We sailed to Dominica from Martinique. Dominica was badly hit by hurricane Marie last year and the OCC (0cean Cruising Club) is encouraging yachting people to visit and support the economy. Our quide book says that the island is the most unspoilt in the region and has a spectacular natural beauty. I am sure this is right but we could see from sailing up the coast that the hurricane had done great damage to the rainforest. This will grow back but there is still a huge amount to do to restore the housing and, I am sure much of the infrastructure. This is a very poor place. I am all for cleaning up the oceans, but I am not sure what the Prime Minster of Dominica will make of Theresa May’s speech on banning plastic straws at the Common wealth leaders meeting – I suspect he might feel he has higher priorities. It has be said cocktails complete with straws are very popular in the Carribean but we were served bamboo straws in Bequia.
We anchored on one of the PAYS buoys and were well looked after by Spaghetti one of the boat men. We had a lovely trip up the Indian river where Pirates of the Carribean was filmed. PAYS or Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services organise security for the moorings, provide trips and are generally very helpful to visiting yachts. They organised an excellent Sunday night barbecue were we meet a group who had just finished a round the world trip with the Arc 2017/18. They were very enthusiastic about the experience. We were pleased to do our little bit to support this community which has been so supportive of the cruising yachts.
From Dominica we travelled up to Iles de Saints part of Guadeloupe, a department of France. The contrast from Dominica could not have been more stark and yet these islands are only 20mn apart. Iles de Saints is like a Carribean/French Scilly Isles – a quiet, easy going, holiday island with smart eateries. We did some hiking and eating!
When we were here we discovered that our starboard rudder was damaged. We have no idea how this happened and it is particularly bizarre as the damage is at the back of the rudder. Having spent so much time in Martinique getting the boat in pristine condition this was so frustrating and disappointing. We have consulted the manufacturers of the boat and they say it will be fine until the boat is next hauled out when it can be mended. We can only imagine that the damage was caused by something under the water rubbing at the rudder while we were on the docks in Martinique. We will have to put it down to a hazard of owning a boat.