Hi friends! I’m writing this post at the end of hurricane season, and the events herein took place several months ago. A lot has happened since then! As tempted as I am to skip ahead to the present, though, I don’t want to miss the chance to tell you how wonderful Dominica is. Well worth the visit.
There are two main ports for cruisers along the western coast of Dominica: Portsmouth and Roseau. We’d been to both before – to Roseau on a big Celebrity cruise ship back in 2015, and on Gratitude in 2019 during our first year of sailing. On both those occasions we stayed only 24 hours, which is not NEARLY enough time to enjoy the delights of this island. Dominica is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. Very little commercial development, lots of hiking and waterfalls and stargazing and meeting incredibly friendly locals who are eager to show off their home.
And the diving! Probably my favorite part. The reefs are healthy and feature a wide variety of fish, some of which I have never or rarely seen before. We spent two full days diving with Fabian, whom we called on the radio; he came to our boat to pick us up and take us out to multiple reefs along the northwestern shore. It could not have been easier to arrange. I think the photos will speak louder than words, though, so you can see for yourself.
Between dives, we took an all-day taxi tour of the north of Dominica with Andrew, another PAYS member. We saw Syndicate Falls, Red Rocks, and Cold Soufriere, where the water looks like it’s boiling but is actually cold.
On our final night in Portsmouth the PAYS men hosted a beach barbecue for all the cruisers in the harbor. The food was home-cooked and the rum punch was strong! And we met another cruising family whose company we enjoyed. I decided that on our way back north, we need to stop in Dominica again to explore Roseau. Fabian, our dive guide, promised to get us linked up with a good dive operation there.
SOUTHWARD TO MARTINIQUE AND ST. LUCIA
Much as we hated to leave Dominica, we had a schedule to keep if we wanted to get to Grenada by July 1 (as required by our hurricane insurance). We spent a few days in Martinique, first in St. Pierre and then in Sainte Anne. St. Pierre is worth a visit for the history, as it is the site of a massive volcano eruption that wiped out the whole town in 1902. The tragedy is commemorated at the local museum, which is a bit of a walk from town but worth the effort.
Sainte Anne was a charming town that was a little sleepy when we arrived – apparently it is quite popular with cruisers earlier in the spring, but we got there a little too late to get the full effect. We didn’t mind; the anchorage is large and we had our pick of good spots. It’s a decently long but not difficult dinghy ride to Le Marin, where there is a marina and several grocery stores. And there’s a nice beach and restaurant ashore in the town of Sainte Anne, so we had a chance to relax too.
Finally we made our way south to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. I had a flight home from that island so that I could go to Bonnaroo with our kids, and Andy had arranged for some repair work there while I was gone. We like the Rodney Bay marina for many reasons, and I discovered a new one on this trip: From there, you can take a boat down to the airport instead of a car! Wow, so much more fun to travel by sea.
I have some harrowing boat adventure stories to share in my next post, but for now I’ll leave you with a couple of images from my trip home to go to Bonnaroo with my kids. We do love our music festivals!