Friday, 26 April 2013



The following day, we dinghy into the Marina to find Customs and Immigration and clear in. The water is a rather unbelievable shade of turquoise and the little beaches around us are very white. This really is picture postcard Caribbean. Jolly Harbour reminds us a lot of Rodney Bay – it is also a man- made lagoon with houses right to the waters’ edge and many have moorings for all sorts of craft.
Jolly harbour Looking to the Anchorage
It always seems to be such a small world here. Looking for the dingy dock in the Marina we see 'Frogslexe' who we last saw in St. Lucia. It is rude not to say "Hi" so we stop for a coffee.

We manage to check in later in the morning, usual procedure, forms in quadruplicate, (with some really odd questions for a yacht - but not for a large cargo vessel I suppose like “How many tons of explosives do you have on board?”). We visit Customs, then Immigration, back to Customs and then finally the Port Authority. All cleared in and with our clearance papers make for the Budget Marine Chandlery to get our goods duty free.

The crew of 'Tulu' are also shopping, so after buying our new battery charger we have lunch with the 'Tulu's' at the snackette by the entrance to the boatyard.

Suitably refreshed (and thoroughly full) we tackle the marina about a fridge engineer. We have arranged for the engineer to look at the fridge on Saturday morning so we will move into the Marina.

Marina life will allow us to get our washing done, charge the batteries, try to find the intermittent fault with our deck flood light, purchase a new anchor light (the old one has a fault with the light sensor), fit the new charger and have our fridge looked at. We also need to find a solution to our sagging Bimini. The canvas seems to have stretched so it tends to flap wildly when we are sailing

Rowena goes up the mast
Our engineer finally shows late on Saturday afternoon, he was expecting a call from the marina as to what berth we were on, we have been waiting since 10.00, seems there was a communications problem. You learn to chill! Good news is the fridge is OK; bad news is that there is a bit of a voltage drop between the batteries and the fridge so with low batteries the fridge won't start. The solution is a rewire and remove a couple of 'dirty' switches from the circuit. Short term we must keep the batteries better charged - that is where the new charger comes in. Our new 40 amp, 3 stage 'smart' charger will charge the batteries much better than the old 'trickle' charger and work off the petrol generator as well as Europe and USA shore power voltages.

Unfortunately our recently purchased flexible solar panel has died due to the ingress of water, I think we will be using the generator more and relying less on the solar panels.

Saturday was laundry day and Sunday was spent fitting the new battery charger.

Marina life is such a social whirl, ‘Happy hour’ at the bar every evening, new people we meet on our pontoon, birthday celebrations, a new restaurant to try out. Amongst all of this social activity we still manage to get most of the jobs done. The Bimini is almost as good as new, although still sags a little in places, the deck flood is still intermittent, but the batteries are now better charged, the laundry is done, boat is cleaned, water and diesel tanks are full and we have a new anchor light.

We cannot leave here without a dive so we have booked a dive with Jolly Divers for Wednesday. 

It has been very windy for the last few days and many boats have come into the marina from the anchorage. The day we dive it is still windy; the dive boat plays ‘submarines’ on the way to the first dive site, Snapper Ledge. Getting off the boat is always easy, getting back on is going to be more difficult.


The dive is on Cades reef to the west of Antigua. Diving here is always lovely, like swimming in a tropical aquarium, So much marine life and lots of Coral and Sponges. The second dive is equally as good and we see a stingray. A really shallow dive at 12m, as usual we are the last two up. Paul, our dive guide, (who dives in a clean white shirt, Bermuda shorts and a green dicky bow tie) said we could stay down as long as we like. After 76 minutes it was getting a bit cold, but the swell was increasing and the people waiting on the boat would not be having a very nice time. Also, getting up a bouncing ladder with all your gear on is not easy.

Spanish Hogfish
The other dive guide took a spear gun down with him and was hunting the invasive Lion fish, so he kept peering under ledges and in holes. He shot one, but it was in its hole and he did not get it out. In Antigua all the dive centres keep a central data base with sightings and kills, to try to combat the pest.
Webb Burfish

Southern stingray
Spotted Drum
Flamingo Tongue

Some afternoons we walked across to Jolly Beach for a swim, about 10 minutes. The sand is very soft and the water warm and also turquoise, but a bit milky near the beach. There are a few cafes here and a few stalls with T-shirts and sarongs, etc., making it a very pleasant beach.

Jolly Beach
On Friday we took the bus to St. Johns, the capital, which took about ½ hour. The roads are mostly quite good so the bus travels at speed, so we presume the potholes take the driver by surprise as much as they do us. Most of the houses are quite small and many are raised off the ground. Its’ quite built up all along the route with many small snackettes, groceries and rum shops and quite a few schools.

The traffic really increases as we reach St. Johns and we stop at the bus station opposite the market. First stop is the Post office as Frogslexe needs to collect a parcel and then we wander round the touristy Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay, which used to be the slave market. There are 3 cruise liners tied up and hoards of people coming off them. The two Quays are now just shopping centres for tourists and sadly most of the goods are really just souvenirs. There are some nice little galleries and cafes, but we had lunch in town at a local café, much more Antiguan!

V C Bird 'Father' of the Antiguan Nation
At the top of the harbour there is a small river inlet with a bit of mangrove which is covered in birds. Cattle egrets, common egrets and pelicans in the trees and the water.  Frigate birds soaring and some even sitting on light poles. Laughing gulls adding to the melee and (Another new bird for me) Black-winged stilts wading. There were more waders but we could not get close enough to identify and of course, going on a day out to town I did not take binoculars. All this, right in the town centre.

 The Power of the US$
A lot has been said over the years about the power of the US$, now we have seen the healing power of the US$ with our own eyes. While waiting for Rowena to come out of a shoe shop (yes she did buy a new pair of shoes) a guy shuffles up saying “I’m sick Mon, gimme sommat for food”. We politely decline and he approaches an obviously American tourist further along the street. Our tourist gets out his wallet and peels off a couple of notes. Before you can say “Lazarus”, our ‘patient’ has rushed up the street almost at a run and disappeared around the corner, the medicine these guys crave either comes out of a bottle or in herbal form and smoked! I was thinking, maybe this is a new kind of US healthcare.

After a bit of shopping in the craft market and some nice fruit and veg in the other market it was back to Jolly Harbour. The weather is still not good for going to Falmouth or English Harbours so we decide to go by bus the next day as it is Classics Week.

While only 12 miles or so by sea, it takes us 2 buses, first to St. Johns then another bus to English Harbour. We have a look around the historic dockyard and watch the classic yachts come in from their racing. Conditions have been quite rough and 3 yachts have been dis-masted. It is heart breaking to see such damage to really beautiful yachts. We will delay our passage round until the winds and swell have calmed down a bit.

English Fish & Chips evening

We had a great night out at Shells, traditional fish, chips and mushy peas in a red double decker bus near the marina. Excellent food and and very entertaining waitress. You must go here if you come to Antigua.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Guadeloupe & Les Saintes

A brisk sail North again, wind from the ENE (it always seems to be 20kts+)!

The Saintes are a small archipelego, a dependency of Guadeloupe just to the south of the main island. They are a must visit place when cruising around here. Entry from the south looks interesting as the waves are crashing against the rocks and the swell is pushing us in towards the islands.

The 'Passage du Sud Est' is the one we have chosen, it looks very narrow but as we get closer we can see that the gap is probably close to 1/2 mile wide. At this time we drop the mainsail as the wind looks to be dead downwind and we don't want an accidental gybe as we come between the islands (good move)!

We scream through the gap with wind and waves behind us and have a controlled gybe to bring us towards the anchorage at Basse Terre. With the wind heading us we motor the last mile or so and look for a mooring. The pilot book says we can anchor but the best anchoring spots have been laid with mooring buoys. There is an option to anchor further out but it is very exposed to swell. As it is most of the buoys are taken and we have a very rolly night. (Just think we were charged €9 per night for the privilege).

The bay at Basse Terre

The following morning we can see a vacant buoy close to the lifeboat so we are on the move, thankfully this is a much better spot.

Ashore the village is pretty, almost too neat and tidy, we wander around and find where we need to check in which we were told is in the Mairie. However it has moved and is now in LMS, the office of the guys that collected the mooring fee, now why didn't they tell us that when they took the fee? Especially as we were flying a 'Q' flag.

View from the dinghy dock

All checked in and we have found the supermarket. Lunch at a local Pizza place. We really should have asked how big they were before ordering one each.We ended up with a 'doggy bag'. Most shops are only open until lunchtime, some open in the afternoon (3-4 ish until 5 ish).

Main street

Watching all the scooters zipping around we decide to hire one. This is a good way to see the island. We can probably drive around all of it in a couple of hours. We want to see the fort and museum but it is only open in the morning so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Born to be wild!

The fort is interesting, built in the 1850's it looks much older. There is a whole room dedicated to the battle of the Saintes, (1780 something) where the French basically refused to fight and lost badly to the English fleet commanded by Admiral Rodney. There is also a Columbus room (well he did find the island!).

Zipping around the island on our hired motor scooter we did all the bays, the airstrip and the town. We even discovered a wholesale booze shop, close to the dinghy dock, selling wine, beer and cold drinks by the case at excellent prices.

Marigot bay - note the goats

Catch of the day!
Twice upon returning to the boat we saw dolphins swimming right next to it and one day people were in the water with them. There were many pelicans all round the island, the further north we go the more common they become, but are still great to see.

To think we worried about seagulls!

We had 4 days here and really fealt like we had seen the island. Time to move on.

We sailed North early on Monday morning towards Guadeloupe's main island. A good sail in flat waters, we were soon hit by a rain squall. We were approaching Basse Terre marina so called them on the VHF (no answer). Anchoring outside did not offer much shelter so we sailed on. The Pilot book showed a small bay, Anse a la Barque, where we could anchor. Motoring in it was full of local boats on moorings and nowhere to 'drop the hook'. Next stop was the marine reserve inside Pidgeon Island. The pilot shows a small area to anchor close to the cliffs to the North of the bay.

Anchored on sand in 6-7m it was a bit rolly but there were turtles swimming around the boat so we went for a snorkel. Absolutely beautiful, Green turtles feeding on the sea grass, a small coral reef closer inshore had an abundance of life on it. If it had not been so rolly we would have stayed another night. On the morning we left there were five turtles on the surface at the same time, our book says Green Turtles are almost extinct, but they seem to be plentiful here. We had planned to go on as we wanted to get our fridge looked at and our water tanks were running low. We had not seen a readily available water tap in either the Saintes or Guadeloupe.

A Green Turtle

The wind was light and fluky when we left, occasionally blowing fiercely down the valleys, motorsailing was the best option to get to Deshaies. Anchored in the bay we were in perfect shelter. Ashore there was little in yacht facilities. The village was attractive and had a few shops and bars. There was a bit more of a Caribbean feel to the town but still with a very French flavour.


The trip to Antigua is over 40miles so we will have an early start. Motoring out of the bay at 0615 we are hailed by a Frenchman waving wildly in the direction of a dinghy sailing out to sea. We set off in pusuit of the dinghy, the hapless owner wanted us to get him before the dinghy. Fortunately we got to his tender before it had gone too far. By this time he had managed to wake the whole anchorage and was ferried to us to be re-united with his dink.

After this slight delay we are off, heading for English/Falmouth harbour, the forecast F4 easterly has not materialised and we have a NW F5, ugh! This is now hard on the wind, very bouncy with lots of spray. 40 miles of this will not be fun. Plan B, ease the sheets and head for Jolly Harbour on the West coast. Good plan, with a double reefed main and reefed headsail we are off at 7kts with a much more comfortable ride.

Arriving in Antigua
Arriving mid afternoon we find the channel unmarked as it is being dredged, there seems more water outside where the channel is supposed to be. This is not the place to rely on the GPS as some of the charts were last surveyed many years ago and the sands have moved plus the absolute position cannot be relied upon. Anchored south of the 'channel' we find ourselves close to 'Impressionist' - we last saw them in Dominica. It is getting late and we need to pump up our dinghy, we will not make customs before they close at 1600. We will wait until tomorrow.

The adventures of 'Skipper the bear'

For those of you awaiting the next installment of the 'Bear essentials to cruising' I can honestly say that 'Skipper' has been very well behaved. He spends most of his time in shorts at the chart table, closely following our progress as we travelled south from the beaches of Southern Europe, to the Canary Islands, the Cape Verdes and now to the Caribbean.

We were a little concerned that so long at sea without a run ashore would lead him to go wild and 'let his hair down'.

Our fears were somewhat justified as he was frequenting many Friday night 'Jump-ups', consuming large quantities of rum and returned from one excursion with a set of dreadlocks! We were concerned he had become a 'Rastabearian'!

On the French Islands he is more soberly behaved but seems to relish our visits to the former British Islands with some enthusiasm.

He has resumed his position at the chart table complete with 'Dreds' and after our visit to Dominica even has a parrot on his shoulder. He has been warned that this type of behaviour will have to be curtailed if we land on one of the USVI's or a Dutch Island. I believe the response was "No problem mon"! Humm....

We are keeping a tight control on his rum ration and as he doesn't smoke we feel he can get into little trouble when left alone. His behaviour will be watched closely.

Sunday, 14 April 2013



There is water and fuel on the dingy dock at Dominica Marine Services in Roseau and a little pub/take away overlooking the sea just next to it. The taxi drivers hang out here as it is also a petrol station forecourt, so island tours can be arranged here – or just ask Marcus and he will do it for you.

A Small business outside Roseau
If you walk to the right there is a small supermarket and just next to that is Sukies bakery for bread and cakes – we sampled the cherry cake – as good as homemade! To the left is a chandler who also refills gas, so with the showers which are basic but ok there is everything you could want. There is even Island Wash Laundry just across the road next to the football field and he has wifi.

Roseau street scene
We had to check in so walked to Roseau, about 5 mins and then another 5 to the ferry terminal where a witty and charming customs official cleared us in and out for 10days time. He also recommended a good pub, Garage in Hanover Street. We had a beer that afternoon and a lovely dinner on Wednesday night.

The town is vibrant and busy, all kinds of buildings from very old stone ones to wooden houses and modern shops all jumbled together. Loud Reggae music comes from every doorway and most of the vehicles. Fort Young is now a smart hotel, but still has polished brass canons at the entrance. There are several supermarkets and Astaphans which is a department store upstairs and a supermarket downstairs. There are fruit and vegetable sellers on the pavements as well. I am sure you could find anything you wanted here.

Back on the boat we invited Impressionist for dinner to celebrate Richards’s birthday, a pleasant end to the day.

The fridge had gone off in the night – disaster! But a bit of fiddling with the thermostat and it came back on. We asked at the chandlers and they called a repairman for us. He was out of town but would come the next day. Unfortunately, he never did, so the fridge is still in need of a service. We will have it done in Antigua.

From the dingy dock the water is so clear we could see all kinds of sea life: corals and sponges, urchins, cornet fish, trumpet fish, sergeant majors, a trunkfish and others. We swam off the back of the boat but did not see anything – we were moored in 35m! Overhead, the now usual frigate birds and terns as well as more pelicans. Lots of fishermen hauling nets and laying fish traps and almost every day a cruise liner came in, so there was plenty of entertainment. We also had two good green flashes at sunset, so they are definitely not just a legend!

We visited the Dominica Museum upstairs in what was once a grand old building. It was very interesting with the whole history of the island from its volcanic past to photographs after their last hurricane in 2008.There were artefacts from the Caribs, the sad history of slavery, and all the limes in Roses lime juice were originally from Dominica.

Local graffitti
As we were leaving Roseau, we found the mooring lines were tangled up around the mooring buoy. Marcus seeing we were having trouble swiftly came over to help. Not as easy as he first thought. After a bit of a struggle where he lost his cap in the water, then leaning over the bow of his Rib a pristine white T-shirt was reduced to a filthy mess we were off.

Marcus, a public apology for you shirt! We owe you one. You really looked the part of the moorings manager that morning, ten minutes later…. I’ll say no more.

On Good Friday we sailed to Portsmouth – yes, after nearly a year we are back home! Only here, they say Ports mouth not Portsmth like we do.

Portsmouth town
As seen in Portsmouth - I kid you not!
Entering Prince Rupert Bay (Portsmouth) a pirogue rushed to meet us – Monty – he would take care of us, arrange tours, whatever we needed. There is a “Boat Boys” association here, keeping an eye on everything and giving help and information. Once you have your personal guide, no one else bothers you, a great system. We anchored quite close to shore in 5m, though there are buoys if you want one.

The bay is really picturesque; a palm fringed beach with lots of colourful cottages, a few bars and jetties so shore access is really easy. A new hotel is being built on the north side and further round the bright red roofs of the restored Fort Shirley still guard the bay. We had the usual frigate birds and Royal turns flying around joined by some more pelicans and the occasional booby.

The Boat ‘boys’ are organised into PAYS (Portsmouth Assn. of Yacht services). They offer all kinds of services including Island tours, trips up the Indian River, laundry and filling your water jugs. You want it just ask and these entrepreneurs will arrange it. They are all known by their boat names. Our ‘boy’ was Monty- Lawrence of Arabia, just call ‘Lawrence’ on Ch. 16
View across the Island
We had arranged to do a tour with Impressionist. It is best to try to arrange a group tour as it reduces the cost per head. On the Saturday there were 8 of us on a tour of the northern part of the island. We were collected from the boat by ‘Cobra’. Paul our guide took us to the cold sulphur springs, visited a traditional basket weaver, a ‘hippy’ Rasta couple who gave us a talk on herbs and herbal remedies (no reference to where the real herbs were!). Her husband climbed a palm tree and we each had a green coconut. From there we went to Red rocks which are the end of a volcanic lava flow, finally to Chaudière pools and waterfalls (a steep hike down the valley), where we saw jacko parrots coming home to roost. It was dark by the time we got back to the bus from the hike and 20.00 before we got back to the boat. A really fascinating glimpse of the island and island life.

Cold sulphur springs and trees used for boat 'ribs'.

Hillside farming

The herbal garden

Steep trail to Chaudiere pools

On the Sunday Monty collected us at 0830 for a trip up the Indian River (The swamp scene in Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here – very atmospheric, but more importantly a nature reserve). There is a park fee payable and only accredited guides allowed to row up the river. (No outboard motors). We were handed over to Alexis for our trip up river; the guides are very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna on the river. To become a guide they have to study and take a government test so there is a fair amount of investment by the guys.
Red Rocks

At the entrance to the river we saw an iguana up a tree! A kingfisher and an Osprey! As we ventured up the mangroves there were crabs, wonderful trees, and many birds in the tree canopy.

Iguana in the Indian river

It was difficult to see the bird life as we were at ground level but we did see a green heron. We stopped at a small bar at the ‘head of navigation’. A drink and we were rowed back down the river.

Indian river

Outside the entrance the outboard was back on and we were delivered back to our yacht at 20kts!

One of Dominica's 365 rivers enters the sea
Sunday evening was the PAYS beach BBQ. EC$50 per head, food and as much rum punch as you can drink! Music and dancing, all to raise money for PAYS to provide the security in the bay. Previously there had been a great deal of hassle and low level crime against yachts. (These guys are poor and trying to make a living but crime was driving the yachts away).

On Sunday morning Martin (Providence), came round collecting for another of the boat boy’s good causes, C.A.L.L.S This charity helps disadvantaged children and tries to keep them away from drugs and crime, they also help the elderly. How can one not help these people who are trying to help themselves?

 Martin was interesting to talk to, a trained botanist he is a champion for the eco-tourism Dominica is trying to promote. On a mountainous island, a nation of 65,000 with a mainly rural economy, struggles to compete on a world market. Mechanisation is impossible as the cultivated slopes are very steep. Produce is planted and harvested manually, the agriculture is very labour intensive but somehow they manage to export to the other Caribbean islands. The quality of the fruit and veg is excellent!
Anchorage from Fort Shirley
Tree Lizzard at Fort Shirley
Things are not all bad, we talked to a ‘local’ woman in the Laundromat, born in Clapham south London, she and her husband have returned to Dominica after visiting friends and family left behind after their parents immigrated to the UK. They prefer the lifestyle in the Caribbean. I understand where they are coming from!

After 10 days in Dominica it is time to go. Our departure date on arrival was given as 4th April 2013, so to avoid complications we should go.

Our clearance states “This is to certify to all whom it doth concern that Richard Mayhew, Master or Commander of the Galene, burden 10 Tons, navigated with 2 men, GRP built and bound for Les Saintes having on board ship stores, hath here entered and cleared his said vessel according to law” Signed etc. etc….

Cleared being the operative word. Not wishing to fall foul of Dominican customs law we will be off!

The winds are good for our trip north to Isles de Saintes, a dependency of Guadeloupe. A trip of 24 miles ‘door to door’, according to the log this took 4 hours (I will let the readers do the maths!)

We are back in France! But we still have to clear in. This can wait until tomorrow.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Escape from Rodney Bay 2 (Martinique again!)

Escape from Rodney Bay 2 (Martinique again!)

OK, so Wales beat England to win the 6 nations and we went to the IGY BBQ. So on the Sunday we have no excuses not to sail to Martinique. The swells have subsided from the north and the wind has a bit more east than NE.  Grand Anse d’Arlet here we come!

At 10.00 we have the anchor up and we are sailing out of the bay. As we clear the end of St Lucia the wind freshens to 20+ Kts, we already have a reef in so no problems, with the wind just forward of the beam and some 2-3m swells we storm along, spray flying everywhere, thank goodness for the spray hood. Even so we still managed a few splashes over us. The most dramatic was while I was putting up the French courtesy flag and our yellow Q flag, out of nowhere a wave leaped up and broke across the coach roof soaking me right through while I was at the mast.
'HMS Diamond' - The Brits put cannons on it to attack the French fleet off Martinique!
By 14.30 we are on a buoy in Grand Anse d’Arlet. Anchoring is no longer allowed in order to protect the coral. There is no charge for the buoys and the water is crystal clear, snorkelling around the boat in 10m we can see basket sponges, tube sponges, schools of grunts, many other juvenile species and 3 lion fish! Now lion fish are not supposed to be here! They have been introduced and are considered vermin, many islands have a bounty for catching them, as the slogan here says “Eat a Lion fish and save the reef”. We will look out for them on the menu.

Grand Anse d'Arlet

We go ashore the following day to clear customs (via a computer terminal in the local café), a quick walk around, there is not a lot here, 2 small “supermarkets”, a few beach bars and a beachwear shop.

Just look at the size of these caterpillars!

The beach is beautiful, the water clear and the snorkelling excellent. We take advantage of the water tap on the jetty to fill our jerry cans with water. Had we known that there was no water readily available at the capital Fort de France or in St. Pierre, we would have got more.
Beach at Fort de France

By Wednesday we are ready to move on to the capital of Martinique, Fort de France. We wake to cloud; mist coming over the hills and drizzle, looking at the scenery we could be in Scotland although it is much warmer! We motored in the mist the 8 miles to F de F. The town didn’t look too appealing as we approached but the town anchorage is pretty although crowded, (anchored under the fort, a small palm fringed beach and large dinghy dock). As we anchor up there is a turtle swimming next to the boat! Sitting in the cockpit having lunch we can see 2 brown Pelicans on the cruise ship jetty. We used our water catcher and got about 5 litres from one shower before the rain cleared up. It is prettier here than we expected.
Typical street Fort de France
The town is busy (a city really), we do the tourist bit and mooch around, Cathedral, tourist info, Library, Produce market and of course the supermarche for French cheese and wine. Town is a bit scruffy in parts but has some interesting restored buildings. Saint Louis Cathedral designed by Pierre-Henri Pique has a cast iron  skeleton  and filled in with wood and stone. It was originally built in Paris, then disassembled and re-erected here! The Schoelscher Library is also one of his designs, a beautiful building. The outside has had some restoration but it all still needs more. It was started by  Victor Schoelscher, who finally persuaded the government to abolish slavery in the Colonies in 1848, and donated his book collection in 1883.
Yes it really is a Grapefruit!
 We swam off the boat,  the water not as clear as Grand Anse but we can see our anchor is completely dug in (always good to know). The town almost shuts down completely once the shops shut at about 17.30. On Friday we went to a lovely Art Deco hotel for drinks with ‘Impressionist’ and then onto dinner at a Tex Mex, a nice evening but the town feels very ‘French’ as are the prices!
Post Office


We have finally managed to arrange to meet Larus in St Pierre on Saturday so we set off mid-morning for the 2 hour sail. The anchorage is fairly deep and the anchor did not set first time, finally settled in near Larus. A swim and then sun downers on Larus, a lot of catching up to do as we last saw them in Grand Canaria.
St Pierre from the anchorage
St Pierre used to be the capital until a volcanic eruption of Mont Pelee completely destroyed the town in 1902, killing 30,000 people pretty much instantly. The photos taken after the eruption look like those from Hiroshima after the atomic bomb, total devastation. Depending on whose account you read there were either 1, 2 or 3 survivors. The fireball blast also sunk several ships in the bay as well.

Walking around the town was interesting, there are several ruin sites and a volcano centre (unfortunately closed at the weekend). At all of the sites there are information boards in French and English together with an idea of how things were before the eruption.
All that remains of the grand theatre
The most famous survivor is Cyparis. He was in a stone prison cell at the time of the explosion and his cell is still there to see. He was given his freedom and apparently joined Barnum’s Circus in America!
Survivors cell
An interesting, if somewhat sobering sightseeing tour. The town is a shadow of its former self but is now mainly rebuilt. Unfortunately, the riches that come with being the capital have gone to Fort de France.

Arriving back at the boat we discovered that we had been invited for sun downers on ‘Capisce’ a Moody 44 also CA members. So with the 3 CA boats together I suppose it could be called a mini CA rally. Having already invited ‘Larus’ to supper we extended the invitation to ‘Capisce’ and had a bit of a ‘Pot Luck’ aboard Galene. As usual at these events the wine and conversation flows and our early night went awry.
A mini CA Rally!
We still needed to be up early for our sail to Dominica on Monday, the forecast is for a F4/5 from the East, we have been warned that the wind increases in the channel between the islands in the afternoon so we will have an early start for the 40 or so miles from St Pierre to Roseau.

We have planned to be in company with ‘Impressionist’ and will do an island tour of Dominica together to share the cost. We have read that Dominica has the best rainforest in the Caribbean, it certainly has some high mountains several over 1400m.

We left St Pierre at 0715, not bad considering our late night. Breakfast of bacon sarnies on the way, we had very little wind until we reached the top of Martinique then we felt the full force of the trades whistling through the gap, F5/6 with some even higher gusts at times, 2m+ swells with plenty of ‘whitecaps’, we sensibly put 2 reefs in the main and had rolled away some of the genoa (just as well). With speeds regularly over 7 kts we had an exhilarating sail and soon closed Dominica, only to lose the wind in the shadow off the island. We had been advised that Dominica Yacht Centre had good moorings close to Roseau town centre, calling them on Ch16 produced Marcus in his orange rib, a very helpful guy who helped us moor up.
Impressionist arrives
 Our ‘door to door’ journey of 41 miles had taken 6 ¼ hours, an average speed of 6.8kts!

Our mooring at Roseau