March 11-14 Iles des Saintes to Dominica
We put many a footsteps in Bourg de Saintes. It was a place that had an island feel, yet it did have a bit of a touristy touch to it. But all in a tasteful manner. We found one restaurant that had excellent sourdough bread. It made very tasty sandwiches.
On Friday, we went to check out at customs and immigration and to our surprise found out that it was a holiday (not mentioned in our book). We investigated and found it was a religious holiday dealing with a post Mardi Gras day. Well, I could think of worse places to have to spend another day. The rest of the day we went to another beach on the eastern side, snorkeled a bit, then went back to the boat and took the dinghy to explore some other areas of the island more easily accessible by boat and did some more snorkeling.
We went to customs first thing Friday morning and checked out. We were on our way to Dominica by 10am. With a fresh breeze out of the northeast, we had a comfortable beam reach for the short sixteen mile crossing.
From the stories we had heard, Dominica had a mystic and somewhat dangerous side to it. There were reports of boats being boarded at night by thieves and the island was known for having “boat boys”. These fellows hang out waiting for incoming yachts and approach them wanting to provide yachting services such as tours, laundry, trash, fuel, water and security.
We’ve were given a couple of boat boy names to utilize. Albert and Martin are reportedly reliable guys who provide general yacht services, tours and boat security. Sure enough, as soon as we entered the harbor, a couple of boats approached us. We kept our eyes open for either Albert or Martin (names written on their boats). We shooed away a couple of fellows that approached us. Sure enough, in a few minutes Martin showed up. A nice guy, he greeted us and we told him that we’d like to use his services. Somehow this gets transmitted to the rest of the boat boys and after that no one else bugs you. Apparently, all of them have banded together and have provided yacht services and a measure of security in the night time to the yachts they service.
Still, knowing that boats have been boarded by thieves, we took extra precautions by locking things up on deck and hoisting the dinghy out of the water (engine and all) and locking it to the boat.
Enough emphasis on security. One of the things I love doing after a day’s sail is to get into the water. Mind you, the water is a comfortable mid-to-high 70’s. So after a hot and sweaty sail, to be able to jump into clean, clear and refreshingly (warm) water simply is outstanding. A light rinse with fresh water afterwards, and I’m a new man. Ah, the simple pleasures are the best. A glass of wine follows soon afterwards. Seriously, can it get any better?
The top thing that Dominica is known for is its nature. The saying goes that, if Columbus were to return today to all of the islands he visited in 1492 and 1493, the only one he’d recognize would be Dominica, for it has changed the least. It remains verdant, wild and rustic.
On Saturday, we got up and went to the fresh produce market. It definitely was third world qualities, but offered up lots of good looking vegetables, eggs and breads. The afternoon was busy with what is called the Indian River trip. More on that later.