Last Two Days in Guadeloupe and Passage to Dominica
Thursday morning we took a taxi to the commercial port area to visit Electro-Nautic, the biggest chandlery around. I had a long list of items to purchase, some of which are not standard items in smaller chandleries, including the friendly and convenient Karukera Marine in the marina complex. This was clearly more a chandlery for commercial fishmen and larger commercial vessels rather than recreational sailors. The fellow who stepped up to help us spoke no English, but Laura was up to the task. If she did not know the word for a part, she described its use until our saleperson led us briskly across the large store to where the requested item lay.
Late Thursday afternoon (Jan. 4) we rented a little Renault Clio from
Jumbo Car in the marina complex and drove to Gosier, east of the Marina Bas du Fort on the Grande Terre island of Guadeloupe. We got caught up in the rush hour traffic leaving Pointe-a-Pitre and were surprised at how long it took to crawl to Gosier. We checked out the town and the little harbor there and bought from fruit from a vendor, and then headed to the giant Cora supermarket just off the road on the way back to the boat. We had forgotten how large it is. It is like a Wal-Mart — selling clothing, electrical supplies, flat-screen TVs, liquor, and groceries. We filled up a large cart with mostly nonperishable items and then dragged it all onto the boat.
Friday morning the repair work on Sabbatical III was finally done and we settled up with Chantiers Amel. The repair work did not take that many hours to perform, its just that they would appear at random times for 15 minutes to an hour and then disappear again. You never knew when they would return. Fred of Fred Marine, the local Yanmar diesel repair guy, was both timely and efficient in fixing our hydraulic shaft brake problem and is highly recommended. I did the customs check-out at the Captainerie, and then we headed out in the car along the southeast coast of Grande Terre towards St. Anne and St. Francois. We stopped for lunch in a little place in St. Francois where the fisherman were busy cleaning their catch. It was a great meal and the best deal we had encountered. The “menu” had accras (fried conch fritters), grilled fish with frites, and bananas flambe. As squalls drenched the fisherman cleaning their catch, we enjoyed our meal as it was served in slow motion. We continued out to Pointe des Chateaux, the eastern most point of the island. There we watched waves from the Atlantic crash on the huge rock formations. We stopped at the Cora superstore on the way back for perishable items, shlepped it all on the boat, and then got the car back just in time.
We pulled away from the dock at Marina Bas du Fort at 8:30 this morning and had a great sail to Prince Rupert Bay in the island country of Dominica. We made between 7 and 8 knots the whole way with the wind on the beam, and are currently anchored in front of the small town of Portsmouth (15 degrees 35′ North, 61 degrees 28′ West). This is a place we really love – we were here twice in 2003/2004. The mountains are high and green. There are lots of waterfalls and giant hardwoods in the rainforest. The arrangement here is to use a “boat helper.” Boat helpers scan the horizon looking for arriving boats and then zoom out in their outboard powered wooden boats to get your business. In the past we have used Martin Carriere who goes by the name “Providence.” When we tell others that approach that we use Martin they all politely back off. Martin came out to greet us as soon as our anchor was down. He took me to customs to clear in and we made some tentative plans to talk about hikes and snorkeling. We will stay here until Tuesday or Wednesday.