After yesterdays exertions we decided to have a lazy day and explore downtown Roseau.
Not the best day to go, as Sunday is a day of rest and none of the shops were open. On a previous trip (when we did customs & immigration) the city was bustling with markets and lots of locals milling about.
Chicken & chips at KFC and back to the boat.
The locals are really friendly and talk to you, the Rasta’s walk past giving you the laid back lazy 2 finger salute, not the victory salute or the rude one, but the peace sign.
A little girl walked past with her brother wearing a pretty dress with bows in her hair and Marie said “Don’t you look pretty” she beamed a beautiful smile and swirled around holding her dress. It was so sweet! The parents here have done a wonderful job on bringing their kids up.
Monday 22nd January 2007
I’m not sure if we have mentioned this but on Saturday we invited Marie & Alan to extend their holiday by another week, the reason being that they are great company plus we were running out of time and they would miss loads of islands as we would have to make a mad dash to Antigua. It was a hard decision to make but after they thought long and hard about it, (1.5 seconds) they decided to try to change their flights.
Yesterday Pete & Alan went to Octavious’ house as he had said they could use his computer to try online to change their flights. Unbelievable but there is no facility online to change flights with Virgin Atlantic. Someone should tell Richard Branson as you can with British Airways! They tried calling Virgin and all offices were closed.
Anyway this morning they were successful and the flights were changed giving them another week. Pete downloaded Skype (you can use Skype to make calls at 1 pence per minute as it uses the internet) on Octavious’ computer and added some credit for him so that he could make calls cheaply.
We upped the anchor and started to make our way out of the bay and Octavious roared up on his motor boat saying “I won’t forget you guys, you were the best”. He said he would call his friend in Portsmouth to let him know we were coming and we should look out for a boat called “Providence”.
It was a very gentle sail by headsail only and as we approached Prince Rupert Bay at 3pm (we left at midday) in the distance we saw a boat roaring towards us, it turned out to be Providence. He said that Octavious had called him and he’d come out to greet us.
By the time we’d put Nadezhda to bed it was getting late so Pete and I made a dash into town to pick up provisions
It was poorer than Roseau with little shacks sitting on stilts, but even though it looked a little desperate, it had a different charm about it. I couldn’t help but laugh when I spotted a cat with a bow tie around its neck!
Tonight’s menu was veggie curry. Unfortunately it lacked veggies and it consisted of potatoes, onions & tinned sweet corn and peas. As I have mentioned in the past provisioning is a nightmare! It looked liked something that cat had chucked up and maybe was a little too spicy for Marie & Allan but they were gracious dinner guests and made all the right noises. Guess what was for dinner the next night? Poor them!
Earlier on in the afternoon we’d agreed to take a trip up Indian River with Martin (he was the guy on Providence) as it was an early start of 7am so we all had an early night.
Tuesday 23rd January 2007
Martin arrived on the dot at 7am and we headed off for Indian River. Trips to Indian River (mini –Amazon) are done by oar power only so once inside the reserve all engines have to be turned off, Martin rowed.
Martin - Heading for Indian River
The reason for leaving early was so that we would arrive when the birds were waking up.
It was amazing and like something out of a Disney movie set! Tall trees with sculptured twisted roots reaching down into the water, trees & vines making a canopy above you. The brightly coloured humming birds going about their business and the morning bird song gave Indian River a real sense of tranquillity and peace.
Martin told us that once he’s climbed up a tree to have a look at a humming birds nest and the humming bird had flown straight in front of his eyes as if to say “Don’t touch my eggs or I’ll have you”. A wonderful moment for him as this little bird was willing to take on human in order to protect its young.
Parts of Dominica have been used in movies and a scene in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 had been filmed in Indian River.
Apparently the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean were really only interested in disabled people. The local Caribs were asked to cut off their hair and when they refused the film makers offered them 1000 East Caribbean Dollars (£250) to do it… Funny really but they changed their minds.
He made Marie a humming bird out of a palm leaf, which is currently sitting on a picture in the saloon of the boat.
In the afternoon we wandered into town and we received a wonderful welcome from the locals. Marie bought souvenirs (I can’t say what as they are gifts for family back home) and the chap she bought them from was so enchanted with her that he came out to Alan (Marie wasn’t there) and asked if she wore earrings as he would like to give her a pair. See what I mean!
It’s quite sad really that the people are so poor as they have been wonderful to us and there’s no sign of jealousy. It broke our heart when “Christian”, a boat man paddled out to us on a surf board selling fruit, poor thing was struggling to make a living. We now have a boat full of fruit, which we’ll probably throw away. We don’t like to barter here as the locals are having a hard time.
You can see evidence of Hurricane Lenny on the shore. Large ships strewn on the beach. We were amazed that no one had salvaged the boats or the insurance companies hadn’t paid up to remove them.
The Clan with Hurricane debris behind
All in all another superb day in paradise and curry for dinner tonight!!
Portsmouth High Street
Wednesday 24th January 2007
Sad day today as we have to leave Dominica behind and head off to Les Saints (a set of small islands off Guadalope).
Interesting sail as at first we had fluky winds but as we passed the headland the winds stabilised and we had a cracking sail.
Another English boat had the cheek to overtake us but Nadezhda being Nadezhda wasn’t having this so we tweaked the sails and eventually left them behind. I wanted to put the staysail up so that we could really slam dunk them but I was out voted as the general opinion was that they had been humiliated enough, damn!
It turned out that the other boat belonged to Stewart & Tara (they came on the waterfall trip with us in Roseau) being a true Lady & Sportswoman I said “We didn’t realise it was you but it wouldn’t have made any difference as we still wouldn’t shown any mercy” Tara was gracious in defeat and said that “Mange Tout didn’t like to be beaten”. Shame!.
We anchored at Anse Du Bourg a sizeable bay in Terre De Haut, Les Saintes.
It was a complete culture shock! Smart restaurants, chic boutiques and very, very French ( well it is a French Island).
It’s a very pretty little village with painted houses that sparkle like new coins. The streets were awash with tourists that had been taken from a cruiser to expand the islands wealth by spending vast amounts of money in the shops. Very different to its poor neighbour Dominica.
Provisioning was a dream! We had quiches, pate and lovely French bread. It was the most delicious thing we had tasted in months, as we haven’t had pastry since we left the UK.
Pete bought me a lovely brown cotton dress and Marie treated me to a brightly coloured sarong. Thank you!
It was a lovely island but totally out classed by Dominica, the locals being French don’t smile and if you want to buy something so be it but don’t expect them to be grateful as if you don’t buy it there’s many and I mean many more that will.
I think the problem for me was that I totally fell in love with Dominica and both Pete and I prefer less manicured islands (Mustique is exempt as it had been a dream to go there).
We decided later on in the day to move and anchor off another small island “llet a Cabrit” which was very pretty but the problem was space. The anchorage was crowded and there was no room at the inn. We dropped the anchor and then decided that we were too close to other boats and the shore and if the wind picked up (and it did) we could find ourselves in a nightmare situation. Pete and I do not like to be anchor buddies with other boats so we decided to head back to Anse Du Bourg.
On the way back a squall hit us, Marie & Allan took refuge and Pete & I got wet and cold due to high winds. Good job that we moved!.
Another Fine Sunset - Les Saintes
Friday 26th January 2007
We left Les Saintes bound for Guadaloupe relatively early at 08:30am.
Being at bit flash we decided to sail off the anchorage, so, up went the main sail, anchor up and off we went.
Light winds all the way until we reached Guadaloupe. It then became a broad reach until we rounded the headland and then the wind just died.
Pete was concerned about the entrance to the marina as the pilot book had said that the entrance was very narrow and eyeball navigation was a must and at no cost must you enter at night. (Pete: The hurricane of 1999 had collapsed part of the breakwater into the entrance).
All crew were put on red alert and I was told to stand at the front of the boat and give directions of which way to turn, big responsibility, urgghh!.
The water was quite murky and, with the sun in the front of us, it made it hard to see what was in the water. I advised Pete to stay to the port side of the entrance and once past turn hard to starboard making a dogleg manoeuvre.
It was a very narrow entrance and once inside you wouldn’t have a lot of time to mess around.
Very sad place as the marina had been decimated by hurricane Lenny.
Hurricane Lenny was a category 4 hurricane with an erratic track and very late in the season, it started as a depression off the coast of Jamaica and turned into a hurricane in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Guadaloupe was hit by sustained winds of 130 knots and that was excluding the gusts. In the gusts they would have experienced winds well in excess of 150 knots. The great storm of 1987 would have had winds of half of the strength of Hurricane Lenny.
Once inside there appeared to be no space as the pontoons were all condemned with signs saying “Mooring Prohibited” and “Moor at your own risk”.
We spotted a Dutch Boat and asked if we could moor alongside. At first we had no response from inside the boat but eventually a lady came out and said we could. I don’t think she was being rude but here husband wasn’t there and she didn’t speak much English.
The whole marina had been wrecked with pontoons laying broken in the water and a yacht lying on the side with holes in the hull. Amazing that they had been left to rot as Lenny hit Guadaloupe, November 1999.
No one had bothered to clear up the mess and it had just be left, a real pity.
We left Nadezhda to wander into town and the marina manager came up and said we couldn’t leave the boat there as it was dangerous to have three boats tied up together against the stricken pontoon (the Dutch had tied up against another boat) he was concerned that if the winds picked up the pontoon couldn’t hold us all. No problem though as he told us to tie up against a Catamaran.
The town was an absolute surprise as it was huge, loads of shops, restaurants and it was bustling with life. Typical big city.
Being a French Island the provisioning was excellent and we bought a spit roasted chicken, delicious!
The good thing about moving alongside the catamaran was that we had shore power and water, so we charged Nadezhda’s batteries and filled up one water tank (90 gallons).
The plan was to stay Basse-Terre for a couple of days to take a trip out to the interior but being French, and us not speaking that much French, it proved an impossible task, mind you Alan did very well but there was nowhere offering excursions.
So in the morning we decided that we would move to Pigeon Island which is a Cousteau Marine reserve.
The Jobson crew
Saturday 27th January 2007
Pete went off to find the marina manager to pay our dues in the morning and he was nowhere to be seen.
Alan wrote a letter in French explaining that we “Hadn’t done a runner” and we had tried to pay and gave the boats contact details. We don’t like leaving unless we pay for the services we use.
Pigeon Island was beautiful with stunning beaches & amazingly gorgeous clear water.
On shore there wasn’t not a lot apart from the usual tourist fodder, dive shops, gift shops and bars.
Pete & I decided to go for a snorkel on the reefs and Marie & Alan relaxed on the boat. I think she was glad to see the back of us so that she could have a wash in peace!
The snorkelling was brilliant! Tall yellow coral like chimney stacks, brain shaped coral and loads of different types. Huge brightly coloured fish swimming all around you. Bottom dwellers that even when Pete nudged them they didn’t move, awesome!
It really was a divers paradise.
We all decided that we would head straight for Antigua as it would nice for Marie & Alan to have some time in one place before they head off home, so early night for all as we would have to leave at 03:30 the next morning.
Sunday 28th January 2007
I didn’t sleep well at all so I got up earlier than the others to get the boat ready and made rolls for the journey to Antigua as I knew that once we were on our way Alan would be hungry. Alan doesn’t just have “Lucky Legs” they’re also hollow as well!!
Strange splashes could be heard in dark and I could only assume it was turtles.
Just before the alarm went off I woke the skipper up with a cup of coffee.
It was very strange leaving the anchorage as until you got your night vision you couldn’t see the island in front of Pigeon Island. Scary stuff!
Beautiful moon and starlit night!
Pete had decided the night before that we would motor past Guadaloupe as the winds would be fickle around the island.
After about an hour I decided to leave the “Boys” to it and I retired back to bed to try to get some sleep.
I heard the sails come out and I decided that I would get my book and go back to bed for a little longer, fat chance as before we knew it we were on ear and racing along at well over 7 knots and having to reef the mainsail.
Pete and Alan did a sterling job at managing Nadezhda (I kept out of the way) but it was going to be a tough journey as someone had forgotten to tell the weather that the weather forecast was for more easterly winds. So there we were closed hauled pounding into the waves, at this point Marie got up!
As we sailed passed Montserrat I noticed that there was this billowing mushroom shape cloud above the volcano, Pete, Marie & I watched as the volcano poured out an avalanche of pyroclastic ejectile, It was a shame that we hadn’t sailed past it at night as it probably would have glowed red in the dark.
Montserrat has a very sad history as it was once known as the Emerald Isle due to its beautiful lush green hills. This was soon to change as Montserrat was hit by a succession of fearsome hurricanes. Then to deliver the coup de grace Galway’s Soufriere erupted in 1997 burying the entire south of the island. The volcano threw tons of ash up to 10,000 metres into the air. A few lives were lost due to too much information being given and people not being willing to leave their homes.
The airport in Antigua was closed and people were told to remain in their homes and they weren’t allowed out for a few days. Antigua is approximately 30 miles from Montserrat so you can imagine the force of the explosion.
Luckily the wind veered and we ended up on a broad breach bounding into English Harbour.
Sunday 28th January 2007
On entering English Harbour we decided to motor around to see if any other boats we knew were in.
Amazing place as there isn’t just one anchorage and you can motor right inside to the mangroves.
Everywhere was busy but we decided to drop the anchor in the mangroves. After dropping it we decided that we were too close to other boats and if the wind picked up there would be problems so went off in search off another spot. Good decision as the boat to the side of us had a barking dog & I couldn’t put up with it barking all day & night.
Eventually we found a spot near the harbour entrance over looking Galleon Beach.
As we were in earlier than planned we ventured into English Harbour to clear customs and immigration.
We were very surprised as we expected the area to be quite big and bustling with lots of restaurants and bars, in fact it’s quite small but a very pretty and well restored national park.
Pete and Alan went off the do the paperwork and Marie & I wandered around the gift shops and boutiques.
The formalities took some time and as we waited for them, a local Antiguan lady started to chat to us. She very proudly declared that she was 86 and was due to retire soon and her grand daughter was going to take over from her. Mrs Beatrice Baltimore was a very good businesswoman as she would sit outside customs and chat up the yachties so that they felt obliged to give her their washing. She was a lovely old lady who sat there with a mobile and handheld VHF seeking opportunities. She was training her granddaughter the art of working the tourists.
Monday 29th January 2007
Another warm day in paradise! We wandered into Falmouth Marina, which is only a 10 minute walk from English Harbour.
This is the place to boat watch! There were super yachts everywhere! One motorboat was so huge that it had a helicopter, 40 foot yacht with its own crane (on the deck), speed boats, jet skis and many more gizmos! Marie asked a guy cleaning it who it belonged to and he very politely said he couldn’t say…. It turned out to belong to a Russian guy who had made his money in oil and he also owned Chelsea Football club.
The River Hamble has a reputation of being a place of extreme wealth but it pales into comparison compared to Falmouth Marina. The floating there is obscene! We got carried away with the glitz of it and ordered towels with the boats name on them!
Returning in the dinghy we noticed our friends Chris & Barbara from Dream Or Two milling around the anchorage, it was good to see them again.
As it was getting later we decided to go for sundowners at Catherine’s Bar. It is the best spot to watch the pelicans diving into the water to get the fish! These birds are amazing as they are big with a huge wingspan. The circle the fish and then just free fall into the water, how they don’t break their necks I don’t know. Superb to watch.
Sometimes they change their minds and you can see them pushing their skinny little legs backwards to stop themselves, very funny!
Barbara, Chris, Sally, Cameron, Michael (all from Dream or Two) and Patricia from If Knot Y Knot joined us for a drink….
I can’t say too much but I can say that Marie & Alan’s rum must have been very strong. Marie took a liking to Michael and sat there stoking his head and Alan talked ten to the dozen… it was quite an eventful evening!
Joining-in with the Spirit of the place
Tuesday 30th January 2007
Today was a visit to the capital of Antigua, St Johns.
We took a local bus and Marie was horrified at how fast & close the driver was too other vehicles.
The bus was packed and a lady with her little boy dressed in his school uniform got onboard and sat next to Pete, Kevan (he had his name on his school bag) who was only about 5 was a gorgeous chubby faced little boy, he looked up from under his school hat with these lovely chocolate brown eyes and said to Pete “Good Morning”… It was so sweet!
As we approached St Johns you could see a huge cruise liner towering above the town.
Brilliant shopping and Pete managed to get his wonky tooth fixed (his cap was loose).
It’s interesting but the local men (all islands) really warm to Pete and I don’t mean it in a funny way. They seem to gravitate towards him and end up treating him like their best friend. The men are “mens men” and when we are approached they mainly talk to Pete. Its almost like the lady should be seen and not heard much.
Wednesday 31 January
Today we visited Shirley Heights, which was named after Governor Shirley.
We took a taxi to the old fort and as we were staying at the Nelson Dockyard we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee into the National Park. The view from Shirley Heights was breath taking as you could see for miles. You could see English Harbour, Falmouth Harbour and all the reefs surrounding Antigua.
Shirley Heights with the anchorage in the background
It really was stunning! It must have been a brilliant look out as on a good day you could see Monseratt and Guadaloupe. No boats would be able to sneak in without being spotted from Shirley Heights.
English and Falmouth Harbours from Shirley Heights
We walked back down through the National Park (30ish minutes) through the heat of the day and a local Rasta said hello he was impressed that we had walked, as most other tourists took a taxi.
Antigua is lovely! The locals are very friendly & the Caribbean really does understand how to treat its visitors. We saw a sign somewhere that said “Tourism is everybody’s business”.
Thursday 1st February 2007
Today we decided to have a lazy day as it was Marie and Alan’s penultimate day so we wandered over to Fort Berkley and generally just lazed around. Pete had to go to see immigration to take Marie & Alan of the crew list. Loads of paperwork and time spent and all they did was draw a line through their names! Madness!
We had dinner out in the evening at “Trappas”
Friday 2nd February 2007
Sad day today as Marie & Alan are jumping ship and flying home.
During the evening the wind had picked up and all boats in the anchorage were messing about in the morning a French boat came very close to Nadezhda. Pete jumped up to fend the French boat off.
A real dilemma as we wanted to take Marie & Alan to the airport but we were nervous of leaving the boat due to gusty winds and the boats all coming to close to each other. Marie took the decision and said that we should stay with the boat.
We have had a wonderful time with them and the boat will seem very quiet.
Our plan is boat jobs until Holly arrives on the 14th Feb.