Friday, 6 March 2015


Finally, we were able to leave St. Lucia early on Saturday 28th of February, with some apprehension due to the weather forecast. The new dinghy safely stowed on the foredeck. We had our strongest winds of the season. It never dropped below 25 knots, with frequent gusts in the thirties and a few topping forty. Definitely gale force winds at times adding to a somewhat scary experience for Sarah. This was added to by the 5 metre + swell with very large waves on top. At least it didn't rain. But it did mean it was a busy sail for both the helm and the crew managing the sails. We did make good time up to Martinique and as the winds along the coast had settled decided to press on to Dominica, which is when everything got very blowy and unpredictable. So for a short time we furled the Genoa and motor sailed. The swell in the channel between the island was at is biggest and the wind fluctuated giving no time for a rest. The wheel had developed an annoying squeak and was hard work for Darrell. Then the engine developed a strange vibration so we put out a small amount of Genoa and sailed across to Dominica. Once we rounded Scot's Head everything calmed. The wind dropped and the sea was mirror calm, giving us a gentle sail for the last few miles into Roseau, where we picked up one of our hiking guide, SeaCat's, mooring buoys. An 11 hour, 80nm horrid and exhausting sail completed safely! Everything: boat and sailors were encrusted in salt.
At least the engine was fine when we came into the mooring and the squeak turned out to be the wheel lock being slightly on. So once we had rinsed off some of the salt and sorted the boat it was a meal and a shower for the relieved sailors before an early night.
We were both excited at being back in Dominica and we're looking forward to hiking with friends. We decided to see if we could get some ideas of the hikes we would like to do. So Darrell picked up the sailing guide and guides to the Caribbean, while Sarah went on the Internet. The difference between Dominica and St Lucia was astounding. The first webpage Sarah found was full of information on graded hikes that Dominica offers from the main Watakabuli Trail, that is divided into 14 segments and runs the full length of the island, to a dozen easy hikes, some intermediate and several hard ones. There were instructions and maps, information on buses and which ones needed passes from the forestry and guides. It was a pleasurable way of spending some time, while we waited for customs to open so we could clear in. We had to wait for the 5 o'clock ferry from Martinique to arrive for the customs officers to be available. It should have been quick as Darrell had completed the online form, unfortunately the customs officer's computer was not set up for the online forms, so Darrell had to fill in the two different forms by hand with the four carbon copies. When Darrell asked about immigration, he was asked if he needed a stamp in his passport and when he said, "Not really." The officer replied, "well you don't need to go then!"
That evening we met up with the friends we hiked with last year and discussed possibilities for the next day. However, SeaCat had been out all day and was shattered when we caught up with him about 9pm so we didn't get anything fully organised. All we knew was to be on the jetty for 9am and be prepared for an experience!

SeaCat- would you trust this man?

1 comment:

  1. I trust him! I remember your stories from last year.....