Bas du Fort, Guadeloupe

From Martinique, we headed North to Dominica, the “Nature Island”.  It is endowed with spectacular scenery.  The handbook recommended that we go to Roseau to explore the best of it and that’s what we did.  We took a mooring there with Sea Cat, one of several mooring providers who offer tours of the island and booked a tour for the next day.  But before that could happen, I had to check Kincsem and crew into Dominica at the cruise ship dock, a good mile away by dinghy.  This checking in requirement seems kind of unnecessary but one has to remember that most of the Caribbean islands are separate nations, and so is Dominica.   First step on many islands is to fill in an online form on Sailclear and upload all passports and ships papers.  But then one still has to go to customs, immigration and often the local port captain.  In Roseau, I waited to dock my dinghy at the customs dock for ½ hour for some fishing tour boats who apparently have first dibs at docking.  Then I stood in line for another hour behind some cruise ship passengers although I had arrived before them.  But then, I was finally in front of a big, old black lady with a serious demeanor, inspecting our passports and paperwork.  There is an incorrect passport number written down here, a no no!  A correction gets made in the paperwork, in triplicate.  EC$100 (about US$40) please for overtime check-in – it’s Sunday after all!  Well, after all the stamping was finished, a smile escaped from her lips and all was good!

Waiting at the customs dock

Clearance papers in hand, it’s quite a ways back to the boat.  Big dinghy motor is a must!

At 0900 the next day, we showed up at the docks of Sea Cat and met our tour guide Albert, a hulk of a man.    He informed us that first, we had to go to the car repair shop and replace the brake pads on his van.   He said he had noticed yesterday that they were a bit down so better safe than sorry.   Well, maybe he could have replaced them before he picked us up this morning?  Be that as it may, we stopped at a parts dealer to get the new pads, and then at a garage to replace the pads!

Well, we were on our way in no time and Albert did a great job showing us the sights.  At least he tried because the weather surely did not cooperate. 

Mammoth tree which flattened a car in hurricane David in 1979

Mammoth tree in the botanical gardens, consisting of hundreds of small stems

Well dressed gardneress in the Botanical Gardens

Morne Bruce Monument

Trafalgar Falls

The highlight of the day was a 4 hour hike to Middleham Falls, a tremendous waterfall.  The hike felt for most of it a bit like walking in a river!   Albert looked like he was in no shape to walk for 10 minutes much less hike for 4 hours, but he changed into sensible shoes and was a good sport dealing with the steep, slippery terrain! 

Roseau rush hour

We needed another stop in Dominica to check out with customs – Portsmouth was the choice.  Having accomplished that, we departed Dominica and reached Les Saintes, a charming group of little islands that are FRENCH.  Everything is cute, the houses are fixed up and painted, the bread in the boulangerie is PHANTASTIC, and lovely French restaurants await.  Great place to be for a day or two!

On the way to check-in; note the chain to secure the dinghy.  Necessary everywhere in the Caribbean unfortunately.

Checking in at Les Saintes – French keyboard and all! 

View of Terre de Haut, Les Saintes, from a hike up to the Le Chameau tower, 300 meters above the harbor

Well, the next day we had a great sail to Guadeloupe, where we docked in Marina Bas du Fort.  A pretty well maintained, large marina, with many local boats but also some large superyachts – witness the Perrini Navi on the cover page!


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published