn.

Sunrise as we left Five Islands, Antigua


We had additional luck with trolling on our passage, again hooking a fish on each of our two lines at the same time.

Two moderate-sized mahi-mahi

After Fish!

The (perhaps only) downside of catching fish is the mess they make while flopping around in the cockpit before we can get them "pacified".

Step one: soap and water

Step two: fiberglass cleaner

Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

On May 5 we arrived at Les Saintes, Guadeloupe.  We caught up with Steve and Ann (Receta) there, and Steve helped us get attached to one of the new mooring balls that have blossomed out since our last visit.  We are not always happy to be told that we must use a mooring ball, but the installation was a good move in this instance, as far as we are concerned.  Much of the anchorage has very deep water, so the installation of mooring balls has greatly increased the capacity of the bay.  The only downside is that the mooring balls lack painters, and instead feature a large iron ring through which one must pass one's own painter.  So instead of being able to use a boat hook to bring a painter up for fastening one's own lines, one must somehow pass one's own line down to the mooring, through the ring, and back up to the bow.  Impossible on a boat with a high brow such as Tusen Takk II.  Fortunately, we have an (expensive) gizmo that is designed to help with that task.  I have written about the device before. The line that the gizmo attaches to the ring is however not permanent, so that one must later take the dinghy down and replace the gizmo line with a pair of sturdy painters.  As I mentioned, we were able to avoid getting the dinghy down because of the help of Steve.  In addition to the extra effort involved in getting attached to this style of mooring ball, there is the problem that the iron ring is high enough to bang on the hull should the wind slack enough to permit the ball and boat to come in close proximity.  All in all, we prefer the non-French alternatives.

Barb joined Steve and Ann for an extended hike one morning.  Near the end of their walk they stopped for lunch at a restaurant near Pompierre Beach.   On another day she hiked by herself, and took the following photos:

I have had the impression lately that pictures taken with my Nikon D200 camera were not as sharp as those taken with Barb's Canon G12.  So Steve and I got together on Tusen Takk II and did some testing.  Took similar photos with all combinations of his camera (D300), my camera, his lens and my lens.  Conclusion:  my camera and lens are performing as well as his.  Looking back at similar pics taken on Barb's camera, they no longer look sharper than mine!  Can you say "obsessive"?

Two cameras, two lenses, and two Macs. What fun!

As we departed Les Saintes on our way to Dominica, Barb took this picture of the wind generators on Terre de Bas:

Portsmouth, Dominica

On Sunday, May 13 we motored for 4 hours down to Portsmouth, Dominica.  We arrived in time to relax a bit before dinghying in to the Sunday Night Barbeque hosted by the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security (PAYS).

New event building of the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security (PAYS)

Former PAYS president Alexis

Mark and Willie at the PAYS Sunday night BBQ...

... and across the table

Willie, Barb and an enthusiastic local dancer

Next morning while Willie and Mark (Liahona) and I were getting checked in at Customs, our favorite Dominican "boat person" Martin stopped in at Tusen Takk II.  You can see the evidence of his visit below:

There have been a number of changes in Dominica since our last visit, the most striking of which is the nearly-completed removal of the rusty boat wrecks that formerly disfigured the shoreline of "downtown" Portsmouth.  Turns out the Venezuelans are doing the removing; they want the iron for melting down and fashioning into pipes for their oil industry, and of course the Dominicans are happy to have the wrecks removed.

Downtown, on the section of main street that is closest to the new dock (see below), is a shiny new facility for marketing the fish caught by the locals.  

Only remaining "whole" wreck

Almost cleaned-up: dam around the bottom of the hull so that it can be drained to recover the last of the scrap metal

All that remains of the huge wreck that used to block the entrance to the river

New construction at the Fort

New hotel being built along the approach road to the Fort

Huge new dock for the fishermen

Not everything is getting better: Purple Turtle's dock has fallen into disrepair

Water Aerobics

Willie is a physical therapist and an enthusiastic evangelist for water aerobics.  Barb and I joined her on most mornings while she and we were in the anchorage.  She says that the exercise has definitely diminished her arthritis; it is probably too early to tell if it will help me, but I am hopeful.

While we were bobbing about on our noodles one morning, we witnessed a remarkable sight.  A very pretty (and shapely) tanned young woman emerged from a nearby adjacent small and rusty sailboat and proceeded to squat out past the stern of her boat.   I want to be delicate about this, and I am having trouble finding suitably discrete words.  In the very short list of numbers that is sometimes used to describe these events, the largest of them would be relevant.  Interesting to observe her scoop up some water to wash herself after finishing her business.   Then, still squatting, splash her hand about to wash it. Then repeat the process several times.  Then pull herself erect and pull shorts up over her lovely white derrière. 

Since the tide was flowing from her boat toward us, we were exceptionally alert as we returned to our dinghy.

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