Dominica

Dominica is small developing island between Martinique and Guadeloupe. Over 60% of the island is covered in Tropical Rainforests and there are over 1000 flowering plants and 172 different species of birds. The island is famous for it’s infinite water falls and lush mountains, as well as 365 different rivers meandering down from the peaks.

We have been staying in Prince Rupert’s bay, Portsmouth for 5 days now and we plan to leave tomorrow.

On our stay we have travelled up the Indian river to a farm where we tried different fruits and stayed at the bar in nature! On the boat ride we inspected schools of fish and numerous types of crabs along the river front. Our guide, Anthony, explained in depth about how the island wants to be as eco-friendly and non-harmful as possible, so no outboards (motors) can be used while in the river – because of this you have to row.

We also rode up into the hills to spot parrots and lizards/iguanas who had made the homes in the ruins of the effects of Hurricane Maria back in 2017. While we were up in the peaks we also went swimming in a natural pool formed by a water fall running down the mountain. The water was freezing after the warm seas but we really enjoyed being in fresh water!

Apart from travelling around the island I spent the first couple of days swimming and snorkelling although, we had to stop after that because the locals told us because of recent winds, jellyfish had been brought into the bay and some of them can be more dangerous than others…

We’ve also been on plenty of walks to soak in the sun but my favourite was a walk to a view point of the bay close to the fort. The water was so clear even from this height and we saw plenty of wild life like snakes on our way!

Tomorrow we are heading to Marie-Galante which is a tiny island off Guadeloupe. Here we plan to do some brilliant snorkelling!

Daisy

PS. Still missing you, Bingo and Aubrey!

Waterfall swimming.

Buttress roots

Rainforest canopy

Dominica pics

The girls have both written about some of our adventures on Dominica. I’m adding some extra pics of this wonderful island, peopled by cheerful, optimistic and helpful folks. The island was severely battered by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 but they’ve cleared the debris and rebuilt much of it – though there are many houses without roofs still and USAID branded roofing sheets very much in evidence and standing up well to the tests of time. It also affected the rain forest, blowing off the tops of most of the trees so the canopy is sparse and the low growth taking hold, but that’s nature’s cycle.

We’ve enjoyed our sightseeing and our snorkelling and some memorable meals ashore – I’d say coconut rice, small lobsters from the Atlantic coast and peanut flavoured rum punch have been the taste highlights for me.

We set sail at first light tomorrow bound for Marie Galante off Guadeloupe’s south coast.

Polly

Cherubino at anchor in Prince Rupert bay

The view from Fort Shirley which has been meticulously restored with lots of walking trails, ruins, geckos, viewpoints, snakes.

House in Portsmouth. Note the roofing materials.

For the cousins….

Happy memories of watching Pirates of the Caribbean at family gatherings. We saw Calypso’s hut from the second film. Unfortunately it was flattened by a palm tree in Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

I also thought you’d like this picture of plantains growing. Bananas look pretty similar – they both grow upside down.

The fruit here is so delicious and sweet and in Dominica a guy paddles out on a windsurfer board to the boat and sells you bananas and passion fruit and mangoes. I could definitely get used to this!

Love to all from Aunt Polly

Delightful Dominica

We arrived in Dominica yesterday(28th march). The currency is eastern Caribbean dollars. They speak English.We haven’t done loads but we did an amazing river tour up the Indian river. It is fantastically beautiful. In the river you have to row as you are not allowed to use outboards to protect the marine life. Our tour guide,Antony, explained everything is such detail. If you have watched the second pirates of the Caribbean film you might remember Callipso’s hut on the river bank. This hut was actually built on the Indian river! Sadly, last year there was a terrible hurricane called hurricane Maria. It destroyed the hut but you could still see were the hut had been. We saw crabs and mullets. We walked to a fruit farm on the river tour and we saw: pineapples,oranges,sugar-cane,avacadoes,grapefruit and passion fruit. Do you know pineapples actually grow out of a tree near the ground so they don’t hang from trees like most people think. They attach to their tree by their base not their leaves. After that we went to a little bar and me and Daisy had a delicious drink which tasted like cranberries and ginger. I will post pics of the fruits.

Dora:)

That is a pineapple growing. Very strange and very beautiful.

This is the Indian River.

Ps to 6GB. Dora will happily take your questions on tropical fruits, hurricanes, Pirates of the Caribbean sets and all other Dominica related topics!

Adieu Martinique

Apologies for long silence. We haven’t been sitting in a rum induced stupor unable to put finger to keyboard I promise! Actually we just seem to have been very busy since our arrival in Martinique. We spent a week safely tied up to a pontoon in Marina du Marin where there is water and electricity on tap and showers, restaurants, supermarkets all handily nearby. 

It is incredibly surreal, having not seen another living soul for three weeks, to arrive in a bustling port where customs must be cleared, laundry laundered and drinks orders placed. By the second day, all those little interactions become the norm once more and the solitary state fades. We’ve been very productive though, fixing a couple of gear failures (hopefully); restocking the boat’s stores for the next 6-7 weeks, trying to make our website function in the bandwidth of the islands (so we don’t have to depend on the wonderful tech mothership in Brighton to keep in touch); giving the boat,her crew and their clothes, a good clean; keeping up with lessons. We’ve also fitted in some lovely outings. Girls and I visited our first palm fringed Caribbean beach, complete with powder soft sand and picture postcard turquoise waters. All impressed! We made a road trip north to St Pierre, the old capital, that was wiped out in the same manner as Pompeii back in 1902. I will let the girls fill you in more on that and also on Martinique Zoo – a great success and incredible setting in a former rum plantation. 

After a week though, we had distinctly itchy feet and so we are on our way now to Dominica. Chugging out of Marin harbour, it was liberating to feel the sea breeze once more, producing a physical dropping of the shoulders. Conditions are very (and unusually) benign with barely enough wind to sail, but to our delight, excitement came from another quarter when Tom and Daisy spotted a whale off Fort de France yesterday afternoon. We anchored overnight under the shadow of beautiful Mont Pelee, see pic below, and up at first light heading for Portsmouth, Dominica some 50 miles to the north. 

IMG_7112

 

Daisy’s Martinique

Our first island has been no let down on sunny, Caribbean spirit.

We have been to a classic french beach near the marina called ‘Grande Anse de Salines’ which really lives up to its name. The water is crystal clear and the sand a blinding white, palm trees line the beach and behind the shade is plenty of cosy beach restaurants to enjoy the view. Dora and I rented a kayak and went hunting for fish but sadly didn’t see any.

We went away for the weekend to the northern part of Martinique to explore some ’touristy things’.

The first thing on are agenda was to visit St.Piere’s sea front and have lunch. St.Piere was the capital of Matinique until in 1902, the island’s volcano erupted and killed the whole population of the town. A prisoner who was locked up for murder survived because his cell walls were so thick the volcano eruption couldn’t destroy them.

The other thing we did that day was go to ’zoo de Martinique’ just outside St.Piere. The spacious enclosures are made out of the ruins of a plantation in the early 20th century and a wooden path and step bridge leads you through the undergrowth. Dora marvelled at the pack of racoons running around the place and there were loads of tortoises tottering about their homes.

The next day we headed back into St.Piere where we inspected the ruins of the old town. We visited the theatre, where a pack of lizards had made their burrow (?) and the prison cell where survivor had been at the time of the eruption. Everything was covered in shrubbery and all the cracks in between rocks were teeming with tiny exotic insects!

We are planning to leave Martinique on Thursday morning and head to Dominica to explore the rainforest and fit in some good sailing!

Daisy x

PS: Still missing you Bingo and Aubrey! Xx

Racoon!

Marvellous Martinique

So we have arrived in Martinique and have just been overnight to a hotel in the north of Martinique. If you didn’t know in 1902 there was a massive volcano eruption which wiped out the old capital St Pierre. 30,000 people died within 3 minutes only one person survived he was a prisoner during the eruption. He was imprisoned for murder. But it is said he survived because of the extremely thick walls of his cell. We visited the ruins of the theatre which stands next to the old prison we could see his cell it looked untouched. We also went to magnificent zoo. And when we’ve not been on excursions we have been on the boat relaxing. That’s all from me!

Dora 🙂

Dora in Martinique zoo

Flamingoes in Martinique zoo. They’d been eating a lot of shrimps to make them extra pink!

Reply to 6GB’s questions from Dora

Reply to questions from year6kyson and the journey:

First in this post I’m going to answer the questions from year6kyson:

Joel, I have tried a new drink in Lanzerote we were in the fruit market and me and my sister were getting smoothies and I decided to go for the magenta coloured smoothie turns out this smoothie was cactus flavoured. It tasted like a strawberry and a raspberry mashed together. It was delicious!

Cara, I’m pulling through without WiFi but I miss watching Netflix and being able to text all my friends 24/7 but I’m just pulling through.

Maia, we left to start the Atlantic crossing on the 27th of February and we arrived this morning (19 of March) so it has been a 20 day crossing which is 1 day less than we were expecting.:)

Giacomo, I have 3 lessons a day all 1 hour lessons they tend to be very boring as I can’t talk to Maia or Evie just to clarify the talking is about the work.

Maybelle, I do Maths, English, French, History, Science and Geography the topics I have done are the slave trade and volcanoes.

Poppy, this is a list of animals I’ve seen:

Lizards

Camels

Pilot whales

Dolphins

Turtles

Sea horse

The Atlantic crossing is sooooooooo tiring and because we don’t have much food when you get to land every food seems HUGE to you. And you stagger round looking like you’re drunk. Thank you for your questions I really enjoyed answering them. Year6kyson did Mr Gunson do a good job of playing Cinderella?

Arrival Martinique

Tuesday 19 March at around 6.15am, we took this photo. Land first sighted at around 2am – the lights of a hillside town in fact rather than any iconic lighthouse.

We’ve been having a few technical issues with the blog, hence silence but hoping to restore service soon.

ps. I’m editing this after our return to add some photos of our passage to Martinique. For technical reasons I can’t add to the relevant text.

27 February. Leaving the Canaries

Dolphin watching. Washing up. Reading. Sudoku. School. Colouring. More washing up. More reading! And sailing into the sunset.