Monday, 22 April 2013

Nics Diary part 11- Gaudeloupe, Dominica, Martinique & St Lucia

Nics Diary – Part 11

Places Visited:
Guadeloupe – Deshaies, Les Saintes
Dominica – Portsmouth, Roseau
Martinique – Fort du France
St Lucia – Rodney Bay, Rodney Bay Marina

Yes I am still a little behind with the blog. This entry covers 23.2.13 – 5.4.13. At the end of the week a couple of crew members are arriving to assist with our passage back across the Atlantic, so I promise the blog will be completely up to date by then.

Good news – for those who don’t know - I am very happy to announce that I am 14 weeks pregnant. Some major changes have occurred to our plans, with the news of my pregnancy. Our original plans were to spend a second season in the Caribbean, then cross the pacific to Australia next year. However, once I found out that I was pregnant, Stevie started looking into having the boat taken, by a delivery skipper to Australia.

However, the costs made it not worthwhile, in part due to Australia making us pay a lot of tax to have the boat there and also the boats in Australia dropping in value rather rapidly with the high exchange rate. So, once again, plans have changed, and we now plan to sail the boat back across the Atlantic ourselves, leave it in Spain, and fly to Australia for the birth.

Pregnancy wise I am doing great. To begin with I was a little nauseous when at sea, but fingers crossed, this appears to have calmed down now. I had an ultrasound at 9 weeks, as we thought a looked a little larger than expected, but the French doctor confirmed my dates and all is well with the wee one. We even got to see the wee heart beating away!  As they say, life is an adventure!

Me 12 weeks pregnant!

And at 14 weeks!


So, back to sailing adventures, after we finally left Antigua near the end of February, we headed to Guadeloupe, a French island. This island appeared to be a lot poorer than St Martin (the last French island we visited), although it had certain quaintness to it and did not feel like the Mediterranean, like St Martin did. We climbed a very steep hill, in extreme heat (not recommended when pregnant!!), to visit some beautiful botanic gardens. The view was amazing, and although neither of us are particularly into botany, we had a lovely touristy day out.

Loads of fish at the botanical gardens - could have fed us for a month!

Stunning views! Deashaies - Gaudelopue
We also managed to find some free water in a fisherman’s port, so Stevie took advantage of this and did multiple runs in the dinghy, with jerry cans to fill the tank. Well done Stevie. Now I can clean, clean, clean!!

Just as well we found 'free' water as our attempts to collect rain water weren't very successful - and yes, our water maker has broken again!

After a few days, we moved on to some islands south of Guadeloupe – les Saintes. These were lovely islands, very back to the future. The buildings were old and shanty town like, but the people surfed around the street on electric scooters, and even electric skate boards!! There were a lot of French white men, with dread locks down to their waists, having a wee smoke. Very French Caribbean!! We spent a few days here, enjoyed exploring the islands by dingy, and had a lovely swim at the beach on one of the islands.

We also bumped into Koza, with Carola & Jim onboard , a couple of ozzies taking the long way back, we met them before in Grand canaria.

Portsmouth - Dominica


We then moved onto Dominica, where we met our first boaty boys. For those who don’t know, boaty boys hang out in the anchorages on their own wee boats, offering assistance and services to yachties. We thought this was fab, and Stevie had our guy bring beers to our front door!! In some of the anchorages they can be annoying, as they pester you, trying to compete with each other to get your business. However, in Portsmouth, Dominica, they are very well organised, and provide a very efficient service to the yachties. They also protect the boats from crime, by beating the crap out of any locals that rob boats, as the boats will not return, and hence their business will suffer. Our boaty boy, Andrew, took us to check in, then on a lovely river tour (very cheap for a day out). He rowed up a river, apparently where part of Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, and we had a light refreshment at a wee isolated bar in the wilderness. It was a very nice, relaxing day out.

It was lovely to be 'chauffeur' driven and not to have to launch our dingy!

Andrew rowing us up the river

A different boaty boy gave me a nice local flower for the boat!

We ventured into the town of Portsmouth, but struggled to find any decent food or supermarkets. It gave us a sense of a truly poor island of the Caribbean. We met an English couple with Jonathan & Terry, owners of a lovely Privilege 50 cat  (nice boat). They invited us on board for a sun downer, and a wee look around.

We headed south, and dropped anchor for the night in Roseau. We only stopped for fuel, but did not go to land or leave the boat alone, as this town was even poorer, with shacks where people lived, and a high boat crime rate.

There were actually people living in these shacks!
Soufriere - Dominica


The next day we left for another French island, Martinique. This is where I had my ultrasound done, with the report in French!! 

Our wee baby 8 weeks and 5 days old - aww!!
 Martinique is well developed, with some good shops!! Although a very racist town as on 3 occasions, different local black people came and stood in front of us in a queue. Hello it’s a queue – obviously they wouldn’t do this if I were a black local – by the 3rd time I was getting very annoyed!! Never mind – I won’t be back!

We met a lovely English couple, April and Cain, who we hope to meet up with again in the next few weeks when we return to St Lucia. I enjoyed a girly day out shopping with April, however, I struggled to find a bra, with no underwire, to fit!! Everyone either appears to be large with big boobs, or small with wee ones – no small people with big boobs in the Caribbean! After several days of failed attempts to find, just one bra, for pregnancy, I decided that my bikini tops would do just fine!!

Fort du France Martinique
Our Martinique stowaway, some kind of bat stayed overnight.

St Lucia

Rodney Bay in St Lucia is quite famous, as it is where the ARC arrives after their crossing. The bay itself is quite nice, and there is a developed shopping area, with 2 malls, and 2 supermarkets, with a dinghy dock! The malls have a very American feel to them.

Rodney bay - St Lucia , Anchorage.

We took a local bus to the town of Castries, where Stevie finally applied for his new passport!! Some areas of Castries showed great poverty, with people living in shacks, but the town itself had a good few shops – still no bras though!! We got conned by a tour driver, who promised to take us to several tourist attractions, a local fishing village, and a lift home – all within an hour – yeah right! We only saw half of the places he promised, and he still had the cheek to ask for a tip – I well put him in his place – the cheeky git. It’s funny, Stevie once read about someone commenting on how lazy the Caribbeans are. They do very little work, and go out of their way to corner one tourist, and basically rip them off!  They should realise that if they charge reasonable prices, and actually do a days work, then they would have a much better reputation, and business would be booming. It’s just damn laziness, and also they are extremely cheeky with it.

A classic example, we moved into Rodney Bay Marina for a ‘holiday’ from anchoring, after nearly 4 months at anchor again. The first boaty boy who approached our boat offered to clean and polish the hull for $450 EC (this is over £100). We said ‘no’ as I can do this in one day for free! The next day, another boaty boy came by and offered the same service for $150 EC (£40) – yes please!! We even asked if they would come back the next day and do the decks. See, if they just charged reasonable prices, then they would have ample work, instead most of them try to rob you (the average wage in St Lucia is around £20 per day).

Anyway, enough ranting, we had a fab ‘holiday’ in the marina, with and endless supply of water, and plenty of electricity. We even plugged in the air conditioning – luxury!! 

Full moon at Rodney Bay Marina

We treated ourselves to a massage, although mine was a bit of a half massage as they refused to touch my feet as I am pregnant, and I had a massage of the  top of my back, lying on my side – not my belly (not quite the same as a proper massage). Stevie loved his though! We ate out quite a lot, as the food was reasonably priced. We met another English couple, Fiona & Matthew who had come out on holiday to help crew our neighbor, John’s yacht.  By the time we moved on, we were well rested, and the boat was nice and shiny!! We have headed south to see some more islands, and will be returning to St Lucia for the end of April, to hopefully collect Stevies passport, and our new crew members for the ‘back across the Atlantic’ crossing (via Bermuda & the Azores).
I think that’s all for now, missing you all millions, love Nic & Bump xxx

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Thanks for your interest!

Nic n Steve.