Skipping right to Dominica

I know I haven't written anything about St Martin or Antigua or Guadeloupe, but I think you'll get tired of me continually saying how beautiful the beaches are and how great the snorkeling is and how FANTASTIC the fresh baked baguettes are for breakfast, etc. etc. etc. So I'm going to go right over those islands and straight to Dominica.  It's pronounced dome-a-knee-ka and has been, at times, ruled by the Spanish, the French and the British.  The names of the cities, mountains and rivers are a hodge-podge mix of all three languages and have a little Carib Indian thrown in for good measure.  You can go from Salisbury to Trafalgar then on to Morne Espagnol, Dublanc and Soufriere.  They mostly (is mostly even a word?) speak English but lapse into a Caribbean/French Creole when they don't want us foreigners to know what's up. 
Indian River from the Bush Bar.
 There is an interesting industry here, one referred to as "Boat Boys". I guess boaters entering the harbor used to be mobbed by very young men in boats and on surfboards offering all kinds of services and help for everything from laundry to trash disposal.  These days the Boat Boys are now Boat Men and they are organised into a group called PAYS (stands for Portsmouth Area Yacht Security, but actually it's what you do, you pays and you pays and you pays).  They now run most of the tours from this area, in addition to taking care of your laundry and trash.  It's difficult to describe but the way it works is that basically the first boat boy you are approached by becomes YOUR boat boy and you are expected to take your tours on the rivers and on land with him.  The complications arise when you want to take a tour with a few other fellow boaters to take advantage of the group discount.  Who's boat boy gets the business and who'll be upset?  It's too much stress for my stress-free lifestyle.  They also don't seem to understand how freakin'ly independent cruisers are (and how cheap) and that we as a whole don't want to PAY someone to hand us the mooring line that we're very able to pick up for ourselves, thankyouverymuch.
Steve and Chris drinking coconut water.
 Anyway, when in Rome... Our Boat Boy is Jeffrey and he's the president of PAYS.  He wasn't too upset when we did an Indian River tour with a competitor as long as we agreed to an island tour with him later in the week.  Both were wonderful.  The river tour, given by Monty, was quiet and fairly cool. We sampled coconuts, cocoa beans and mangoes, saw bananas ready for harvest.
The view from the restaurant almost made up for the supremely uncomfortable bamboo benches.
 For the island tour, eight of us piled into moreBLING with Winston.  (All the vans and most of the cars had names or sayings applied across the top of the windshield, and for some reason Winston's van said moreBLING, I didn't ask.)  Winston took us to see a bay leaf distillery, a rum distillery, a river where we swam across to a thermal pool, an Emerald Pool where we swam under a waterfall, mango trees, almond trees, cashew trees, passion fruit vines, taro root, on and on and on. 
Carib Indian basket vendors, looking out over the Atlantic.
 After lunch of fried chicken or fish, we were off in moreBLING to see: the Carib Indian reservation and purchase some beautiful handmade baskets, black sand beaches, red rock caves, cassava cooking, mahogany trees and more fruits than I can remember.  We were a quiet, tired group by the end of our 12 hours of touring, but we managed to stop by the grand opening of the new fishing pier here in Portsmouth and buy fresh tuna steaks for $3.20 a pound.  In all, a wonderful day with good friends, old and new.
The group sampling what I think was cassava. left to right: Darwen and Jan, Anne, Winston, Vicki, Chris, Steve and Bob.


John, Roberta and Freedom said...

Looks amazing! The BoatMan thing is a bit complicated but it is probably pretty helpful at times...How are are the charts for these countries you have been seeing...how far South are you going? We are enjoying you blog..keep it coming!

Lynn said...

John and Roberta,
We are using the electronic CYC charts for the eastern Caribbean..they are Pretty good. We also have the Garmin chip for the area..it's OK, about the same. We also have a full set of the black and white (very old) Iolair hard Charts don by Don Street. They are EXCELLENT. We wound behind a reef on the south coast of PR only to learn the path is pretty clear on the Iolair charts. Worth looking in to if you're coming this way!