Sunday, June 7, 2015

Boat Guys of Dominica Revisited

Portsmith anchorage
I hear a local boat approaching so I stop doing dishes and pop up into the cockpit.  I am alone on the boat as Tom is off for an early morning kayak paddle.  "Hi.  How are you this morning?  What is up today?"  I say to Titus of Lawrence of Arabia Tours.  "Oh.  Good.  Not much."  We chat a bit.  The PAYS (Portsmith Association of Yacht Services) guys might do the Wednesday night BBQ / Reggae night.  They are going to talk soon to decide and then they will announce on the VHF.  We chat about various other items.  "Okay.  I just came by to check on you guys.  I will see you later." he says before departing.  Of course he is also trying to sell island tours with Lawrence of Arabia Tours.

What a difference a year makes.  As I first reported to you last year - The Boat Boys of Dominica.....we were originally apprehensive of the boat guys.  But the PAYS union and the professionalism of these guys has put us at ease.
Roseau anchorage
Several days later we sailed south to Roseau, the Capitol of Dominica.  PAYS is not here but we had been told by seasoned cruisers to call Sea Cat on the VHF in order to take one of his mooring balls.  We hailed him three different times as we approached but got no answer.  It turned out he was doing an island tour with other yachties and his guy Desmond wasn't able to respond to our hail for some reason. Never the less, a boat guy did come out to greet us.  "No more moorings up there.  But I got ones back here."  Tom asked if he was working for Sea Cat or Poncho (another name we were given).  "No.  I'm Marcus and I work for Dominica Marine Center but I do security for all the balls and you will have to take one back here."  Back here was a grouping of empty moorings with no other boats.  We didn't want to be the only ones, off by ourselves.  There have been occasional reports of yacht boardings and theft in this area so we wanted safety in numbers.  I briefly wondered if there really weren't any moorings or if he was just trying to get us on HIS moorings.  Hum?  But we really couldn't see any open moorings ahead.  Tom confirmed the price and we followed him to a mooring ball.  Note - it's quite deep in parts of the anchorage and anchoring is tricky here so most recommendations are to take a mooring ball.  Once tied up, Tom confirmed again the price and who owns what mooring balls.  Marcus confirmed again that worked for Dominica Marine Center but does security for all the moorings.  Hum?  Note - our Doyle Cruising guide is several years old so Dominica Marie Center is not listed.  Anyway, sv Salt Whistle arrived a little while later and took the ball behind us and another French boat came in as well so we didn't end up being alone in our part of the anchorage.  AND thus there really weren't any open balls in the other area. Additionally, true to his word, Marcus buzzed by twice during the evening to check the boats.  We were in the cockpit both times so he said "Everything ok?"  We said yes.  The other boats were already dark (asleep) so he just did a visual check, motoring all the way around the boats.  Kewl.  

I share these stories because others might be apprehensive as we were at first.

Side note - From April 2015 All At Sea article by Carol M Bareuther - Hubert Winston is the owner of Dominica Marie Center.  He was born in Dominica.  He moved to Florida when he was 18, eventually graduated from the University of Miami with a MBA in Business and Corporate Finance.  A desire to address lack of marine services in Dominica lead him home where he opened Dominica Marie Center and put in additional mooring balls in Roseau.  Additionally, he hired Marcus Augustus to assist yachts with the moorings and provide security.  Bravo to Winston.  Click the link above to read the full article.      

No comments:

Post a Comment