As we left Guadeloupe for Les Saintes, we had seen on the beach a bunch of boats getting ready to race.  We ended up motor sailing to Les Saintes, but the boats followed us all racing.  The next day, they left from Les Saintes and headed back to Guadeloupe after a rather loud beach party that night.

We did not spend long in Les Saintes and headed off to Dominica before the winds got too bad.  We had a bit of a rough sail mostly into the wind, with 5 to 6 foot seas, with occasional 12 footers.  Good old "What If" and crew handled it all in stride and arrived safely in Dominica. 

With every new island we visit, Kris makes sure that all the paperwork that we need for Sam is in line, and tries to contact the island in advance to make sure all is right.  It really paid off here in Dominica.  When Dean checked in with Customs and Immigration he checked a box saying we had a dog, but they did not ask for paperwork or anything.  Later when we took Sam in for a walk, we did not make it past the end of the dock before we were stopped and asked for the paperwork.  We showed the "import permit" that was emailed to us ahead of time, and were allowed to proceed.  We were later stopped in town by a local and were advised to make sure we had our papers, or the dog would be taken and destroyed.   Later at a park we were asked again.  Out of all the countries with strict rules, it seems odd, that here, in one of the poorest everyone has been more informed of the laws, and follow up on them.

When you arrive in Dominica, about a mile out, a fellow in a long wood boat with outboard will come up alongside you and introduce himself and tell you welcome to Dominica.  He will ask if you need help anchoring, or help getting a mooring, and if you say no, he will later stop by your boat after you are anchored to see if you need anything, or would like to take a tour.   The men are very pleasant and professional.  Dominica has made this system up to provide jobs to folks where cruisers stop, and provide security in the anchorage.  It is actually quite nice, since the men are not pushy at all, and you find out more about things than you could on your own.  Our guide is Lawrence, and his boat Lawrence of Arabia.  We hired Lawrence to take us on a tour up the Indian River.  Motors are not allowed on the river due to the damage they due to the ecosystem.  Lawrence came out to the boat, picked us up and took us on a very nice tour, explaining and naming the flora and fauna as he went.   Every one of the folks who does the tour has to take and pass a test to be able to explain the flora and fauna, before they can give the tours of island attractions.

One of the attractions on the river is small shack, which was used for filming a scene in Pirates of the Caribbean number two.  If you have watched the movie, you will remember a scene where people are standing in a river at night, with many lighted candles as the movie stars row to a shack that "Calypso" live in.   Quite a bit of movie filming for the Pirates of the Caribbean was done on Dominica.

At the end of the river there is a small restaurant/bar, which we did not stop at because it was 8:00 in the morning, but we did take a hike to visit a local plantation and see all the items grown there.  The plantation is quite interesting, as it is 7 acres perched on the hillside and slope.  Some is terraced and some not.  They grew a large variety of items.  We saw: bananas, guava, passion fruit, mangoes, breadfruit, pineapple, avocadoes, okra, cabbage, cinnamon, cacao and limes.  We were given mangoes to take back, and purchased some bananas, mangoes and okra.  We tired raw cacao.  Derek was gagging to get some in his mouth, because raw cacao looks a bit and feels a bit like slimy intestine; however when you put the seed in your mouth and suck on it, it has a pleasant sweet tangy flavor, although quite slimy.  We learned that they use the cacao seeds here not for chocolate, but they make cacao tea from the seeds.  We also learned that  bananas take 9 months from when they are planted to produce fruit, and then 3 months for fruit to grow.  They then cut down the plant, and a new stalk grows up out of the old.  The rotate timing, and produce bananas year round here, most all sold to Europe.

We also took a tour of Fort Shirley, a British fort that really never saw battle, but the Dominicans have done a great job on restoring the fort which was abandoned in 1854, and restoration not started until 1989.  That is  lot of time for the jungle to reclaim the land, which it did.  We had a nice hike to the top of the hill, and wandering around the restored parts of the fort.

We plan on one more tour to go see and swim in a waterfall before we leave.

 

 

 

05/31/13;  Les Saintes boat race, Dominica hikes

Small boat race at Les Saintes

Approaching the harbor at Dominica

Vet friendly Sam

Lawrence our guide

Going up the Indian River

Pirate of Caribbean movie shack of "Calypso"

Beautiful native flower

Pineapple plant

Dominica banana plantation area

Inside the cacao seed, slimy but good

Cinnamon tree

Fort Shirley with harbor in background

Trail up to top of hill by Fort Shirley

Manning the battlements at Fort Shirley

Small bunch of bananas from the plantation