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Update: Cruising Dominica 
We left Marin a little while before sunset on 19th April and passed between Diamond Rock and the mainland before heading north west up the coast of Martinique and then across the Martinique Channel. With a good easterly trade wind of 15 - 20 knots we had a great sail all the way. As we approached the coast of Dominica at dawn, we were welcomed by dolphins and a beautiful rainbow. 

The luscious rain-forested island of Dominica was largely swathed in cloud, and we were met by Ronnie, who helped us to pick up a mooring by the Anchorage Hotel just south of Roseau, and Graham was whisked into town in Ronnie's water taxi to clear in with customs.

We spent 5 days there before heading north to Portsmouth. We experienced strong gusts of wind coming off the coastline, up to 30 knots at times and variable in direction, and mostly we were under reefed main and headsail. 

We motored around Prince Rupert Bay and anchored in the north side, just off the Mango Restaurant.

When we came to leave Dominica on 27th April, the dolphins came to wish us a leaping farewell. 

Known by the Caribs as "Waitikubuli" meaning "Tall is Her Body", Dominica is a largely unspoiled island, which is now known as 'the nature island', rich in wildlife both above and below water and with interesting geophysical characteristics. They say the island has a river for every day of the year and a volcano for every day of the week. 

The Carib people, once fierce warriors, still live in the north east of the island and are now better known  for their practical and decorative basketwork.

We found the people here to be very relaxed and friendly and felt very much at ease and very welcome everywhere we went.

Left: mural in Roseau, containing the following inscription

"This we know. The earth does not belong to Man. 
Man belongs to the earth. 

All things are connected. 

Like the blood which unites one family.

Man did not weave the web of life

He is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web he does to himself."

Chief Seattle, Squamish Tribe, 1851
Roseau is the capital with a smart new seafront and a mixture of old and new buildings. The older buildings give the town masses of charm, with their gingerbread trim and weathered or brightly painted exteriors. We visited on a Saturday morning when the market is alive with people from all over the countryside, and many vendors around all the streets, offering fresh produce for sale. We found some great bargains here, including grapefruit at 5 for EC$1 (25p), and spent some time in the Corner House Internet Cafe.
There are several good eating places, and we were glad to find our favourite Caribbean dish, chicken roti, at two of the downtown restaurants, La Robe Creole and Ports of Call.

Right: market stall with baskets and other Carib handicrafts

We took a tour into the interior near Roseau and had a most delightful day, including visiting the sulphur springs, the hot and cold springs at Titou Gorge, Trafalgar Falls, and the Botanical Gardens, where we saw the national bird, the Sisserou parrot. 

At the hot and cold springs we took a refreshing two-temperature shower, and then swam through the gorge, where the rocks almost meet overhead, with overhanging greenery way above us. As we swam through the eerie cavern, it felt like some extra special adventure, and at the end of the gorge, we reached a fast rushing waterfall, whose surging waters swept us back towards the pool once more.

Trafalgar falls have less water than they did before the hydro electric scheme was implemented, but they are still impressive. After a jungly walk and a hot scramble over boulders, the refreshing pool and falls are a delight. Graham followed our guide "Batman" against the current, until they were right up behind the lower part of the waterfall.

Left: Trafalgar Falls

On our way north to Portsmouth, we stopped at the Castaway's Hotel, Mero, where we picked up a mooring, and went snorkelling on their artificial reef before having lunch ashore. We were not given permission by the authorities in Roseau for an overnight stop here, so continued on to Portsmouth. 

Right: dive boats on the jetty at Castaway's, with Oasis in the background

Prince Rupert Bay is huge - about two miles wide and a mile deep, with boats anchored all around. Sadly, the waterfront of the town of Portsmouth is littered with the wreckage of ships allowed to drift ashore during hurricanes and storms, and there seems no law to obligate the owners to remove them, so the rusting hulks remain. 

We found a good internet cafe in town and bought some very reasonably priced fresh fruit and vegetables at Zyleing's store. We also had fresh fruits delivered to us by "Sugar Daddy" who conducts his trade by paddling out on a surfboard. Many other services are offered by the floating vendors and guides in the Portsmouth area and we were met 3 miles out by Jeffrey on "Sea Bird", who offers tours up the Indian River. 

Left: wrecks along the shoreline of Portsmouth

Top: house on the shore near the anchorage
Bottom: Saturday street market
Above: stained glass window in the Methodist Church
Below: traditonal style buildings
Top: rainbow over the anchorage 
Bottom: sunset from the anchorage

More photos from our Island Tour and Portsmouth on the next page

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