It is Saturday so it must be Martinique


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Published: June 8th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Mangoes EverywhereMangoes EverywhereMangoes Everywhere

One of the bonuses was picking mangoes as they were abundant as you can see here. We got those that were already on the ground and ripe.
Who said cruising was going to be laid back, relaxed and without deadlines? We want to set the record straight on that right now. There are times when it has been relaxing with time to sit to read a book for pleasure, listen to iPods of NPR , watch the sunset and enjoy the company of other cruisers, but there are other times this is far from the truth.

Since our two weeks spent in St. Martin we have been on the move. As mentioned in our last blog we did make it to Montserrat and wound up spending two wonderful days exploring the island and meeting some of the people that live there. After our great visit there we left early (6:15AM) and headed to Deshaies, Guadeloupe. We were pleasantly surprised when we came into the anchorage to see our friends Happy Times and Snowbird were also there. Later that evening Unicorn joined us. Janice was well on her way to a first class head cold by now so Bob joined our friends and took a morning hike up to a beautiful series of small waterfalls and several great swimming pools. This gave Janice some extra time to get
Leaf CuttersLeaf CuttersLeaf Cutters

If you don’t recognize them the small colored pieces on the log are leaf cutter ants carrying pieces of leaf. They don’t eat the leaves they roll them up, mold grows on them and they eat the mold. Really neat to see them at work.
some rest after traveling the last few days. It was nice to have others that Bob could hook up with so he didn’t miss out on the climb here. Deshaies is a very quaint fishing village and has been having some excitement recently. The BBC and a French film company are making a film here called, Death in Paradise. The joke of the locals was that at least now they knew for sure they were living in Paradise.

We had thought of heading to The Saintes from Guadeloupe, but there is some talk of some squally weather coming and we need to have a protected anchorage for southwest winds. The Saintes would be a good place, but figured that if we were going to be somewhere for a few days we would prefer Martinique. We checked out the chart and figured that a full day of sailing would take us to Portsmouth, Dominica ( half way to Martinique). We originally had told ourselves we wouldn’t even stop in Dominica as we had a great vacation here a few years ago and wanted to take the time on other islands. No matter. We could easily change our mind and just
A great hikeA great hikeA great hike

This was a nice cool area to walk on such a hot day.
anchor for the night. When we were starting to head into the harbor we were met at the entrance by a local in a boat marked “Cobra Tours”. With a great smile the first words out of his mouth were “Welcome to Dominica”. What a great way to enter a country. We had read in our guidebooks that all the local tour operators had formed an organization called PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security) and this was one of its members. We know that they all are trying to get people to sign up for their tours so we told him that unfortunately we were only staying overnight so wouldn’t be able to take advantage of seeing his country this time. He pleasantly smiled, told us to have a great evening and went on to wait for the next boat to arrive. We found that this organization also installed some moorings with a charge of $10 per night. They manage the moorings and maintain them. We definitely wanted to support this group so picked up a mooring (which also makes it quicker for us to leave in the morning). After getting set on our mooring we looked at the boat
OrchidsOrchidsOrchids

Many of the trees have orchids growing on them. Unfortunately none were in bloom.
next door and recognized it from one that we had seen in Annapolis last October. We called FoxSea on the radio and confirmed that it was the same Vicky and Bob so they swam over to our boat for a nice visit. It was nice to catch up after all this time as we spent a few days with them exploring the Back Creek area last fall. It was Friday night and there were about 20 boats anchored or on moorings which we understand is higher than normal as it is late in their normal season. PAYS during the high season sponsor a barbeque every Sunday night which they feel brings the cruisers together but also acts as another way to welcome cruisers to their area. As there were enough boats here they decided to do the barbeque so we naturally signed on for that as well. It was a lovely event with barbeque chicken, fish, a variety of salads and a very strong rum punch. It was to start at 7PM and we were the first to arrive. This gave us an opportunity to talk to a number of the members. We found out that they have 11 members
Relaxing sceneRelaxing sceneRelaxing scene

Just one more of many pools along the walk that morning starting from Deshaies.
and they receive government support in that they were provided a 22 ft skiff that they use for security in the anchorage in the evenings. The government also provided them with land to build the pavilion that they use for these events. They hope to add more events in the future. Historically there had been a couple of incidents here involving locals attacking and/or stealing from cruisers so the tour operators decided that they needed to do something about security and making Dominica a welcoming island for cruisers. They have really done a great job and as a result we hated to leave so quickly. We now will definitely return to see this part of the island due in large part to the members of PAYS. They truly do all they can to make you feel welcome and want to share their beautiful island with you. Cruisers that we met at the barbeque gave great reviews of the tours that they had taken.
Friday, June 4th we left Portsmouth, Dominica and sailed further south to Martinique. We know it was a Friday, those of you that are sailors, but we figured it was just a continuation of our trip south
Swimming PoolsSwimming PoolsSwimming Pools

One of many of the great pools to swim in while on our walk in Guadeloupe.
from St. Martin so it doesn’t count. We may now consider starting out on a Friday as a good omen as we had a great sighting today of a whale! Luckily we were sailing with 2 other boats that left Dominica at the same time and they called us on the radio to let us know. Bob had just noticed the water spout ahead when they called. Bob did a great job of capturing it on film so will be sure to get this posted for you. There was just one whale and we sailed past him while he moved through the water with us. He treated us to a show of his tail at the end. What a great way to start a long day of sailing. The wind was very light when we left the anchorage, but as we got farther south along the lea of the island we picked up some wind. Fortunately we didn’t get too much in the way of waves except near the southern end of the island of Dominica. People had told us before but it really is true that on passages like this you don’t do much except tweak the sails. Martinique
WaterfallsWaterfallsWaterfalls

What is it about waterfalls that is always so inviting?
is a French island and is the northern most island in the Windward Islands. We understand that this is the eastern most island that we would be visiting so sailing further south should be easier (unless of course the winds start to change direction). With the weather predictions for squalls with 30-40 knot winds we plan on staying here for a few days. We are looking forward once again to French baguettes and coffee. In looking ahead it seems that there are plenty of great places that we want to explore, but time is running out. As a result we are already starting a list of the places that we want to visit next year when we return.
We have finalized on a boatyard in Trinidad to haul the boat and have that booked. We have also booked our flights home so will be arriving in Newark on July 28th and flying back to Trinidad on September 28th. This hopefully will give us plenty of time to visit family and friends as well as fit in a few doctor and dentist appointments. We are still trying to figure out our itinerary while home, but hopefully we will be able to
Seed PodSeed PodSeed Pod

An unusual seed pod found while on our walk. It has a very sticky orange sap – will have to look this one up as not sure what tree it is from. If any of you know, please share your knowledge with us.
see many of you when we return.
We are currently making our list of things to take home that we found we really didn’t need on board as well as a list of a few things that we want to bring back from the US. Luckily the list isn’t too long, at least not yet. We have been very impressed with what we have been able to find in the islands. Provisioning has been easy and with all that we had on board from the US we typically are now just looking for fresh veggies and fruit. Mangoes are still in season as we come down the chain of islands so have been enjoying them and looking for new ways to prepare them. This morning we had a treat of pancakes with mangoes on top! There are a few new veggies that we are adding to our diet and christophenes are one that is very versatile. I had bought one in Wegman’s in Ithaca as a special ingredient for a Brazilian meal I was preparing, but now I can see them as a staple.
Today has been a true day of relaxation which has been a treat after moving each
Trois IletTrois IletTrois Ilet

The village of Trois Ilet is built on a hillside therefore you get great views of the mountains and the ocean surrounding it. The tile roofs are used extensively in this village.
day. We never even got off the boat to explore the village here yet, but will take care of that tomorrow AM when we go to get our baguette and try to find wi-fi. As for today, we read, napped and wrote to you. This evening we have a treat as a neighboring boat asked us over for dinner. That is a three-fold treat – we get to met some new people, have dinner and not heat up the boat by cooking. What a great life this is!
We didn’t get this posted to the blog so figured we’d update again. Last night we had a great dinner of swordfish while meeting some new people. The best part was that the fish was very fresh as the 70 pound swordfish was caught by the crew of Racoroneous, one of the new boats we met up with. They had so much fish (they figured they got about 33 pounds of actual fish to eat) that they were giving it away so our bonus was 3 huge steaks which must have added up to at least 4-5 pounds. We had to have it again tonight and it was just as good. We
Roof Tiles Made LocallyRoof Tiles Made LocallyRoof Tiles Made Locally

The details used in the roof tiles and the trim so attention to detail that sets the village apart from others in the area.
will save the other two steaks for later. What a treat the whole evening was.
Today was Monday and it was the first day since arriving that the office was open for us to officially check into the country. There was an office a couple of bays over from our anchorage but the waves were rough and we knew we would get soaked in our dinghy. We decided to try using public transportation instead. We found that not many spoke English so we used some of the words that we learned and with the help of our French phase book we made it there and back. It was a great way to spend the day, we got to practice some French and give people a laugh when we did! Most of the buildings in the village where we anchored have clay tiled roofs. The clay is from the surrounding area and the tiles produced here are used locally and in Grenada. It definitely gave the feel of being in a European village. At times we had to remind ourselves that we are still in the Caribbean.
Best wishes to you all and please do keep in touch. We always look
Beach at Point du BoutBeach at Point du BoutBeach at Point du Bout

Pointe du Bout has numerous beaches that were being well used on such a warm day.
forward to your messages and comments so keep them coming!

By the way we haven't forgotten about filling you in on Montserrat but haven't written that one yet so that is yet to come!







Additional photos below
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Trois IletTrois Ilet
Trois Ilet

The view of the waterfront in Trois Ilet
Church bells ringingChurch bells ringing
Church bells ringing

The church bells rang every half hour here and we could hear it from the anchorage which was very pleasing.
Carbbean ColorsCarbbean Colors
Carbbean Colors

Some of the homes use the typical bright Caribbean colors which always make you smile.
Coconut Ice CreamCoconut Ice Cream
Coconut Ice Cream

This vendor is selling homemade coconut ice cream. She didn’t take US dollars, and unfortunately by the time we got Euros she ran out of her wares – she said to come back on the weekend. Unfortunately we wouldn’t be there to try it.
Traditional BuildingTraditional Building
Traditional Building

One of the old wooden traditional homes that is still standing. Bob was taken by the width of some of the boards used.
Porch GardeningPorch Gardening
Porch Gardening

If you don’t have a yard for a garden, the porches are a great substitute. One of many in Deshaies to use this method which makes the street very pleasing.
Great Eating AreaGreat Eating Area
Great Eating Area

Isn’t this a lovely use for your front porch. It is nice to have weather that you can do this in year round.
A circus?A circus?
A circus?

Found the poster for the circus interesting on this traditional wooden building.
SunriseSunrise
Sunrise

The sun is just rising as we are leaving the anchorage in Guadaloupe.
Coke Anyone?Coke Anyone?
Coke Anyone?

You never know where that plastic bottle of coke will land. Unfortunately we see too many of these on our travels.


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