Some of the islands throughout the Caribbean have or has in the past, had some sort of crime involving cruisers. Things from just aggravating cruisers by wanting to help with moorings, theft of dingy and/or motor, stollen items from boat, and in rare incidences violent crimes have occurred. The town of Portsmouth in Dominica, has put in place an organization called the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security (PAYS). PAYS, is a non-profit organization providing security, mooring and related services to yachts visiting Dominica. When you arrive in Portsmouth you will most likely be greeted by one of the PAYS guys. You will be able to recognize them because their wooden boats have PAYS painted on them. It is safe to use these guys and they are very helpful in showing you where customs is located, where to find fuel and water, location of things in town and they also provide tours of the island. You can hail them on your VHF Channel 16 as you enter the harbor.
When we arrived in Portsmouth, we were greeted by Bonto (one of the PAYS guys) who helped us get on the mooring, took us to customs, fuel dock and town so we could use the ATM. There is a small fee for all this running around but what would have taken us all day using our dingy and trying to figure out where everything is located, we accomplished in just a little over an hour.
Since we were only going to stay one additional day in Dominica, we arranged for Bonto to take us on a tour up the Indian River. Bonto picked us up the following morning at our boat. The Indian River is part of the National Park and as a result of the last two hurricanes is only a few feet deep at sections. You are not permitted to use motors while in the park, so Bonto had to row us about a mile each way on the river.
The trip up the river was amazing. Bonto filled us in on all of the fish, flowers and vegetation we could see all along the river. There were hundreds of crabs all along the banks of the river. If you quick enough you can jump on a crab before he gets back into its hole. Here is Renee holding one of the crabs Bonto caught for us. We set it free after he posed for this photo-op.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies used locations throughout the Caribbean for some of its segments. The Indian River was one of those locations. Part way up the river we came to a shack that was used in both the 2nd & 3rd movies. It had been destroyed in the last hurricane and it was in the process of being reconstructed. So although we found the shack, we did not run into any pirates. After traveling upstream for about a mile, we came to a little spot where you can hang and have a refreshment before heading back down river. You can reach Bonto on VHF channel #16 or phone in advance 1+ 767 614-4131
Our next stop was Martinique where we anchored in Saint Anne. It was a large amazing harbor with a nice sandy bottom (good holding) and crystal clear water. We are thankful that our new cruising buddies Sharna & Jim on Second Spray, suggested it as oppose to the anchorage closer in town. We spent a few nights here and enjoyed the peacefulness of the anchorage and the slower pace of the town.
Cafe Boo-Boo in Saint Anne is where we would normally go to clear in/out of customs was closed for a couple of weeks because the owners were on holiday. So we had to take the 2 mile dingy ride into Le Marin which is the main harbor and marina where all the charter boats are located. There are literally thousands of boats all anchored, on moorings or in marinas. Once again, we are thankful we went to Saint Anne’s. After clearing customs we went to have lunch at Elite Kabab House just across from the customs office.
We spent the next day just lounging and being lazy on the boat in between cleaning and straightening things out after the the last several legs of our journey. Moving every few days doesn’t leave much time to keep on top of our daily chores. It has been raining small showers everyday, so Renee took advantage the fresh water and touched up all of 5KNOTS’ stainless. She shines like a new penny again! Our last day in Saint Anne was spent hiking to the top of the mountain to a shrine that has the Catholic Stations of the Cross. We also walked around town and finished up the day by treating ourselves to crapes. After all, we are on a French Island. Next stop is Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia (34nm) for the night and then Bequia (74nm). We plan on staying a few days in Bequia to see the island and also wait for the next weather front to pass. From Bequia we only have about 74nm to our final stop in Grenada where 5KNOTS will stay for hurricane season.