Published: April 17th 2011April 6th 2011
Andy changes over the Dominica courtesy flag for the French one
click on the picture to enlarge and then scroll through all the images
At a Saint Patrick's day party here in Portsmouth, Dominica – thanks Orla – late into the night, we were introduced to Susie who said “Oh, you're English, do you want to come sailing?” And we said yes, of course we said yes!
A week later we were motoring out of the anchorage at Prince Rupert Bay aboard Spirited Lady of Fowey heading north to The Saints and Guadeloupe. We were a crew of 7, Susie, Roger, the two of us, 2 dogs and a cat. The cat stayed out of the way.
The sail across was fabulous, with 2 reefs in the main and a steady force 5 we cut through the swell easily. We all took turns to helm (just the humans) – it was a joy and produced big grins. For a while Kate had the fastest speed at 9.1 knots but eventually Andy beat her with 9.2.
If Disney/Epcot did the French Caribbean, it would look a lot like Terre-de-Haut – only a few kilometres long, rolling green hills, a long curved beach-edged bay and a colourful creole village. We anchored, got the boat ship-shape and went ashore
to the Yacht Club (a bar with an outdoor shower, what more do yachties want) for a rum punch. In the evening Susie and Roger took us to the happening night life which was surprising, a lively reggae bar with everything (including the furniture) painted in red, green, yellow and black, with yachtsmen, locals and tourists all mingled in. There was beer, dancing and more rum punch.
We stayed 3 nights at anchor, got into the rhythm of the place, ate out a few times and generally settled in. Everyone we meet who's been to the Saints says they love it (right Jill?). One day we hired scooters to do the full island tour and Kate, ever the negotiator, bartered the price down from 20 Euros to 18. The bays are beautiful with no development, few people and with reef fish right off the beach (just like Toucarie); we went up to the old fort just after it had closed at mid-day (Oh the French!) but the views were great; and we generally criss-crossed the island until there was nowhere else to go.
Susie and Roger were heading to Antigua for the Classic Yacht Regatta so
we all had to continue sailing north. We had another fun day sailing up the west coast of Guadeloupe to Deshais (pronounced dey-hey) and got to see the mountainous Bas-Terre coastline – a lot like Dominica only with lots of buildings. We had a day at anchor in the bay to explore town then parted with Susie et al as they sailed on. We stayed at a beach hotel for a cillax then caught the bus to Point-a-Pitre (described by the guide book as soul-less) ready for our morning ferry. Found a hotel and planned a huge shopping trip for the afternoon at a real retail park (only if you live in Dominica does this sound so exciting), even knew which bus to take – but of course there was a random half-day holiday, the buses stopped running and all the shops closed at midday – oh yes, those pesky French again! So we hung around all afternoon, went to bed early and hopped on the ferry next morning back to Dominica and home.
Ah home. And a wonderful second night on our spanking new mattress. Oh yes, it's the little things in life...
There are more photos below