Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Boat Boys of Dominica

April 28th, 2014
I must confess that we were a bit apprehensive about boat boys.  We have read and heard various things - good and bad.  The boat boys of Dominica.......and FYI - that is what they are called (boat boys) in all the cruising guides, by fellow cruises and in fact on their various boats, however using the term "boys" makes us uneasy so we have decided "boat guys" is better......anyway....the boat guys of Dominica have organized realizing that too much pressure/harassment of yachties in the past was causing the yachting community to avoid Dominica.  They are organized, professional, helpful and very nice.
Alexis guiding our Indian River tour

As we sailed the final 2 miles along the coast of Dominica, a boat guy approached.  Even though we knew 99.9% it was a boat guy and there is little to no piracy in these waters, I will say it was still un-nerving to have a small wooden skiff zooming out towards our boat and making course adjustments to intercept.
Tom along the Indian River - check out those tree roots
Tom thinking about all the things he could do with this bamboo
Alexis met us before we ever reached Prince Rupert Bay to let us know that he was available if we needed anything.....aka tagging us as his in a sense.  We got into the bay and were attempting to anchor when another boat guy approached.  Alexis was up with Sv Amaris.  Tom quickly headed the second boat guy off at the pass "We are already with Alexis."  he said nicely but firmly.  The guy, Nature Boy - the name on the side of his skiff-  laughed and said " That's great and all but I'm the fruit guy, Michael."  D-oh!  
Hello Mr Crab.  Would you like to swim in my soup? 

Alexis circled back to us after we got anchored just to touch base.  He gave us a run down of where customs is, the dock to use for customs, the Tues market and the other yachtie needs as well as offer his various services.  We decided to join his Indian River tour the next day.

At 10 am sharp he picked us up at Sv Honey Ryder.  The Catana Sv Lazy Jack joined us with their crew of five.  Alexis expertly rowed us up the Indian River sharing his local knowledge, pointing out various birds, land crabs, foliage and fauna.  At the turnaround point there was a rest stop / hut / bar where we could purchase drinks.  They had fresh made juices of guava, passion fruit or grapefruit   Tom opted for the passion fruit and I got the guava.  All the juices were made on the spot so it gave us time to wonder around the manicured grounds and look at all the tropical plants.  Beautiful.  We returned to two of the freshest, best tasting juices we've ever had.  After we were all refreshed, we piled back in to Alexis's boat for the trip back down the River.  He continued to share his knowledge of Dominica and we peppered him with questions.  Okay.....I peppered him with questions.
Our FRESH passion fruit and guava fruit juices

All the tables and chairs were handmade out of wood
Random FYI - 365 rivers on Dominica.  They export produce to several of the other islands (produce we purchased in Antigua and St Martin came from Dominica).  They have one geothermal plant online with another two in the works.  Ross Medical School is located here and has 1000 students.  This is greenest island so far and people seem to be a little more industrious (in our humble opinion).

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