Sunday, March 29, 2009

First snack stop on the tour - really fresh bananas, with a view.
Climbing back out from the second falls at Spanny Falls

A fabulous house in Portsmouth

Our charming, knowledgeable guide, Martin (aka Providence)

Dessert - guava, orange, cane, papaya, custard apple


Lunch in Roseau with Chantal and James

Banana leaf

Carib canoe


African Tulip tree flower

One of the stops on our tour

Spanny Falls

photo by James Fine

Chaudiere Pool

Chris Doyle

Randy's Bananas Flambe

Chantal, trying to memorize the recipe...
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Long time no blog. Sorry about that. There's been lots going on, and lots of travelling, and a whacking great load of pictures to post. The connection here is iffy, so I'll try to post photos later (this photo is by James Fine of all us after our tour with Martin).

Last blog was Grenada, and in the three weeks since then, we've stopped at Carriacou, Bequia, St. Lucia, and Martinique. Now we're back in Dominica waiting out a big north swell, and we'll be heading north to Guadeloupe and Antigua in the next couple of days. The strikes on the French islands have been resolved, and we hear that things are slowly getting back to normal.

You'd think there would be a pile of fish stories to pass along after all that sailing. Fishing stories, maybe, but no fish dinners. Along the coast of Grenada we hooked a massive 4 foot long wahoo. What a fighter! Got him to the side of the boat once, and he ran away with all the line. Second attempt, we actually had to take a wrap on one of the winches and Randy tailed the line while I hauled. He was alongside for just long enough for Randy to grab the gaff and reach down to snag him, then kablooey, the fish gave a mighty thrash that straightened the snap on the swivel, and away he went with the lure, leaving us boo-hooing on the Nancy D.

Between Carriacou and Bequia, we caught four barracuda in the space of a half-hour. Ick. Barracuda are supposed to be good eating, but in some areas the risk of ciguatera poisoning is high, so we just throw them back. You can always tell when you've got a barracuda on the line: no fight at all, they haul along like a water-logged turd, and are just about as welcome. Once you get them to the boat, they wake up, and they're all teeth and thrash. We've developed a system involving pliers and gloves and both of us cursing until we get the hook out, and sometimes we get lucky and they fling themselves loose.

We went ashore for lunch in Bequia, and when I asked about the fish of the day? Barracuda.
In Bequia, we went into Lully's Fishing Supplies and spent a whopping $45 EC on new gear: beautiful brass heavy-duty swivels, more line, a new heavy yellow Sea Witch lure and a highly recommended pink and purple wahoo lure. We've been dragging two lines from Bequia to Dominica, and there's nothing more to report! Albert, a river guide here in Dominica, had a look at our gear and said that it's all the right stuff, but "you just haven't run into any fish." I remain hopeful.

It's been pretty good sailing for all these passages, considering that we're going uphill. Randy's been picking the right days, and while the wind is still closer to north than east, we've been making great time and nobody's barfed. In between the passages, we've been killing off jobs on the list, and lots of jobs that didn't even make it to the list. There's a perverse satisfaction upon completion to add these items to the list, and then cross them off immediately. There's still a few big jobs waiting until just before Classics - the Captain wants to be sure ND is looking as fresh and tidy as is humanly possible on the day of the beauty competition. When we think of the gorgeous yachts that will be all around us, there's a bit of "what are we thinking?" involved, but the boat is benefitting from all the TLC and maybe we'll get an A for effort.

After a stretch of relative solitude and work, we've really enjoyed meeting some new people, kindred spirits all, and there have been lots of outings, feasting and making merry on a variety of boats. We're looking forward to seeing Pat and Larry on Pasha from Lunenburg in Antigua for the Classics, and we just said au revoir to Chantal and James on Q (Montreal). They're headed south to haul and then go back to work for awhile, but we've had a great time touring around Dominica with them. Martin was our guide for a terrific tour around the north end of the island, with a memorable hike to both falls at Spanny Falls, and stops at the Carib Territory and Red Rocks. Chris Doyle (yup, that Chris Doyle) was along on the tour, and he's great company and, of course, full of insight and knowledge about people and places. The day after the tour, he joined us on ND, along with James and Chantal and their visitors, Deb and Steve, for dinner and drinks and bananas flambe. Who has more fun than us?

Chaudiere Pool was another great hike with Chantal and James. I'm not sure that the shocks on the rental car will survive another trip up that road, but the hike was great. Norm and Lisa on Williwaw (from Sydney NS!) arrived yesterday, and we're looking forward to doing a couple more hikes with them before we leave Dominica. It's such a lush and beautiful place, and there's so much to see. We could stay a month, but Classics is looming! Tara and Stewart will be here in about two weeks! Let the games begin!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time to catch up on the photos. Blog to follow soon - we're currently in Bequia, leaving for St. Lucia tomorrow. Above, a shot of Grenada (as always, click on photo for larger version).

The attack of the ice cream headache, delivered via a fabulous frozen banana smoothie, part of the shopping day ritual.

Another ritual - cleaning Susan after a painting job.

The inside of the taxi zooming down a wicked hill in St. George's

Car and pedestrian tunnel in St. George's. Very tight fit.

It's not too bad unless you meet a really big woman or hummer or a guy with a wheelbarrow.

The university campus

From the windward beach at Hog Island.

View of Hog from the masthead.

Another view from the masthead (I was up there epoxying a loose screw).

Neighbours at Hog Island

Pat and Larry Pringle from Pasha (Lunenburg!)

Chantal and James on Q from Montreal. We spent several great evenings with them and the Pringles.

Carriacou sunset

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