From Martinique we headed north to Dominica, although only 25 miles apart it is totally different.
There is an amazing contrast between islands from the rich French islands with all the modern conveniences, large shopping centres and proper infrastructure to the very poor ex British islands that have few facilities, hardly any tourists, and lack the support of a big European country.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived in Portsmouth , the second largest town on Dominica, along the water front are several sizeable boats that have been washed up onto the shore from previous hurricanes. Some have been there since 1995.No one seems bothered to remove them and they are just left to rust and obliterate the view from the town.
The island is very mountainous and is covered with a lush tropical rain forest and with it comes constant rain showers, over 700 inches in a year!!! We are continually opening and shutting our hatches as the next rain squall comes through; I’m sure Penny and I shut and open them in our sleep!
With the constant rain you would expect lots of mosquitoes, but this time of year with the trade winds always blowing they seem to keep away. Not even any flies.Although the local people seem to do it rather tough they are all very friendly and helpful and don’t hassle you much. The boat boys come out to you daily offering inland tours, river trips and selling a variety of fruits.
We try to give them as much custom as we can as they rely heavily on yachties to supplement their income but there are only so many tours you can do and only so many coconuts and mangoes you can buy.
After spending a very pleasant week in Dominica we moved on to Le Saintes, a group of small islands just south of Guadeloupe another French island. It was back to the Gallic charm with a decent selection of food and wine. As we have been cruising the west coast of Guadeloupe we have done a fair amount of scuba diving; the best site being Pigeon Island, “Cousteau Underwater Park”, where we picked up one of the mooring buoys and just dived off the back of the boat into 12 metres crystal clear water. Cousteau declared this one of the world’s best diving sites. Admittedly it was very beautiful, but we think perhaps he didn’t visit the Great Barrier reef.