Friday, 30 May 2014

St Lucia part 2

St Lucia Rodney Bay marina.
Yet again we have stayed here a little longer than planned, its just so easy being in a marina but that will not be a thing for the future as we anchor when we can as its mostly free.
Agua Therapy looking shiny
Water taxi

This is the next boat for us, yeah dream on!
Marigot Bay was on the list of places to go on the way down St Lucia and we had heard all kinds of stories so we thought why not go and check it out by bus first.
Well if you can remember last time here we vowed never to take a bus again here, we should have stuck to it. Again we caught the bus to the capital Castries not exactly a nice place to be I was very careful and kept the camera hidden from sight. We found our way to the next bus to Marigot and asked how much it was, a very kind young man said if we got off the buss early and walked down the hill to the bay we would save 17$ so thats what we did, the bus driver heard him and was not amused.
The buss didn't leave until it was full, the non existent leg room at the back meant I was sitting pretty much sideways in the corner and trying to find a handhold while we bounced or should I say banged over bumps and in and out of holes, never mind being thrown around when we went around curves in the road.

There is a very steep hill down into the bay then even when you get there you can't get to the marina without getting on the water ferry.

This is at the top of the hill where the buss drops you off so we walked down to the marina
For you cruisers the bay is deep with lots of mangroves, as you all know they come complete with mosquitoes. The water is flat calm but winds funnel through, boats were swinging pretty fast so we decided to forget coming in on the boat.

It looks very peaceful but the boats not in the marina were really swinging about

These trees they call a flamboyant tree we saw them last year in Florida  

The hotel is having some renovations

Marigot Bay from the hill looks great but even when you are there there's not a lot to do. Restaurants are expensive, a small supermarket expensive, and the hotel is being renovated closed until next season there is no buss service in or out so it meant either walking back up a steep hill which is longer that the one on the way down, wouldn't have been so bad had I worn trainers instead of flip flops.

So after negotiating a price for a taxi to Castries we took an air conditioned ride back to the capital.

We saw that there was a tropical wave on its way which meant strong winds which also bring big seas so we had to run before it was too late otherwise it would mean staying at least another week.

On friday evening a brig named Unicorn which was used for "the Black Pearl" in the film Pirates of the Caribbean sank off the top of St Vincent, thankfully all the crew were saved by the local ferry we think. She went down in 4 minutes, not a thing you want to hear when you are just setting off.
Both the end of St Lucia and top of St Vincent is reputed for confused seas with big "square waves" I was getting nervous.

Saturday 24th
Checked out and paid up for the marina, it was ok while it lasted.
Slipped and went outside into the bay so we could leave about 0:2 in the morning so that meant it would be daybreak when we reached the tip of St Lucia and that meant we would pass St Vincent and be in Bequia in plenty of light. We then decided to go about 12:30 so off we set for Bequia with 14 -17 knots and not too big a sea.

Next stop Bequia pronounced Bek wi

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Saturday, 17 May 2014

St Lucia feeling nostalgic

14 04 N 60 57 W    St Lucia

So here we are, it seems like it was yesterday when we arrived in St Lucia after the Atlantic. We dropped the anchor outside the entrance to Rodney Bay Marina and tucked ourselves up in the corner. We had a peaceful night after a "mixed" crossing, the usual little wind then as we approached St Lucia the sea was like a washing machine  with a 2 metre swell and wind up to 30 knots and at one stage we had to gybe. There were boats leaving and we noticed them well heeled over, so were we.

So as we wanted to do some cleaning with a fresh water supply we decided to visit Rodney Bay marina again, its not too expensive here for moorings.

Last time I was here I had a wonderful treatment at the spa so off I went for a back massage, facial and pedicure, well a girl has to have some treats.

Since being here I have managed to clean some of the stainless steel and Don has been busy polishing.
The washing is being caught up on too, just normal chores so far.

Don had notice from one of his old work colleagues Martin that he was in St Lucia so we managed to make arrangements with Martin and Sam to meet up on Agua Therapy then we took a taxi to the local mall area. The steaks are wonderful in The Big Chef, we went there last season and yet again they did us proud. We had a great night out.

Martin, Don, Sam and myself
Our dark passenger, pretty big
No idea yet how long we will stay as my back is misbehaving again, so far I have seen an orthopaedic surgeon who has diagnosed Sacroilitis,  I'm having physiotherapy and lots of drugs.

The marina seems fairly quiet, there are a few boats we have seen on the way down through the island chain and one of the catamarans that was here last year is here too on the same pontoon as ourselves.

So thats about all for St Lucia for now I may update later before we leave for Marigot Bay an anchorage on the West side of St Lucia.

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Martinique a short stop

14 35 N 61 01 W dropped anchor in Martinique May 1st 2014
We departed Dominica early to cross through the channel to Martinique, at first the winds were low but increased as normal further out, our plan was to stop at St Pierre on the West coast, we had heard that its a nice place. The seas larger than forecast but so was the wind 21 + knots but fast ish 7.3 knots.
As we neared St Pierre we could see there were no other yachts anchored there which gives us some indication if its a good place or not, the winds were blowing off the town at 20 knots plus a force 6 so on we plod towards Le Marin another huge anchorage. Yet again the wind direction and our track was almost the same so motor sailing again, its a good job we were, 40 knots came to join us thankfully we were reefed and Don took hold on the helm the auto pilot couldn't handle both the winds and sea state.

 1st May 14 35 N 61 01 W
So Fort de France it was, another place we visited previously, we dropped the anchor by the Fort wall which gave us protection from the winds. The dinghy dock is very good there and its a 10 minute walk to check in at the chandlers in town.

Fort de France
Fort de France

5th May
Sailed 27 miles to Le Marin,  passing Diamond rock, its incredible to think in 1804 the British hauled cannons up the  snake infested rock.

Diamond rock
Le Marin has a very big anchorage and a marina, we stopped there on our way up through the chain, the sight was incredible one forrest of masts ahead of us.

A Forrest of masts 
Is there room for us?
These channel markers do look like some sculpture of a lady with a hat on

We didn't intend to stay too long and went ashore for the usual provisions, compulsory visit to the chandlery, lunch and the internet. The laundry is excellent with cafes close by so that came in handy, mind you the power cut during the final phase didn't help much.

As this place is French governed we took advantage of nice coffee, fresh baguettes and smelly French cheese.

This little guy watched us eat lunch
Its a long ride to the dinghy dock to the Leader Price supermarket, it was a bank holiday, the French celebrate the end of World war 2, the shop was open so thats was great. Just a little further are other shops so we walked outside to the main road to take a look. Well returning was a different story, Leader Price had closed, so were the high gates which you have to go through to the dinghy dock. We noticed 4 ladies were also looking to get into the dock but to no avail, they said their yacht was in the marina just around the corner and would call their husbands to collect them, so maybe we could get a lift to our dinghy. I spotted a guy in a car around the back of the shop and asked him nicely if he would open the gate for us all, he obliged but think I saw him shaking his head.

Nothing much more to say about Martinique except it would have been nice to have seen more, we could have hired a car but as we were so far out in the anchorage it wasn't really practical to leave a hire car anywhere.

9th May Friday
14 26 N 60 53 W
Next stop St Ann, not very far but a meandering channel through the shallows, another smashing little place we had stopped at previously. Just a very small town with a few shops, church, restaurants and post office, we do like it here its much  quieter here.

A resort at St Ann we passed this on the way out from Le Marin to St Ann

Next stop St Lucia, feeling quite nostalgic.

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dominica - Roseau Part 2

Dominica Part 2
29th April
15 17 N 61 22 W
So next stop Roseau a 19 mile sail to the capital, last season we avoided this place as we heard a few bad reports all we can say is try it yourself we like it. After picking up another mooring with help from the boat boy we spent in flat seas lovely!
This sperm whale had lots of teeth
Looking down inside a sperm whales belly
The long building is the Anchorage hotel, diving centre and where you can go to book the whale and dolphin trips

The rain forrest on the hills
Nice flat water for a change
We tied up the dinghy to a decent dock took in the gas bottle to be refilled ready to be collected the following day.

This is one of the better dinghy docks, holes, nails splinters the lot
Took a walk into town passing the Fort Young Hotel, highly polished cannons guard the entrance so we took a peek inside and walked through to the bit overlooking the dock. The hotel used to be the fort as you would expect it looks very well done and clean.

The town buzzes with activity colour and, music, street sellers with souvenirs, lots of taxi drivers asking us if we needed their services a nuisance at times but hey they are just trying to make a living.

Telecoms, wouldn't fancy sorting that lot out, reminds us of Cartagena
The tourist information office is close to the cobbled market square next to the museum, when I went in and asked about the museum the lady went to find someone to open it for us as its only open when the cruise ships come in, thankfully there was none in sight. A lady opened the doors to the museum took our money and said help yourself and close the door when you leave, very trusting.

A conch shell was sounded when the slaves were freed
Most of the cobbled areas have been covered over you can see in the old photographs just how it must have been many years ago, the tourist office and museum are very old buildings.

British governors mace

Local dresses this fabric is all over the place
 As we had seen a sign for the botanical gardens we found our way there, its quite a big site with a road that runs through it making a short cut into town, we saw all kinds of trees we have never seen before. One of the trees as we found they call the cannon ball tree, it looks like they are just hanging to drop so we didn't approach too close. When we asked about them he said the balls smell so bad,"devils shit" is exactly what was said.

A huge ficus
The smelly Cannon ball tree
Big palms too
There are two averies housing the endangered parrots the Sisserou but we weren't  able to get very close enough to see them.

This parrot is on their national flag, its my favourite

Have to break this post into 3
Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Dominica part 3 the rain forrest and trip

Dominica Part 3 
we love this place so I took so many photo's

Dominica has 7 active volcanoes, at least they are monitored and all is well at the moment.

Dominica's roads were mainly built by the Chinese, the stadium too but no local workers were used.
A very busy city
Views over the capital

The Chinese built stadium
Huge ferns
Sea Cat, the nickname of the guy real name Octavius who owns the moorings, he arranges and does trips inland himself, he did a fantastic job, we agreed that if we had hired a car there was no way we would have driven on those roads some at least "one in three" the brakes must have been so hot coming down some of the hills.
So off we went on one of his tours into the rain forrest, he stopped at so many places jumped out of the bus and either climbed a tree, poked a tree with a stick or hacked off something to let us try to eat or smell. Some things we would have never have recognised ourselves.

Cashews, didn't realise that the outer part would burn the skin, he said it would be a permanent tattoo so he was very careful splitting and separating it before he gave some to us to try.

Coffee on the tree looks like a red nut, when that was split open you can see its a coffee bean. 
I kept some of the red nuts from the coffee tree but doubt I will roast the beans for a coffee I only have 3.

Coffee on the tree
The cocoa fruit which he split open we sucked off a soft sweet creamy white pulp from the bean. I kept a few beans and let them dry off then split a couple, its dark a little bit red inside, looks like chocolate I tasted it but it doesn't taste much really but we now have cocoa beans.   

The fruit, the white goo is like sweet cream 

There it is COCOA just scrape off the coat

Here it is hanging on the tree

Sea Cat / Octavius with his stick knocking off some cashews 
As we climbed up the hills and mountains the air was quite a lot cooler the views are spectacular with mist surrounding the rain forrest.  Octavius is a very fit guy at one point he climbed up a hillside grabbed a vine and did a Tarzan swing and yell needless to say we didn't copy him.
It was a long way up so glad we didn't have to walk
Mist at that height

Octavia stopped at a roadside place for us to have a drink, even just looking over the side was full of colour with bromides and plants that you can see in a tropical greenhouse.

He took us to the sulphur springs, a hot spring where we lay in water which was like a hot bath.
Had a lovely soak in warm water

Trafalgar Falls
We saw the waterfalls at Trafalgar but declined the swim. 

At Titou Gorge falls Don swam through a gorge to a pool then climbed up 2 waterfalls then returned after jumping off them, that is where they filmed one of the scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean. I stayed with the bags and walked about finding all kinds of plants and so many flowers.

This is close to the cold lake which supplies the water for the hydro electric

There are 2 waterfalls at Trafalgar one they call the father the mother, this is the father, not Don ok
There is a huge wooden water pipe which supplies water for the hydro power plant it runs for miles. The pipe is treated hard wood which is treated with tar to protect it, it was done by the Canadians.

This is expected to last for another 35 years, it runs for miles
The very cold water lake, we declined the chance to swim after Don put his hand in the water
On our return Sea Cat took us back trough the Botanical Gardens and pointed out the school bus that was flattened by a tree when Hurricane David took down many trees and destroyed property.
I do hope no one was on it at the time.

On the return we went to collect the gas bottles, unfortunately the filling station forgot to send them to be refilled so then Octavius very kindly took us way out of town to have it filled, what a great guy he is. So for all you cruisers that want a tour give him a try, he's fun, loves his country and very informative.

So next stop Martinique, not too far and the winds should be good.

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy