Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Hi folks. It's been a while since I told you where we were and since then, we've sailed the Isles des Saintes and Dominica.
At Bourg de Saintes, we anchored out and went for dinner and shopping (food, etc.) The next day we had fresh croissant and baguette from the boulangerie in town for breakfast and then rented 3 scooters. Yvon, Hayley, and Dan drove, while Carolyn rode with Yvon and I changed back and forth between the other 2. We went up the very steep hill to tour Fort Napolean and the cactus garden there and then drove along the small island, touring all the beautiful beaches. We walked and swam in the crashing surf and picked up shells and broken bits of coral to study.
As the stores were closing (1/2 an hour earlier than posted - island time, apparently), we had a 'military' shopping mission, spreading out through the stores, finding our assigned items with an impressive focus and barely getting out as the sliding door at the front went down. Later, back at the boat, we watched the seabirds swoop down, scooping fish up from the water in their feet and beaks. After another beautiful sunset, I lay on back on the bench in the cockpit, staring up at a sky full of stars, being very happy and relaxed.
After the Saintes, we sailed to Dominica, my favorite place so far. We were met 2 miles out from port by a tour guide in a small wooden boat who said, "Welcome to paradise!" And he was right. That afternoon, we went on a river tour and two of them paddled us upriver while pointing out the plants and animals and birds and telling us all about what it is like to live there, to grow up in the rain forest environment. We learned about 'mountain chickens' (big frogs), and river crabs and mountain crabs (actual crabs), and stopped in the middle of the rain forest where the river narrowed too much to go forward. There was a small, outdoor bar with a thatched roof, where they served rum punch of every description - the coconut was especially delicious. There was dancing and beautiful flowers, and hummingbirds and lots of smiles. On the way out, Hayley tried her hand at rowing - a bit back and forth, but not such a bad job!
The next day, the same tour guide arranged for us to have a driving tour to the other (east) side of the island and the true rainforest. It was so beautiful and lush and green and you could feel the clean air fill your lungs. It was one of the most moving places I've ever been and I never wanted to leave. There were flowers and birds and plants everywhere, the air is thick with birdsong. We stopped at 2 different pools and swam under waterfalls - it was magical!
On the way there, we stopped at a local roadside stand and bought some authentic Carib (native)handicrafts and fruit, which the woman's son went and picked fresh for us - baby bananas, a papaya and a bunch of mangos. We stopped at a restaurant for an amazing fresh lunch of fish (or chicken, but I think we all had fish) and local vegetables and fruits. It was the best meal any of us have had here and we told the chef and waitress that and they gave us a list of everything we'd eaten, plus 2 of the ingredients - 2 dasheen roots (kind of like potato, though it looks more like a scratchy turnip), and 4 plantains. They were so happy and friendly and generous.
That night, there was a BBQ and dancing on the beach and we all attended. Lots of other 'yachties' from around the world were there, as well as the locals and we had a wonderful time. At the end of the evening, they made an announcement about Yvon's 65th birthday and Yvon and Caroline's anniversary and the two had a special dance. It was lovely! We've since sailed back to Jolly Harbour at Antigua, seeing lots of flying fish, a turtle, and even a couple whales very close to our boat, spouting and diving, and waving their tales at us. I'll fill in the blanks later, but for now, want to get back outside for another amazing caribbean sunset. Tomorrow, we go north on Antigua, to snorkel the wreck of a boat at Deep Bay. I love this!!! And love to all of you at home!