Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hike hike hike....

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
In the company of Pratique, we sailed to the crowded Saintes, where we cleared out, then continued on to Dominica.
Pratique flies
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.

Hi Albert!
Relaxing in the his ride
Martin came by and talked us into joining a group the next day to hike Segment 12 of the island trail. The trail guide refers to this segment as “Difficult and Long”. Yes and yes. I guess I underestimated how much sitting around we did in Antigua; this trail was more of a challenge than others we’ve done and we were pretty sore for a few days. It turned out to be a rainy, foggy day as well so our views were limited to what was right in front of us. No matter…. I spent the entire time watching my feet trying not to slip and slide off the trail. I was mostly successful, though the big mud stain on the back of my shorts attests to my lack of success at a few points.

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. 


Eliza said...

Beautiful pictures! That cat has almost the same eyes as Carrie... RIP :( There's no way you could convince me to hike that steep, damp trail! I could barely manage the hill on Virgin Gorda. Kudos for not breaking an ankle!

Wild Goose Sailboat said...

We are nosey neighbors and have enjoyed reading your blog even though we haven't met you. We have a picture of you anchored next to us in Virgin Gorda sound next to Prickley Pear island.

Linda and Hugh on Wild Goose hope you have a great day today! Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?

Wild Goose said...

Just heard you on the radio and wondering where you are anchored? Wild goose is in Honeymoon Bay on Water island. Let us know if you are in the area!