Our stay in Martinique
was a bit longer than planned as it may be easy to do your clearing by
yourself in a cyber, on Monday almost all shops are closed. So we hired
a car for an other day, no problem because Martinique has combined all
the good things from France with lively Caribbean atmosphere. So we
enjoyed the stunning nature on the northern coast: dense tropical
rainforest, beautiful trees
and everything within reach through neat roads; picturesque fishing
harbours with the familiar colourful boats
and friendly fishermen.
We also visited the Centre de Découverte des Sciences de
la Terre in St.Pierre (located in an earthquake resistant box)
and this made us aware of the fact that on Dominica we step onto the
next vulcano. If it is not for the hurricanes ravaging the islands, then
it is the vulcano's as they are all more or less active. With Montserrat
on top with an eruption in 1995. However, in St.Pierre we learned that
we don't have to go there because more than half of Montserrat is
forbidden area. But Dominica is actually more challenging; it is full of
boiling pools and sulphur springs and it also recently had an eruption,
so adventure still exists.
Dominica is the youngest of the islands; only 26 million years old.
Therefore it is rugged and the rocks rise steeply from the sea. There is
actually only one suitable anchor bay: Prince Rupert Bay in the
Four miles out we were already welcomed by boatboy Fire (fresh fruit &
vegetables, Indian River tour, island tours etc.).
were warned that boatboys are quite active in Dominica and most sailors
hate them, not realizing that those guys also have to make a living.
After Fire came Eddison, Cobra, Danny, Jerryl, Junior and Albert - it
seems to be quiet times in the boatboy-business; but once you've made
your choice, the others won't bother you anymore.
Because of the little opportunities to anchor, Dominica is mentioned in
the pilots as “a
sailor’s nightmare”. But in our opinion the opposite is true. We are
anchored in sand with 3 meters under the keel, the formalities were
settles in 5 minutes (you clear in and out at the same moment with Customs
and then you are permitted to stay for two weeks; do you extend your
visit, then you'll have to go to Immigrations); and the people! Super relaxed,
extraordinary friendly and helpful (we
immediately got a ride to the village) and they have a great sense of
The people are not rich and the homes are small.
But you see contented faces all around, sometimes they sing a song and
not because they've had one too much - although in fact they often have
as alcohol consumption is quite great. On Dominica nobody will starve as
the soil is extremely fertile. The population is 71,000,
not much. The city centre of the capital Roseau (one hour by mini-van
from Portsmouth, zigzag zigzag) consists of only a couple of streets,
but is very busy. Also they have three cruiseships each day, but
fortunately the passangers stay in the area of the tourist market and
don't dare going to the local market. Here they sell fruit and
vegetables and in the covered hall we found several “snackettes”,
where the locals lime. This is where they serve the best bakes
and it is a great place to hang out.
Dominica is going for “the next
level”, managed by a young president (34) who wants and does anything to
improve Dominica's position and circumstances. He went along with Chavez and
China, that seems to have a say in every developing country
(also in Surinam). Not every Dominican agrees, the locals in Roseau told us.
But the former government did even stranger things and invited Ross Medical University
into Dominica. Ross is a profit-organisation but we are not sure that the
profit is to the advantage of the Dominicans. Dominica seems to have sold
her health care. More than half of Portsmouth consists of campus (4,000 well
paying students, of whom perhaps only a few are born on Dominica) and the
local docters prefer working for the university above Dominica's own health
In short: the great abuse is that there is an enormous training centre, full
of medical know-how, but there is almost no doctor on the island who can or
wants to treat the sick in an adequate way, because for the practical part
of the training the students go to the U.S.
The kittens. They are now four months old. Rita was nicknamed
because she flies from the doghouse to the bimini. Also when we are
sailing! Robin also plays her part by jumping from the main boom, thus
covering the gorge to the mizzen where the bimini is attached. Rita also
caught her first cockroach, played cruelly with it (groaning loudly), killed
it and ate it. Of course we were the proud parents.