Friday, March 27, 2015

Green Dominica

green, green, green.  And check out the huge breadfruit tree on the left - YUM

As we sailed north this season we stopped again in Portsmith Dominica and marveled once more at how incredibly green and lush this island is.
green, green, green

The winds were up when we arrived (25-30 knots) so we opted to take a PAYS mooring 1.) because the winds were way up and forecasted to stay that way, making anchoring extra exciting and 2.) because we wanted to support the PAYS Union.  3.)  we would sleep better on a secure mooring vs anchor.  What is PAYS you ask?  Good question.  PAYS = Portsmith Association of Yacht Security.  Instead of each boat guy fighting over incoming yachts, they work more together.  All the moorings belong to PAYS and not individual boat guys.  According to the Facebook page -PAYS provide night security, mooring, search and rescue, yachting services, tours, laundry services, taxi,garbage disposal, customs and immigration clearance. WiFi is provided around the pays office area. On Sundays we do the Sunday BBQ. We accept USD( United 
States Dollar) EURO and GBP (British Pound Sterling). Eastern Caribbean Dollar - $25.00 a night. For all mentioned services there is a fee.  We decided last year that we wanted to support and encourage this type of action.  We only wish other island boat guys would do the same.  
 Crews of sv Restless Heart, sv Wahoo, sv Bon Bini enjoying the PAYS BBQ
Speaking of PAYS, the boat guys are famous for their Sunday night beach BBQ party.  Last year we missed out so it was high on our list TO DO/ TO SEE this year.  The money from the BBQ helps fund PAYS island projects such as school programs and such.  It was fun.  A local group from a school performed some dances.  The food was yummy.  The rum punch was delightful and later, the tables were moved and many cruisers hit the sand to dance.

Sarah of sv Libertine and Julie of sv Rhon

Mary and Ralph of sv Restless Heart shake a leg
Back to the topic of our mooring in Portsmith.  Martin aka Providence (long time boat guy) stopped by the morning after we arrived to check on us and chat in general.  He asked Tom for an second line to secure our boat to the mooring.  This was something that Tom planned to do but hadn't yet gotten around to it as we arrived late the previous afternoon.  With the strong winds the anchorage had been experiencing the last few days, he reported a couple of boats had drug anchor and one chafed through it's mooring lines.   "Have you dove on the mooring yet?" Martin asked.  "Not yet." Tom answered.  Martin replied "This is a good strong one.  No worries.  We put boats up to 80 ft on this one."  Later after breakfast, we dove on the mooring.  Strong indeed.  Not one but TWO engine blocks with chains around and through them and then additionally the chain disappeared out in front of the first engine block into the seabed.  We felt secure after seeing that.

Sarah and Sabrina work their way along the rock shore
Dominica is known for it's hiking trails.  Even though our stay was way too short, we did mange to sneak in a hike.  Terry from s/v Libertine had picked up a fantastic hiking guide of Dominica while he was in Roseau.  We joined he and crewmate Sarah for a 5 hour hike that took us along the rugged shoreline of NW Dominica and then through a few tiny communities, the western shores and finally back to Portsmith.
Note the centenarian, Dominica has a high percentage of centenarians
FYI - The boat guys make the most money from their islands tours and hikes.  While you can do many of these by yourself, especially the hikes, it's worth it to go on a few of these hired tours and hikes.  All the boat guys along with all the taxi drivers on Dominica go through training and testing on the flora/fauna, history, traditions of Dominica.
New boat for someone

Western shore looking south
Final note - On our hike we saw over a hundred mango trees with the fruit just coming on. of our TO DO/TO SEE - stop in Dominica as we head south again for further hiking and MANGOES!!!  Dominica's oldest centenarian reportedly lived to 128 years of age and attributed her long live to all the mangoes she ate.
Unusual beach house

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