Saturday, 23 June 2012

WYUNA sails her last leg to Grenada

Lost at Sea? No just heading Sth to visit islands we missed on the way up, and find the Rains, pirates, fisherman, rum distillery, turtles and spotted rays!

Aaaaarh, Dem be Pirates
Pirates fought for gold and spices all across the Caribbean islands! The Black Pearl and Captain Jack Sparrow lived at  Walillabou Bay, where the "Port Royal" set was built - the dock and building facade remain here at St Vincents Island where Captain Bligh of the HMS Bounty brought the first breadfruit tree to the island to feed slaves.  In 2003 for 3 months Kiera, Geoffrey, Johny and Orlando lived here to film 2&3 Pirates of the Caribbean.  We anchored next to the dock, went ashore to defend our riches, and snorkeled under the arch, imagining Johnny swinging from the top - sword in hand.

The movie is historically grounded in fact, as St. Vincent was no stranger to pirates who stumbled upon a last stronghold of the Carib Indians against the onslaught of French and English colonisers.

On to Antigua, we farewelled our welsh mate Lance and his cousin over dinner at Jolly Harbour and wished him a safe sail across the Atlantic to the Azores for the next 18-20 days on Alf-A-Bet his 46 ft catamaran.

Joe's 06th revisited
On 5th May we welcomed Patsy and Joe (a year older at 06) aboard WYUNA at Falmouth HarbourAntigua whom by their own admission brought the Rain.  After getting settled in their berth off we went to Shirley Heights for a fun Carib BBQ and dance under the stars to the hip reggae band with brilliant voices and one of the best PAN steel bands we've heard. Traditional tin & steel drum bands of 12 drummers form in each Parish, and perform at festivals, carnival and live venues, weekly rehearsals are held without fail.

Trappas Bar Antigua with Pat's & Joe
The next day Gina was out doing Dive 6 of the Pinnacles and a huge storm struck with torrential rains. The river broke its banks, the blue sea turned brown. Guess what -you don't have a clue 80ft underwater, watching the stingrays, lion fish and trumpet fish hang vertical.
The wet was No deterrent to adventure some P&J so seeing old wooden boats in English Harbour, wearing ponchos, was relaxing, laughing when the Rain hit harder, yes it filled the damn dingy. Anyone got a bucket here?? pump pump ..

Torrential rain means the Rainy Wet Season arrived in May a month early.

The next Wednesday we set sail for Guadeloupe a large passage crossing and just enough wind to let WYUNA reach, heading south and cruising at 8kns to arrive at Pigeon Is. for a quick overnight stop, then early rise to plot our next leg.
Its a long day sail to Dominica and there's little bird or sea life to see, so getting in by sunset to Portsmouth a truly lay-back town, was a relief on a calm anchorage.

Christopher Columbus landed and named Dominica in 1449 and after many battles in 1763, the British gained full control of the island. The indigenous Kalinagos were given 232 acres of mountainous and rocky shoreline. In 1903, the land was expanded to 3700 acres and the Carib Chief was officially recognised. 

On our day trip to the west coast and tour of the Kalinago reserve, run by the only surviving 2,000 people (who killed the Arawak's that came from Venezuela) reminded us of the great ocean road, but with spices and tropical forests covering the rugged coastline.  P&J liked the traditional sites, with beautiful wooden open structures, small cooking and sleeping huts and a flowing river for picnicking and lying in a communal hammock. Picnics are traditional here, as is creole chicken, green peas and sweet potato for lunch, at their hut.

On the way home we stopped to buy fresh Marlin steaks, cut and skinned on the beach by the fisherman "for our deck BBQ dinner".  Delicious with Patsy's lime and salsa.
If you love fresh salsa, frozen juice, cut fresh mango for breakfast and avocado/lime for happy hour then the Caribbean is a tropical paradise. At the market its 6 for 5EC$ or $2 AUD, and there's green, yellow and red ones. Its tricky using a 8ft stick to get mangoes to fall from the trees without hitting you on the we didn't try.

Trafalgar Falls Dominica
Sailing a short hop to Roseau a major town of Dominica, gave us views of volcanic, lush and mountainous jungle. This nature island is pristine, 80% uninhabited and the greenest of rainforest's and falls. On Gina's birthday, (known as Captain for the day), we were lucky to hire Cornell as a driver for the tour and he took us on a short stunning walk to the top of Scots Head, a marine park reserve on the Sth tip of the island. Next we donned snorkel and masks to emerge ourselves amidst champagne bubbles (really thermal warm leaks) and see the golden sea fans wave with the currents and tiny reef fish swim around us undisturbed by 6ft humans.

A cool walk to waterfalls and then soak in Trafalgar's sulphur spa water, which comes from an ACTIVE volcano, left us very tired and relaxed ready to celebrate with wine.... but not to be, both Patsy and Gina flaked out and had a badnight & day with gastro, putting it down to a lunch meal. We took a Raincheck on the Taurean celebrations.

Moving south to Fort de France, Martinique was a great sailing long day, wind blew, dropped out and breezed til we finally bypassed the Nth volcanic town and made it in by 5 to this french harbour. WYUNA likes sitting under the huge stone fort wall.

Aaaarh Rum!
May/June brings lots of public holidays in the East Carib, mainly religious like ascension day or lent. One thing for sure, no one opens, moves far, eats out or visits town on these days. Despite this we found a friendly hotelier to book a car for touring Martinique, yes in the Rain.  Joe kindly took the wheel and Patsy safely navigated us across highways and windy village roads, seeing the views from the hilltops.

Bush & Mitterrand meeting
After driving into the rhum House of Clement lined with palms, and lush gardens we took the self tour of this stunning estate where sugar cane is distilled and barrelled for all varieties of rum, try vintage spicy rum. The french say it is in the top 50 in the word.   Its a restored family heritage estate, where Bush and Mitterrand flew in to conference on Iraq, with mod art gallery and fantastic palm gardens.

Clement House

Close by are fishing villages so exploring french carib haunts, and trying out basic vocab for beginners was enjoyable. Hooray at last, that night we hit the champers for Patsy's birthday and cooked up a storm! Rain pouring so too wet to get ashore!!

Touring Martinique
Fort de France is a fave of ours to wander in, tiny roadways, cobbled, an old church built like a trainstation, elegant and brightly dressed woman walking the La Savanne boulevard, kids playing on slides by the harbour park, always drums beating at night. 

The 22 May is emancipation of slavery celebrations with African music from Mali, there's always a festival here.
After seeing P&J off to fly to St Lucia we headed out to a jazz night upstairs on the balconey, listening to fine sax, and percussion's... a FdeF renowned blend.

Most times cruising or touring here is energetic and uplifting, and other times the heat takes hold of you and causes the limbs to flop.. til you can't stand up without telling the legs to walk. Humidity just saps you after doing jobs on board... and its steamy with the Rains. Bruce and I have become " nappers" known for being lost down below & too lazy to drop the dingy. Happy to escape the hot part of any day!

A week of chilling out led us quietly to beautiful Bequia, Grenadines a very pretty harbour where we anchored off, Princess Margaret beach, (who visited once) so British here, then we were ready to meet Fiona and Drew on Sunday. Only trouble was their bus driver took them to the wrong dock so 3hrs later a local guy brought them to us by boat.

Fee & Drew, Basils Bar, Mustique Island
We noticed how quiet the town is, a few yachts and most places closing at the end of May! Good news for us to enjoy hideaways with less tourists in the same water and Capt Bruce not worrying about boats anchored too close!

One of the best surprises we all agree was -NOT finding Mustique Is. (privately owned) Little Bay harbour the home of rich and famous Mick Jagger & co, where Basils Bar was dead as the doormat. No doubt the hidden grand summer homes are splendorous coastside mansions with acres of palm and frangipani gardens.

The treasure WAS finding Tobago Cays, 5 small uninhabited islets and a pristine coral reef  extremely well preserved by the local community, so much so that the threatened green turtle populations has grown to 200 in the marine reserve aaaaaannnnddd we could snorkel with them all day. Green turtles are beautifully marked and were aged from 6-30, they can live to over 100 years and only a few of 1500 eggs become fully grown.

Tobago Cays
Drew's skills and Fee's inspiration led to capturing a few on camera. They feed constantly on sea grass in relatively shallow water. Jumping off the boat for her first snorkel Gina jumped on top of Bruce at the sight of a spotted black and white Sea Ray swimming closeby. Then we all searched for them each day to see them glide.

Turtles are strong swimmers if you try their stroke, of forearms as paddles and back ones as rudders, you can't keep pace. They come up for air frequently, less than 1 minute, and seem to be comfortable with us staying 6ft away even though sharks are a predator.

Mayreau Tobago Cays

"Never wish to leave here or always wish to come here...Tobago Cays is sublime"!

F&D and G&B were all sorry to leave this sanctuary.  Our next stop is Grenada, WYUNA's home port and our return destination after 7 months at sea and (thanks to Mal's log) we have recorded 1069 nmiles sailed.  Capt B has mastered the catamaran's skippering and come to set the sails for smooth crossings at 8kns if the winds are right. Gina is named Admiral after learning all the basics of helming, anchoring, charting and setting the sails. So2 up is our forte, thanks to Mal's coaching and a little help from our friends and the Winch Buddy.
St George's Harbour Grenada
No better local hang out than the National Musuem jazz jam so off we headed from Port Louis Marina to ST Georges on friday night - what a buzzy street scene, locals with beers line the foreshore listening to music and checking out the talent. 
We decided to satisfy our steak craving (only available frozen in gormet delis's) so enjoyed a dinner at the Victory Bar before we saw Fee&Drew off to Peurto Rico early the next morning.

Finally, we've learnt the lessons of cruising, sail in 15kns at 8knts, find clear water, a sandy anchorage within swiming distance to a beach and dingy dock, and enjoy the freeedom of living afloat on the Caribbean Sea surrounded by beautiful islands and friendly people.   All who wander are not lost.
The message from long cruisers is" there is no plan it happens as long as you go along". Hey John Lennon sang it years ago!
Maybe this will become the WYUNA theme song .... just have to make up the songlines to go with the chorus.

We're  home in July to enjoy the daily TV news, The Age, doorknockers, cold winter racing days, tennis in winter trackies, finding a car park in our street etc and no more daily rituals of coating the body in sunscreen and dropping the dingy in the water to get ashore. Not sure about long showers, but we hear definitely more Rain!

Wyuna squeezing into Spice Island Marine

This is WYUNA, WYUNA, WYUNA Over and Out for 2012.

We are looking forward to catching up with our family and friends, and Billy.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

English Harbour view from Shirley Heights
AHOY ...WYUNA & crew go farther north, via ST Maarteen to white sand cays to Anguilla and volcanic islands of St the winds turn so have we, 500 miles on the log, we return to Antigua.

At  Shirley Heights we revisited with Kathy&Brian our favourite rendezvous, an old fort ruin with stunning views, to watch the Antigua night fall, eat BBQ creole ribs, dancing with the stars to The Survivors. Gazing over cliffs & stonewalls out to sea and harbours, we see our sail routes from far islands while watching the sun go down with a glass of rum punch.

"All who wander are not lost".
Barbuda LongBay  Beach
Sail mates rave about .............discovering pink sand at Barbuda... so we sailed from Antigua &took a water taxi to town, how could we say no to a whole BBQ lobster in the local cafe! 
"Barbuda, Barbuda, Barbuda" is a yachties peaceful paradise, an endless pink tinged & white sand beach, large fish come out at night, you can swim ashore in turquoise shoal water to walk on 1000's of minutte shells. Magnificent. We crossed the beach & took a water taxi on the lagoon to town. 


Codrington town was the family name of early settlers who leased the island from England for one fat sheep, bought slaves from Africa, had livestock and used it to hunt. After emancipation the barbudans stayed, cooperatively working and 2000 now hold their land communally, independence has led to to them resisting development and creating a marine reserve. No jet skis here!!! 
Francene's 05th
St Maarten or St-Martin.....? the Dutch & French draw the line across one island.  At Francene's memorable 05 birthday we wore ponchos for a dingy ride to dinner and sipped champers to celebrate -"wet spray comes with the stay".

St Barths Harbour
Yes we came back. If you imagine a beautiful stone harbour with boardwalks lined with French couture shops, open air nautical restaurants (Jimmy Buffet's hang out below), mega yachts anchored to stern, an ancient church and 2 overlooking forts....and no sign of creole garb, only beige French linens, it's St Barth's.

A black sleepy shark stared us in the yes while checking the anchor. We swam like scared water rats to the boat.

So why have the French and Dutch split STM's island of 76000 people in half including the lagoon we anchored in, have separate towns,
3 currencies, police, food and names of course?
We anchored for a week on the French(no mooring fees)side of the STM's lagoon, and took the dingy to each side. A case of mutual co-habitation or absurd nationalism... still they get along and locals accept different politics & leaders.No chance of amalgamations here when tourists from the US & both countries can fly into their Antilles daily.

Corny as! A Lonely Planet must see, so we too hit the Sunset Bar with bathers, swimming with hands over ears, under jets landing...Lucky we didn't stay in the water for the takeoff and get sandblasted bods - so much worse than sunburn-oo ah!

Scaping throught the french Bridge Sint Maarten
On anchor in STM's lagoon far too long to do boat jobs and buy duty free parts-WYUNA followed Toucantoo yacht with fellow aussies, Greg and David (turns out he sailed at Sandringham on my brothers boat Latitude), through the French bridge, 1hr to Grand Case beach, and anchored next to them in sand, again under a flight path ... this time small Carib planes woke us in the morning.

Grand Case St Marten
Over Easter weekend we swapped stories, ate chocolate pastries (no easter eggs in France) and wet our mouths with $1Carib beers at the beach bar, hearing their travel adventures sailing the east cost crewing in the USA.  So much to learn from sailors (in their 20,s) doing it hands on, skippering charters, diving and crewing betweeen Newport & East Caribbean.

Most days are 8am rises & breakfast on the back deck, listening to weather checks & radio schedules, before deciding to lower the dingy. YES we bought a WINCH BUDDY, right angled drill with a winch bit to raise the dingy, and haven't grinded since STM's. Our fitness is fading fast. When sailing it's a 7am rise to get going before the wind comes up and make anchor by 4pm.
Road Bay Anguilla
Sail motoring to Anguilla (the most Nth Is) was gentle and breezy, a favorite destination to relax. Road Bay has clear water.WYUNA's ideal resting place.
Shoal Bay Anguilla
A heritage old salt lagoon & Pumphouse come bar got us friday dancing.

 Then car motoring to Shoal Bay on the Nth tip, we took a stroll to get our landlegs back. Sail fast and live slow
Francene & Bruce Capacula Resort
We found it dry country,scrubby with many big holiday houses & resorts but no developed infrastructure like footpaths. Odd & sad really to see the extremes, how little goes into schools, hospitals and community facilities- unless its a cricket staduim! At the 5 star Capacula resort lounge for a 1 drink stop, maybe this is why Anguilla is a No 1 US destination, at least for a sundowner.

WYUNA is now heading Sth, after Laurie & Anne joined us captain Bruce helmed the passage to the 'brush with the clouds" islands, 20+Nms & active volcanoes, peaks hidden under clouds. We feel tiny, sailing along the coasts of massive limestone cliffs, dramatic stuff & just too steep for walking.
Weather isn't always favorable, it was no fun crossing to St Kitts from St Barth's 20 kns plus pointing 30 deg for 8 hrs and rain in patches, and no way to change course.

In Carib there is always a fort nearby.....
Brimstone Hill Fortress
St Kitts is renowned for its British history & volcanoes, grand early plantation houses (today galleries and restaurants), and best of all Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO site, a massive imposing structure. The Gibralter of the Caribbean stands on a 800ft volcanic cone, where the British military lost in 1782 to 8000 Frenchmen and 30 ships & regained it a year later under the Treay of Paris, then abandoned it by 1850.

We climbed the barrack steps built by slaves who were sold to the French & British, who then colluded to kill all the local caribs and fought on land/sea gruesome battles for no long term benifits. All to protect the sugarcane lands for their homelands.
Really a shocking history of colonization, slavery and emancipation.

For the first time we missed out destination. WYUNA resisted going to Antigua and pushed us east to Montserrat an active volcanoe with exclusion zones, to get in by nightfall. Winds were SE at 18-23knts, a tiring day, no seasickness on board but we had no time to go ashore and clear customs, so sailed the next morning to Antigua, again bashing into it all day long. Wish we'd never started our southern route.
The wind gods roar near volcanoes!

We've arrived back into a safe anchorage at Falmouth Harbour, returning to the hub of sailing, for Antigua Race Week and our first morning we watched the racers head out to compete, all sizes and classes.
We'll see how the caribs tack & jibe & party....., then go sth to Martinique to see some new places on the return legs, dive new walls too!

Soon time to celebrate the Taurean bdays on board. So hope to go to Calypso nights and walk the Dominica trails if time and winds permit.

We DO enjoy reading the email catch ups and knowing how our friends and family are going. Our IT access and Skype has been poor but we get emails so DO keep in touch.

Bruce & Gina

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Dominica to Antigua

Caribbean Adventure...... Dominica to Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe and Antigua

5 Islands Jolly Harbour Antigua
Cruising north in the Leeward Islands, WYUNA is flying along in gale and even light winds.

Leaving Dominica we sailed into our first storm, up to 50kns with wind behind us, what an exhilarating day. WYUNA creaked and our adrenalin was pumping as she handled the windforce with speed and comfort.  In the French West Indies islands we unwound and took in the small fishing tourist village, of Borg des Saintes. Wandering the dry, steep hills to Fort Napoleon got the heart rate going.

Kalinago Carib Village Guadeloupe
A short boat hop to Guadeloupe (also a French department) led us to finding sailmates Steve & Carol at Pigeon Island, a rolly bay. Never before have we seen so many varieties of reef fish during a fantastic snorkel afternoon with Jacque Cousteau. We are a hop away from reefs most days.

If yachties ever drool over boats it's here, our jaws dropped coming into Falmouth & English Harbours, the home of the Antigua Classic and Major Race weeks in April. A must it seems for all dedicated classic yacht masters and million plus wealthy tycoons with tax havens.

Les Saints Guadeloupe
Cruising north we must say we looked forward, after Martinique french creole food and music, going to Ilse Des Saintes group of small islands. A traditional fishing village with links to Brittany after colonisation, it's a small French and African community who lead an idyllic relaxed life, shops open mid week 8-11am&4-8pm, family lunch is a ritual. 

Strolling we saw old cottages and a huge stone fort , Fort Napoleon's, with moat and all (who knows why this tiny place must be guarded from invasion). Walking up hills in 27deg. we met goats, iguana's, got baked skin, and resorted to cold cones of Caribbean ice cream (pastiche, creme de coco, guava, lime ...) and watching the day trippers and fishing boats laze away the day.

Have you ever eaten in a restaurant with banana trees, halaconies growing and a mini waterfall beside the table? Well La  Fringale was our sat night out, to try the rum punches and plate de jour (28 Euro)of salmon mousse, king fish, banana rum flambe.
Only trouble is we then must get steadily into the dingy on the dock, turn on the head torch and outboard to find our bed.  The best way to work it off, a must for all guests, is the nightly 300 turns of the winch (no electric winch on this cat) to raise the dingy on WYUNA's stern. Bruce does the first 150 and l do the 2nd easier load.

What a relief to know we are liked by long term mono hull cruisers. They jibe us about doing it soft with a water maker,ice maker,dining table for 8, 2 motors and yes- must admit a washing machine (a big change from bucket washing or laundries ashore)! We can live a social life boat hopping at sunset!

Our sailmates run a daily Magnet HF check-in at 9am on weather, positions etc to keep in touch with friends and plans to meet along the way- so WYUNA is a new community member. The one unspoken condition is "help out others in ways you like them to give a hand and be aware you may need a rescue one day"!

50 Knots off Guadeloupe
The west coast of Guadeloupe is a better angle for crossing passages to go north so the Leeward Islands Chris Doyle Cruising Guide says! Hmmmmm not sure after leaving Iles des Saintes, 15 mins out around the headland we struck big winds, rising to 50kts storm force.  Looking nervously (Gina was, not Captn Bruce) at each other in astonishment , we waited to see how WYUNA likes running and to work out how best to sail through the increasing pressure til we got past the headland. Bruce on the helm was yelling out the SOG of 14kts while Gina zoomed in on the chartplotter to make sure no shoals were ahead and to spot floating fishing bouys to avoid going over them. Bruce called it an exhilarating day and Gina liked watching WYUNA streamline through the seas compared to the monohulls swaying in big seas. A few lost their dingies.

Arriving in Pigeon Island anchorage our friends warned us it was blowing 40kns on anchor so we made for a safe anchorage and stayed in for the night. Must say The Wire TV series 1 has us hooked on quiet nights.

Gina Steve & Carol with Jack under water
Steve & Carol on Innamorata II enthused us about taking the dingy to anchor off the small island Pigeon, where Jacques Cousteau discovered, on his many Carib marine explorations, a reef of moving Poisson's. If only we had an underwater camera to snap the fishes...angel fish, trumpet, damsel (who fiercely defend their young from prey), rainbow parrot, spiky black sea urchins, sand dwellers who mate for life, butterfly fish with long dangling tentacles, and big puffer fish with bulging eyes.
NO reef or gummy sharks to be seen and sorry to say few dolphins in the Caribbean Sea.

Bus stop St Johns Antigua
One way of seeing the inland life is negotiating with the local mini bus driver a day tour price or taking the local flat rate of $2.50euro , bus to town- once ashore at the Touriste Office a friendly English speaking woman gave us maps to head to the capital Pointe a Pitre - we like to follow our noses and see what we find. Must say this is like driving in Cairns, massive sugar cane fields, harvesters, small fishing /boating villages Sainte Rose we stopped for a cafe & brioche .
The Pt is a bustling city,. huge Cruise berth next to the main street. A place to find out if you can take WYUNA under a bridge, between 2 main islands of Guadeloupe,  to get to the white sand havens of the south east beaches on our return south in May.

Nelsons Dockyard English Harbour Antigua
Bruce got more excited the closer we got to Sailors No 1 Dream Destination harbour. Known to be the oldest working Georgian harbour in the world and full of mirror polished wooden classics alongside private launches & ships - we dinged past these holiday resorts for billionaires.
Falmouth Harbour Antigua
Coming into harbour at 5kns here's our glimpse of Antigua in the famous Falmouth & English Harbours- an amazing sight of, mega yacht, gin palaces. We are on anchor with them and at 4pm the Antigua Yacht Club club weekly laser sailors (juniors & masters) race in between all of us. Somehow turtles swim here too!

Gina & Tony Diving Barbuda
Gina after listening to sailmates "talkup the wonders underwater" took a novice dive to test her ears and made it to 25ft below on a rope. All night she raved about the soft leaf coral life and trumpet fish -  liking how slowly, gently you float amongst darting fish feeding on coral, immersed in water - we all know she was a fish in her past life ( Fiske means Fish in Norway) and half Dolphin, Dauphin (like Delphine) in this one!

We took a heavenly sail to a beautiful secret sand cay (to be named next blog) last weekend for a quiet escape from mega yacht city and to meet up with  atlantic cruisers, Tony an aussie on a cat (Tactical Directions) and Alan & Jean ( Tuatara NZ) mates who are like long lost buddies, with intriguing sail stories and warm hospitality for us new cruisers.

Bruce Tony Alan & Jean on Tuatara
Tony shares a love of cats that stay flat in the water and was brave enough to take Gina diving. We kayaked and spent a warm sat night, all on the deck for a BBQ, laughing about their mediterranian adventures at sea and AFL v's Rugby. Our catchups will be via Magnet as we all have different routes and timelines to get to Grenada, Trinidad, and Florida before the Hurricane season starts in late June.

Kathy and Brian arrived today 22 March morning to holiday and crew for 2 weeks on our next route nth which will give us a break from 2 up, The Wire and to help with some small jobs to keep us safe. Plus keep us in touch with Melbourne's /ST Kilda social 'goings on' and RMYS club antics. Gina's up early to do day 2 of the PADI Openwater Dive certificate, and after a walk around English harbour we will go to the fort hill top for dinner, a real treat to see Antigua by night lit up by tall masts.

We look forward to hearing your news too- so send us a word on when you get a chance.

Have a fun Easter break
Bruce and Gina

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Martinique to Dominica

....continuing on from

1. Wyuna is still afloat in the Caribbean Sea!
Afloat at Sainte Pierre -Martinique
We've partyed at Carnaval, sailed 2up from Martinique across a passage nth to Dominica, met inspiring international yachties. Visiting St Pierre, we saw the ruins of Mt Pelee eruption ..a tragedy of politics gone wrong.
Life here is veerry nature hugging, snorkeling at Champagne Beach with thermal bubbles, a walk in the UNESCO park and to top it off ..a sulphur spa soak.
Dominica Hot Spring
Fort de France(FdF), the capital of Martinique was a great spot for our last night with Mal and Sue. "We are all so glad we made it to a french island". What better way....................
sharing a french carib creole night with sunset champers, a relaxed dinner at La Baie, hearing drum beats on the street and a full moon. We all wondered - how will we ever recover from such a fantastic sailing holiday?  

Mal & Sue -Fort De France Martinique

No more lobster bbq's on the deck, dancing at the Lambi Queen, breakfasts geeking at nude bathers (Europeans of course, we're too shy)...Thanks so much Mal&Sue for a fantastic time together on our first leg of the carib, full of laughs, peanut sundowners and "our cheers" on board. Sue our tour guide, took us to exceptional piton sights, fine dining in the Round House and kept our spirits up on "not another bad fridge day".

Lucky us, in Fort-De- France for Carnaval:Tradition Modernite .
The week before lent, is verry electrifying, drums beat all night, a natural high, can't take your eyes of the street for a second!

The street parade started at 3pm with "Valva", a gigantic octopus-the greedy one who eats everything, grabbing all with huge tentacles- til 3 days later he dies and locals weep in the park from relief. The pictures say it all.  Just to explain, each town enters a Skene band, drummers bang goat skins, Zouk dancers go wild, all ages dress to impress or you can simply join in to show off your costume (& body). We'll definitely dress up next year?
Carnaval- Fort De France

Going 2 up on board is not the same. Mal really knows every part of Wyuna, IS the only fishcatcher, verry patiently taught Gina to anchor, raise the main, and use his new data base log - so Wyuna is cruising in top gear!   Our sail to ST Pierre, from FdF was 18nms, sunny with an occasional shower, Wyuna cruised at 8knots. Bruce is rapt with the Speed Over Ground.
Mt Pelee sailpast
Yachties told us about the active volcano, it's 7kms from town and killed 30,000 people in 1902 who tragically didn't leave because ..... it was the first vote for blacks & traders didn't want to lose business!! So only 5000 people live here now.
Needless to say we didn't walk the trail to the crater, instead we sailed to Dominica to spend a week going on inland trips. 

Nature, nature, is good for the soul!(&bodyrocking on land). On our day trips by local bus we found Wyuna's namesake, clear, clear water at Emerald Pool, Trafalgar "mamma and pappa" falls, and the not so clear sulphur thermal yellow pools.  As 60% of the island is untouched thick rain forest on steep pitons -its the pride of the people. Not surprising the British and French have both fought for and ruled the island. It's a UNESCO park and 17,000 hcs, of trails, iguana's, hummingbirds, parrots...and verry fresh air and cool. Beautiful.
Emerald Pool

Pirates of the Caribbean 2&3 was filmed around Dominica. Island hopping is part of the great tradition of Caribs moving from Sth America in precolumbian times, until right now. So phew us yacthies are doing it without pirate attacks. Bruce read "Caribbean", J Mitchiner's violent tales and horrors of slavery. In town there are old stone barracks and hanging sites, the abolitionists WON forever!
 Everyone we've met is very relaxed and proud...but we're told if you get caught thieving locals may deal with you before the police.
Our only struggle is winching the dingy to safety every night, it takes a lot of arm muscle -
Bruce is aiming for a six pack at ?0.
Wyuna off Fort Young
Coming into anchor at Roseau, Dominica (1of 7,000 islands) Alan a New Zealander met us by dingy and Marcus from the marine co-op to tie to a mooring for $10us a night, it's 3 mins to the dingy dock, 10 mins walk to town. A boat hop at 5 for drinks on Tuatara with Alan & Jean, Pete & Courtney, (all have crossed the Atlantic from Canary Islands to get here)swapping sailing stories and chatting til verry late. We didn't sink the dingy coming home.   

 How easy it would be to stay here, after yesterday's trip to Freshwater Lake and the spa - we'll be back on the return trip to Grenada.

Out on the town, Fort Young is now a hotel with a Friday grill- band night,"gorgeous looking 20-30 yr locals" meet up and flirt (no one noticed us oldies) so we had fun admiring the afro carib hip swings, seriously it's the bum, they can move like a keyboard to each drum beat! (sorry you have to be here to see it)

The only surviving Caribbean population live on a reservation on the NE coast, we'll sail tomorrow near to their village after we stock up at the market and clear customs.

Ruins cafe- great rum, coffee & not Bob Marley