Getting underway at 9:15 AM, after trying unsuccessfully since 7:00 AM to check out and get the marina folks to untie our mooring ball (impossible for us to do on board), we cruised to Dominica in rolling seas, riding that bouncing horse all day, up and down. As we neared Dominica the winds picked up to about 25 - 30 knots, white caps abounded and our ride got rougher. We figure the change is from the winds coming down off the mountains of Dominica. Once on the lee side, the seas flattened out and winds stopped.
|Dominica - Prince Rupert Bay|
We have now arrived in the ‘land of the boat boys’ from here on down the island chain. These boat boys range from the true professional guide/helper to the crack addict trying to rip you off. Many are simply like a swarm of flies - brushing them off can be difficult but with persistence, one CAN get rid of them. We’ve been told by boaters to simply tell the boat boys that approach that you have arrangements already with “XXX”. The cruising guides have good information as to who is good, so just pick a name off a page and take it from there. There is some honor among thieves, so the boat boys will respect that and leave.
Quickly hailing “Martin” (a/k/a Providence via VHF 16) as we watched a small boat approach us from two miles out of the cove - an aggressive boat boy, we hoped for the best. This guy told us he "didn’t think Martin was around", that he “very good boat boy”. Not wanting to get mixed up with an ‘unknown’, we told him we would go on into the cove to find Martin. He left us. Ah ha! Martin met us in the cove, helped us tie to a mooring (the guide book says the holding here is ‘variable’) he deemed appropriate for our 43 ton boat and gave us a quick over view of services available. We promised to contact him on the return trip in the winter for all the sightseeing he could provide. At least here on Dominica, the boat boys are organized; provide security at night in the cove; provide very professional, knowledgeable guide services and organize weekly BBQs on the beach for locals and boaters to raise funds for their organization.
We didn’t clear in - just flew the yellow Q flag as we are departing early in the AM for a long cruise to St. Lucia. Ah, another island to add to the Must See list on our return after hurricane season. Dominica is an independent island - was formerly last British - and I think the most lush and beautiful we’ve seen thus far....a naturalist’s paradise. Andy says I say that at every island and he repeated his mantra - “Same shit, different island”. I could smack him!
|Sun setting over Dominca|
In no time, after hooking up to the mooring ball, Andy & I were over the side of the boat, swimming around to cool off. I could see my toenail polish the water is so clear. Later, in the afternoon, we purchased for $4 two bunches of bananas from a boat boy selling from his boat. One batch was red - he told me they were organic. I don’t think so - everything in these islands is ‘organic’ as the locals probably don’t have the money for pesticides, etc. Organic does’t make things change color - does it? At any rate, so tasty, bursting with flavor. The red ones were very sweet and the small yellow ones had a bit of a tart taste mixed with the sweet. LOVE the fruits and vegetables grown locally and picked fresh!
|Catamaran BEFORE dragging|
Looking up and out the saloon window, I had a heart stopping moment. A huge catamaran was nearly on us - appearing just about 5 yards off our bow. Racing to the bow, screeching for Andy, the cat had clearly dragged its anchor and no one was aboard. Watching carefully and preparing to untie our lines so we could back off, I realized the cat was no longer moving. Its anchor had grabbed & reset, just off us. Keeping a wary close eye on the cat, I prepared dinner. Finally, the owners returned, surveyed the situation, said nothing to us, but did pull up and away, anchoring far from everyone in the cove. A bullet dodged!