We are making our way south and once again have discovered new “favorite” Islands. In our haste we managed to skip Guadeloupe with the exception of an over night stop in Daishais. The Saintes were calling us to Terre d’en Haut which is a wonderful hamlet just south of the main Island of Guadeloupe. We should have rented a car to experience the sights of Guadeloupe perhaps on another visit. We anchored in the Saintes just off a cute seaside town that is very clean and very French with little cafes and bright white beaches. We tailor our exercise workouts to the Island. Often the roads are too narrow and dangerous for running so we will seek out hiking trails. We found a challenging trail that climbs to 1,000 ft to Le Chameau and the reward at the top is a 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding Islands. You can see the tower in the picture gallery.
Our next stop, Dominica, is the exact opposite of the refined French atmosphere of the Saintes. Dominica is a lush Green Island with boiling lakes, water falls and seven volcanoes. The vegetation is amazing and jungle like with trees, vines and giant ferns. One needs to travel inland to capture the beauty of this Island and it is customary to have several tour guides approach you in small boats as you enter the harbor. It is best to read the books and have one chosen prior to dropping hook. The harbor is full of enterprising boat boys that paddle out on surf boards for the chance of working on your boat. Friends had both good and bad experiences with the boat boys. Our tour guide was a Rastafarian by the name of Buddha and he was quite a character. He claimed to be a trained botanist that practiced herbal medicine. Our thoughts were that the most commonly used herb on the Island was Ganja. He gave us a great tour that included stops at his favorite bakery for fresh bread and the ghetto where a friend climbed a tree for coconuts for us in addition to the planned tour of the Island. We did an inland tour and a river tour that are recorded in the picture gallery. There are security issues in Dominica that cruisers should take seriously. Our friends were anchored by themselves and had a visitor one night that swam out and boarded their boat. Luckily he dove back into the water when confronted by the owners and the incident ended there. We only stopped at Portsmouth Harbor but there are many sights to be seen in the south out of the Roseau anchorage.
We left the Leeward Islands behind and are now cruising the Windward Islands that start with Martinique. Our first stop was the historic town of St Pierre which lies at the foot of the volcanic Mt. Pele that buried the town in ash in 1902. It is an interesting town with a museum and many building that have outside walls that survived the devastation. It is a rolly anchorage so we moved on to Trois Islets which is a calm, quiet and protected anchorage not far from the bustling city of Fort De France. We were treated to a May Day festival in Trois Islets that featured costumed dancers, a boat parade and fireworks and must be a major event for this small town. Next stop was one we thought we may never leave….St Anne’s. We dropped anchor not far from the Club Med but close to the small town with numerous restaurants, shops and bakeries. Once again we found a challenging trail of about 8 miles that ended in a magnificent beach and a petrified forest both by the name of Saline. The port of Marin was a short dinghy ride away and Steven was able to get a marine store fix to keep him going for a while. Keeping our eye on the calendar we decided to move on to St Lucia which for me was a very pleasant surprise. I did not expect the level of sophistication and conveniences that we have experienced here. We are currently docked at Rodney Bay Marina which is a modern facility with a boatyard, marine store and every service you might need. We use the dinghy to get around the inner lagoon for groceries and restaurants. Many of our friends that are heading south have stopped to take advantage of the reduced marina rates. We actually we have a double slip with a long finger pier and the dinghy is along side for the grand sum of $0.55/ft!! The only downside is the power is 50 cycle but we are fortunate that we can run our air conditioner with 50 cycles but need the generator and inverters for everything else. The first tropical wave of the season is expected here tonight so we plan to leave at the end of the week with a stop at the Pitons and then onto the Grenadines.