Sunday, 29 May 2016


      Dominica, pronounced Dom-e-nee-ka, is a lush, green, mountainous Island, 75% of which is heavily wooded rainforest. There are no white sandy beaches and no large resorts, visitors come here to hike and discover the rivers, waterfalls and varied plant life.

Our first view of Dominica, sailing down the coast.

    We sailed into Prince Rupert Bay and the town of Portsmouth, at the north end of the Island and were helped onto a mooring ball by Alexis, one of the local guides and a member of PAYS ( Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security). The harbour was previously unsafe for boaters due to thefts, break ins etc so this group of young men formed the association and now patrol an area of the harbour and also help boaters by organizing tours, delivering ice, taking laundry and generally making sure the yachties have a good visit. They hold a weekly BBQ where the cost of the ticket gives you drinks and dinner and a chance to meet other boaters. Word gets around quickly in the cruising community and boaters obviously feel safe here now, during our stay there were at least 40 boats in the anchorage.

   We took in a very enjoyable Jazz Festival and several lovely hikes during our short stay.

We pay a lot for Heliconia flowers at home. Here they grow by the roadside.

Hiking section 11 of the Waitukubuli National Trail.

surrounded by beautiful foliage, it was a steep and wet climb.

we walked with a somewhat eccentric British trail custodian for a while, according to him this is the oldest tree on the Island?? 
Local home. 

Alexis rowing us up the Indian River, no motors allowed. 

Surrounded by huge swamp Bloodwood trees. We saw large crabs and herons and heard many birds and insects.

At the halfway point of the trip you arrive at this bar in the forest! 

So sweet. Alexis presented me with this arrangement. 

A close up to show the hummingbirds he fashioned from grasses.

This is a large Mango tree, absolutely dripping in fruit. 

Looking at Portsmouth and Prince Rupert Bay from Fort Shirley, Cabrits National Park.

Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant tree.

Ruins of Fort Shirley, circa 1700's. The trees growing over the walls reminded us a lot of Angor Wat in Cambodia.

It was an easy hike into Milton Falls.

A Pineapple growing on the ground.

The flower of a Banana tree

Inside the flower. Each bunch of bananas is called a "hand" and each individual banana a " finger".

    On a walk with our guide Alexis we saw growing; mango,banana, pineapple, oranges, papaya, coffee beans, nutmeg, cinnamon, dasheen, christophene, breadfruit, sugar cane, avocado trees ( not in season yet).  I'm sure there was more that I can't remember. Needless to say, the people of Dominica have plentiful access to healthy eating.

   We very much look forward to returning to this charming Island next season and exploring some more.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Passage between Isle des Saintes and Dominica

 It's a fairly short 24 NM hop between Isle des Saintes and Portsmouth, Dominica. The winds were in the low 30's ( apparent wind) so we had both reefs in the sails. Fortunately for us another Canadian couple ( Catherine and Henry) on s/v Mowzer - incidentally we had chartered their boat several years ago in the BVI's- whom we had met in the Saintes were also making the passage at the same time and took these great photo's and video for us.  Thanks Catherine!

Having trouble downloading video. Will try again when I have more robust internet.   PB

Monday, 16 May 2016

Loving Iles des Saintes

Well we didn't have to wait too much longer in the BVI's for an opportunity to make the overnight passage to St.Martin.  We headed out, just as the sun was setting, into fairly lumpy seas but with the weather forecasters promising lightening winds. We had an uneventful night ( always good ) and by breakfast time the next morning we were just off the St. Martin coast. Since the winds and seas had died down -and since we really didn't need/want to necessarily stop in St.Martin - we just kept right on going. Next stop Antigua.  We pulled in to Jolly Harbour, Antigua at 2 am. the following morning and dropped the anchor. It's a large open harbour which we have anchored in before so a night time arrival was not a problem for us.  Straight to bed and we both slept in that morning. We spent the day on the boat and left at sundown that evening, never having set foot on land. We were now, finally, heading south ( winds mostly from the East) so we had a good over night sail from Antigua past Guadeloupe and on into Iles des Saintes.
The pretty town Bourg De Saintes, on Terre D'en Haut, Iles des Saintes

main street

old building

local church
the Mairie, town/city hall

looking down on the town and harbour

on top of Le Chameau, 1,000ft up. The highest point on the Island.

taking a rest.

the airport runway on the right of picture

looking down onto Baie de Pompierre

     We really enjoyed our few days on  Iles des Saintes and will definitely return next season. The Island is small enough to to be able to walk from coast to coast and has some good, steep hiking trails. We love the vibe of the French Islands. Laid back, everything shuts down at lunch time, great croissants! and even though our ( my) French language skills are appalling I enjoy the challenge of trying to make myself understood in the grocery store. OH, and nobody cares if you go topless off the back of the boat !!!! ( no pictures please).

   We have now moved on to Dominica, which we are also loving.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Hike, Swim, Snorkel, Dive, Repeat.

   Six weeks here in the BVI's have flown by and we have been busy.  Here are the pic's to prove it!

We sailed twice out to Anegada. Ian loves this Island.

The view overlooking Deadman's Bay, Peter Island. Great hike

The Bailey sisters at the top of Sunset Point, Peter Island 

Looking over to Jost Van Dyke from Sage Mountain, Tortola.  

Walking thru the rain forest, Sage Mountain, Tortola. 

Looking down on Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
We had a lovely visit with Ian's sister Sandra and Winston

Entering the North Sound, Virgin Gorda

Sandra loves a good sail. Sir Francis Drake channel. 

Looking down on The Bight, Norman Island. Another good hike.

All ok.
I love these Parrot fish. Look at that amazing mouth!

The colours are beautiful.

This coral wall reminded me of spring flowers

He wasn't too fussed at me being this close.

Jo and I on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke 

Sisters off for a dingy ride
A hot walk up on Norman Island.
Zooropa moored off of Salt Island

Ian walking on Salt Island.

   We have really enjoyed our time here and loved having our sister's come visit with us. The vista's from the top of the hills are just spectacular, we have loved the hiking.   The waters have been calm for swimming and the snorkelling has been good.  

  Now, once again, we find ourselves waiting for a good weather window so that we may continue on our way south.  Too bad for us, we still have to make some more easting- right into the trade winds. So we wait for either low winds or wind from the North East.   Oh well, there are worse places to be stuck.  Back to the hiking and swimming.