Once we finally tore ourselves away from Antigua and Barbuda, we moved more quickly than we usually do. We sailed to Deshaies Guadeloupe and met up with Bennett and Susan on the Outbound 46, s/v Pratique where we boulder hopped up the Deshaies River and swam in the fresh water pools. Fresh produce is abundant here and we stocked up on these tiny sweet bananas.
We stopped for a snorkel in the marine park at Pigeon Island and found it too rough to stay very long. The wind was whipping through the park making the sea choppy and difficult to snorkel in, so we headed back to the anchorage where the snorkeling was great. I'd taken the camera with me in the park but opted to leave it behind when we snorkeled in the anchorage, and that, of course, was when we saw the octopuses (octopi?) chasing each other. And the big turtle. And the even bigger barracuda. I swam back to the boat for the camera and managed to find one octopus but by then he’d given up chasing the other one.
|One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish|
|Captain Skip shakes out a reef|
|Gratuitous photo of Dominica gato ashore|
We’re always happy to be back in Dominica! We missed Albert the last time we were here and when he saw us arrive he zipped over in his new boat. He’d been building it when we saw him last and he gave it the same cool paint job as his old boat. His new boat has the same perfect spot for him to put his feet up and lounge against the outboard when he’s not doing anything else.
As it turns out, our friend Hank has some history here in Dominica and he was helpful in getting materials to Albert to complete his boat. And who should we see sitting in the cafe ashore in Portsmouth after we cleared in? Hank. With friends and crew aboard on their way to St Martin. Crazy small world out here.
|Relaxing in the his ride|
|Starting out in the rain and fog|
|Farmer way up in the hills|
|Quick rest stop on the steep trail|
|Fallen flowers from an African tulip tree|
|Martin drinks from one of the many spring water taps that are everywhere in Dominica|
I was ready to swear off hiking for a few days, but we only had a few days in Dominica this time around and Bennett and Susan hadn’t been here before, so the next day we walked up to the fort on the western Cabrit and got a view of Prince Rupert Bay and Portsmouth.
|Prince Rupert Bay anchorage|
The winds were forecast to be light for the next few days and our plan was to head east to Marie Galante, which we’d been bypassing each time we came this way. Those plans changed when we ran into friends Alastair and Esther from s/v Cranstackie at the Saturday morning market in and they convinced us to hike Segment 11 with them later in the day. We're so easily swayed when it comes to spending more time in Dominica!
|Fishing boats at the pier by the market|
We’ve hiked this portion of the trail a few times and I now know the difference between the trail guide description of “Difficult” (Segment 12) and “Hard” (Segment 11). Note to self: stay off the “Difficult” trails.
We called out for our friend Johnson when we reached his farm, but got no answer. His pig sty was pig-less but his farm looked great and we filled our water bottles with at the spring he took us to when we first met him. As always, there were grapefruit everywhere - and they were a welcome reason to stop along the way for a rest.
|Alastair comes ready for anything.... but only peels a grapefruit with his impressive knife. Skip comes ready to peel a grapefruit.|
Johnson taught us to always travel in the rainforest with our machete, so when there's something bigger than a grapefruit that needs a sharp edge - out it comes.
|The big knife!|
|Skip, Esther and Alastair hear something in the trees|
|Crew of Cranstackie|
|Hot and sweaty hiking buddies|
|Esther with trusty hiking stick|
|In the rainforest|
Muscles still sore, but feeling pretty righteous about all the hiking, we said goodbye to Dominica yet again and headed for Marie Galante.