s/y Nine of Cups
The Leeward Islands - Dominica
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The passage from our Isles des Saintes
anchorage to Portsmouth in Prince Rupert Bay,
Dominica was only about 20 miles and a great
sail.  We left the Saintes at about 0645 and
arrived in Dominica by around 1100.  The bay is
well-protected and about 2 miles long and a
very pleasant anchorage.
Dominica  Facts

Population: 80,000
Size:  ~24 miles long x 15 miles wide
     (290,000 square miles)
Currency: Eastern Caribbean $$  ($2.86
        EC = $1US)
Language: English / Creole
Capital City: Roseau
High Point:  Morne Diablatins 1,447 m
Major industry: bananas

“Discovered” by Columbus in 1493. Original inhabitants: Caribs (some descendants  still
live in the northeastern portion of the island). Original Carib name for the island:
“Waitikubuli”  (Tall is her body).

The island has 365 rivers! There are 8 potentially active volcanoes on the island (most
islands have only one), though no eruptions lately.
There are a huge
number of flies (housefly
type) here in Dominica
and they’re driving us
nuts. David has turned in
his machete for a fly
swatter and is downright
vicious and maniacal
when it comes to dealing
with these pests. Jelly's
solution is much easier...
she just eats them...
saves on cat food.
The big hype here is Indian River tours and you
don't need to find a guide... they find you.
Above, the dink dock at the mouth of the
Indian River where we met Charley, our guide.
As you first enter the river, the area is very
congested with abandoned and dilapidated
boats...a graveyard of sorts.
Once under the bridge and away from the "town", the river becomes more and more serene and secluded. No motors here, Charley rowed the entire
way. The river narrows and the overhang of trees makes a tunnel to glide through. It takes about ¾ of an hour to get to the lodge at the end of the
navigable portion of the river.  There’s a small restaurant here and a bar. We had a local beer, however all the locals drink a potent rum cocoction
called Painkiller. The lodge wasn't much, but the river trip itself  was worth the effort.
We saw tricolor herons along the banks and lots
of land crabs. We could hear red necked pigeons
cooing softly in the background. Otherwise, the
only sound was the oars in the water.
Local beer tasted good.
And, of course, the local anole.  That big pouch
under his chin is his “dewlap”…all puffed out to
show how he was a pretty ferocious guy.  He was
about 5” long and even Marcie wasn’t “afeared”.
The bird on the country’s flag is
the sisserou parrot…in all the
world, found only in Dominica
and their national bird.
Hurricane David in August 1979 wreaked havoc
on the island with winds exceeding 150 mph.  
This African Baobab tree  at the local botanical
garden was blown over on to a bus (empty at
the time) and they decided to leave it. The tree is
still alive and growing with the main stem
currently over 19 feet in circumference.
We took a daytrip one day  via local
communal bus (van) to Roseau,
Dominica’s capital.  It rained a good
portion of the day and we spent most of
our time running from overhang to
overhang but got drenched anywhere in
the constant downpours.  We decided to
sail down and spend a couple of days to
explore the town more  thoroughly.
We're glad we did...it was really fun.
Above, the Roseau waterfront area was
pleasant and inviting.
As always, Marcie steered us in the direction of
the crafts market which was alive and colorful.
To the right, a vibrant sign for Sukie's Bread
caught our attention.
The city of Roseau is an eclectic mix of old and new, quaint and rundown, tidy and filthy.  We
did not find the people here to be especially friendly, but in retrospect, we figured we'd have
gotten the same level of aloofness in most larger American cities.
Trivia:  Roseau is not only the name of the city
but also the name of the wild sugar cane vine that
grows in Dominica and is collected and dried by
the Caribs for use in making baskets.
Highlights this season
(other than staying afloat and getting this far!)…

  • We both got our Amateur Extra HAM licenses (top level)
    so we can use the HAM radio on the boat which called
    for heavy studying and tests. It’s been a long time!
    Davids call sign: AA1ZL *  Marcie’s call sign: AA1ZM
  • We joined SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Assn) and
    proudly fly their burgee. Their motto: “Leave a clean
    wake” applies in life as it does in cruising. Marcie got her
    first cruising article published in their January publication.
  • We got the single side band radio installed and working so
    that we can now communicate via radio and email while
  • We have a new granddaughter (thanks to Brad and Cat)
    named Kialeah Rebecca born on March 18th, 2002.
  • We climbed Pico Duarte located in the Dominican
    Republic and the highest mountain in the Caribbean.
  • We’ve learned to communicate in Spanish, at least on an
    elementary basis.
  • We crossed the Tropic of Cancer
We bought several beautifully woven Carib baskets
for souvenirs and gifts.
Return Island Hopping in the
Yet another part of our passage to Trinidad has been
completed…the Leeward Islands. Now on to
Martinique and
the Windward Islands.  We’ve logged over 2200 nautical
miles since leaving Charleston, SC in January 2002 and
emphatically “NO”…we’re not tired of this cruising life.