Thursday, January 15, 2009

Under Way Again, Jan 15

Well, when we last posted, we were still in the Saintes, waiting for Lee. Internet access has been a sometimes thing. Sometimes, we could not connect to a wireless network, sometimes the wireless network was down and sometimes the wireless network was unable to connect us to the internet. At any rate, Lee finally arrived on the 6th of January. We immediately introduced him to the pleasures of the island--ti punch and people watching. Lee brought patch material for the dinghy, but unfortunately they were not up to the task. So, when the time arrived to leave, we hoisted the dinghy on board and lashed it to the deck. The Saintes were wonderful, especially the restaurants--we never found a bad one. Every meal that we ate out was very, very good and the three meals that we had a Les 3 Boats (Chicken George’s) were stellar. Georges prepares an excellent tartare de poisson (raw fish). La Case aux Epices also does a good tartare de poisson.
The trip down to Portsmouth was pleasant enough even though the seas were a bit trough. Four and five foot swells combined with wind chop made for a splashy ride as we came across the pass between the islands. As soon as we were in the lee of Dominica (pronounced doe-mee-nee-kuh with the accent on nee) Things smoothed out considerably. We anchored upon arrival at Portsmouth only to learn from one of the numerous yacht helpers that we should pick up a mooring ball. After clearing customs, we arranged for a river trip with Martin Carriere (Providence).
The trip up the Indian River was fantastic! Unspoiled jungle line the banks. It has been said that if Columbus returned to the Caribbean today, Dominica would be the only island he’d recognize--it has remained so unchanged. We enjoyed the river trip so much that we set up an all day car tour for the next day. We saw medicinal plants, exotic fruits on trees, bushes and vines, bay trees, cinnamon, nutmeg--all growing wild.

She says (we hiked to a bay still that is still in use that extracts bay oil to make bay rum - we also learned that Rose’s Lime Juice was first produced here as Dominica had perhaps the largest production of limes)

We saw gardens and banana and taro plantations. Agriculture is the backbone of the Dominican economy. We hiked into the caldera of a dormant volcano to see pools of water bubbling with hydrogen sulfide gas. Truly, Dominica is a magical place! Rainbows several times a day (of course, this means it rains every day! But it usually is light and lasts only a few minutes.)
Next stop Roseau. Roseau is the capitol of Dominica and much more populous than Portsmouth. There is a cruise ship at dock every day and downtown is crawling with tourists eager to buy souvenirs, duty free liquor and perfumes. We wandered around and had lunch at Guiyave, a pleasant upstairs restaurant with a balcony for people watching. Lunch was Creole fare and the Callaloo soup was excellent. Callaloo is the young leaves of the taro plant and tastes somewhat like spinach. It was the object of our quest and we were satisfied.
Roseau has turned out to be a weather stop. We’d like to continue down to St Pierre on Martinique as soon as possible. However, the winds between the islands is blowing 25-30 and the seas are running 9 feet. It’s hard to believe because here, in the lee of the island, the sea is smooth and the winds are gentle. Things are supposed to settle down a bit tomorrow and we hope to get underway.

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