Monday, October 24, 2016

Back to the Leewards!

Our second trip thru the Leeward Islands

Last season (2015) on our way down to Grenada we traveled thru the Leeward islands, these islands start with St Marteen and end at Dominica. This season we are on our way north back up the chain and after a great time in Martinique we left St Pierre and made the 31 mile trip to our first Leeward island of the season Dominica and its lush tropical mountains! Because we found the mooring field off of the capital Rousseau questionable after seeing a boat break free of its moorings next to us we decided to travel all the up island and anchor at prince Rupert Bay and the town of Portsmouth! We love this anchorage because its protected and safe, the boat boys here have organized and provide great service that is helpful but not pushy, they also have created a safe anchorage because they patrol the area and because of this there is very little crime here! The bay is a great jumping off place for exploring the island, the fort on the northern side of the bay is a great hike and well worth the effort to get there. It has been restored and there is lots of history lessons to be learned at the fort. Also there are many hikes that can be started from near the town that led up into the pristine rain forest that surrounds the bay. Perhaps the highlight of a trip to Prince Rupert is the guided boat tour up the Indian river that empties into the bay. We took the tour with perhaps the most famous boat boy in the bay, a young man named Martin!  Martin is a Botanist and seems to know every plant, animal or birds  in the forest! the tour takes about 2 hours and winds back into the  rain forest following the Indian river. Its so shallow that the boat has to be rowed and since its a pretty large wooden boat its a testament to Martin's upper body strength that he can get us all the back up river with no motor! One of the high lights of the river tour is the set for one of the scenes from pirates of the Caribbean, its the shack where Elizabeth meet  Calypso! Very spooky! On our way across the bay to the river we were lucky to see a baby whale who had lost its way, the fisherman in the bay were trying to guide the whale back out of the bay, apparently the baby whales are blind for a while and wander off from their parents often.

As always our time was to short and off we went next headed to another favorite spot of our the islands just south of Guadeloupe, the Saintes! These three islands are the textbook examples of French fishing islands in the Caribbean. Bourg Des Saintes is the main village amongst the three islands that make up the Saintes. There is no anchoring in the Saintes now but the moorings are well maintained and the proximity to the village and the wonderful bakery make up for the cost. We love this village and the vibe you get here, its alive when the ferries bring the tourists and slow and quiet in between. We rented a motor scooter and toured the entire island and its numerous beaches and snorkeling sites. Pain de Sucre is a small cove and mooring field on the south west corner of the island and it provides a great snorkeling site as well as a mooring field. We took our snorkel gear with us on the scooter and enjoyed this spot again! We soaked up the Saintes charm, ate more Chocolate Croissant's, dined on french baguettes and cheeses, doing what we did on the way down, having a great time. But again it was time to move on up the island chain and leave this wonderful place so at first light we pointed Discovery northward again and sailed the 35 miles or so all the way to the northern western tip of Guadeloupe to the harbor at the village of Deshaies another of the wonderful French fishing villages we enjoy so much! In addition to being a fishing village just oozing with the charm that these French islands are famous for, but this village is know for something else, its famous for the winds that rush down from the mountains that surround the anchorage and call for careful anchoring and sleepless nights for the captains! We are lucky that we upgraded to a 65 pound Mantus anchor before leaving the states , its one of the newest and best of the new age anchors and with it even in Deshaies we sleep well at night! Another thing we love about this village is the red Cherry beer they serve, we haven't found it anywhere else but its a treat that we never miss when we come ashore here!
     As always it came time to make for yet another island and we made plans to sail to a new island for us ... Antigua! We missed it on the way south last season so were excited to make landfall there and see what it has in store for us!

At anchor in Portsmouth Dominica

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