Sailing Somewhere

If anything is certain, it's certain that our plans change. Plan A would have had us heading north and back to the States and eventually the Great Lakes right about now.. Plan A went by the wayside awhile ago when we realized that two years simply is not enough to fully see and do what we want in the Caribbean. We also had planned to stay in St. Croix for a week or so. That week or so turned into six weeks. We discovered that St. Croix offers unique diving opportunities, excellent food, access to stores and merchandise familiar to home, and new friends.

The Fredericksted Pier in St. Croix was great for spotting seahorses and easy access for an occasional night dive. Ample wreck dives were in reach from our dinghy and we took advantage of the easy tank fills at the dive shop in Fredericksted. 

We made friends with the handful of other cruisers who anchored off of Fredericksted and enjoyed some fun parties on the beach and evenings on s/v Amarula. But we also got off the boats and surfaced from our diving to make friends with Krys Harrison, a local stand-up comedian and Mandy Thrody, an artist with a philanthropic mission for Haiti and to see our friends, Stell and Snugs, perform their special brand of music. We will certainly be back to see the sea horses and visit with our new friends when we pass this way during future travels. But, once again, the hurricane season (June 1 according to historical models and our insurance company) is creeping up on us and it's time to high tail it south. Saying "so long, for now" to our friends and the dive sites is difficult, but pressing on is what we do. Off to Dominica, we decided, and set our sails in that direction knowing that we would be skipping past many of the islands we visited last year. Time is of the essence, as they say, especially when that June 1st date is looming. We had a jaunty sail, smelled the sulfer from the volcanic island of Montserrat in the middle of the night when we sailed past, and then had some goofy winds. We went a bit out of our way to toss out the anchor in a harbor off of Nevis to get some rest and wait for the winds to be in our favor again. After a 210 mile voyage, we finally arrived on one of our favorite islands, Dominica. (Many people confuse Dominica with the Dominican Republic. Don't be one of those people. They're two different places.)

This is our second visit to this beautiful island of rain forests, hiking trails and fresh water rivers. There is a river for every day of the year on Dominica and swimming in the cool water that pools around the waterfalls is exhilarating after a hearty hike through healthy topography. Dominica is stunning, breathtakingly divine and every corner has me gasping at the sheer delirious nature of mango, cashew, mahogany and other tropical trees. Bananas, figs, coffee, beautiful tropical flowers are abundant. The mountains and the rainforest contained on them are awe inspiring. Before I begin to sound like a travel brochure for Dominica, I'll stop, but trust me when I say that the island is one of a kind alluring.

Uncle Sam (Kenroy is his given name), as he's known among the PAYS Group who caters to the needs of cruisers like us, invited us to join his family on a picnic and to spend some time touring the island and taking in the local celebration of Whit Monday in Grand Bay. He took us to his home, made us excellent local food with breadfruit, cabbage, salt fish, and introduced us to peanut punch. We enjoyed steel band music, and an amazing local singer by the name of Michele Henderson. I wished the day didn't have to end. The dinners and dancing on the beach has filled the void, though. Meeting up with our pals on s/v Honey Ryder was great too. See, it's never "goodbye", but "so long, until we meet again."

Nearly every island in the Caribbean contains the evidence of the struggle between European countries who fought for control over these islands. Ruins of French and English military forts can be found throughout the Caribbean, but none are nearly as well maintained as Fort Shirley in Dominica. Surrounded by hiking trails and a well researched and informative museum, the fort is a must see. Jim and I finished up our hike and our step back in time with a lovely lunch at Prince Rupert's Tavern, also on the national park grounds.

Dominica is one of the Caribbean countries where diving on your own accord is not allowed. Scuba divers must hire a guide. Titus from PAYS introduced us to Fabien. Fabien has been our go-to guide. He's even agreed to teach us how to spear fish the invasive lion fish that have been reproducing prolifically and eating way too many of the fish that belong here on the reef.  Good for us, not so much the lion fish, is that they are tasty. The PAYS guys seasoned and cooked up a feast for us with the fish that Fabien speared on our last outing. I wasn't so accurate with the spear, but Jim has bought me one that is pint sized and I can better handle. I'm giving this hunting business another try tomorrow as we go on one last dive before we start our exodus further south. I'll let you know how I do, Next time.....

Oh, and by the way, I'll open up my website again if commenters remember that I'm a human with feelings. Don't say mean things. Be kind, practice peace and please, please, do not confuse me with someone who is wanted on charges in Europe. I'm not that person and I don't know how you can find her.

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