This is part of the ninth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from St Lucia
8/3/03 Roseau, the capital, we motored past slowly, looking for places to land the motorcycle but without going ashore decided to move to Portsmouth at the northern end of the island. In lighter winds it took till dusk to arrive.
9/3/03 Dominica was once described as having a landscape like a crumpled piece of paper. With its eight volcanoes, high rainfall and low population it promotes itself as the ecological island. Being almost devoid of sandy beaches it doesn't attract the lazying holiday makers. Sunday is the supply ship day, coming in from St Martins and offloading onto smaller boats going to Martinique, Antigua and to ports on Dominica. It means the wharf is extremely busy with small cargo boats tied, up to four deep. We were lucky, after clearing customs, to be given a 30 minute window, during a reshuffle of the boats, to unload the motorcycle. The bike was untied and the captain shallow anchored just off the dock waiting. Within 20 minutes we had lifted anchor, tied up, unloaded the bike and had left the wharf. After one month on the boat Kay and I have learnt enough to be useful and now the three of us work well as a team during sailing, docking and anchoring. In the afternoon we rode to the northern and eastern coastline with beautiful bays and steep rocky headlands.
10/3/03 "Nice bike", "I like your bike", "I want to buy your bike". All called out in the Caribbean accent by people as we pass by. The roads are narrow, traffic slow and people with relaxed time on their hands watch the motorcycle pass. They have a few big bikes on the islands, sports bikes, but we haven't seen a Harley, let alone a big one covered in stickers. It draws attention here. We rode from the north to the south down the west coast road, to Roseau, the capital for some groceries and internet but by our return word had come to Portsmouth police station of a "Big bike" and we were stopped and questioned. They thought we needed a short term registration to ride on the island, but no-one was sure and in the relaxed attitude the people here have, we were allowed to ride away, that we should return tomorrow when they would find out.
11/3/03 We were at the police station at 9.00 am but still relaxed no-one knew any more than yesterday so it was decided we could ride today as we were leaving tomorrow anyway. When white man arrived in the Caribbean, following Christopher Columbus, they were already inhabited by "Caribs", people who had migrated through the island chain from South America. The Europeans killed most of the warring natives with the only remaining group in Dominica. Almost all their culture and language has disappeared and they have interbred with black African migrants but a lot still retain the Asian look of the native South Americans. They live on a reserve on the island in a few tribal groups with their own elected chief. Now a tourist attraction, selling crafts and displaying their skills for tourist photo dollars. We looped the north of the island stopping and talking to the locals and the Caribs before snorkelling in the afternoon and trying breadfruit for dinner. This pumpkin sized fruit grows on all the islands. A tree yet the starchy fruit tastes like a nutty sweet potato. A staple starch for the locals.
12/3/03 This area of the world was fought over heavily, mainly by the British and French with most islands having being occupied by both nationalities at some stage. Any strategic rocky point, high peninsula or island end seems to have a fort. Portsmouth had its and on our arrival in Le Saintes there was another. The anchor winch sheared a pin delaying our departure from Dominica by a couple of hours, but after loading the motorcycle we managed the three hour sail, arriving before dark.
13/3/03 Le Saintes is a group of islands off the southern
end of Guadeloupe, a French island, part of the European Community. They used
to be considered unspoilt but their popularity has now spoilt what a few
used to enjoy. Two cruise ships, modified to carry masts so they can be called
tall ships, arrived in the morning. They have completely automated sails
furling into the mast or onto stays. Ordinary ferries come from Guadeloupe
and by 10.00 am the island was cram packed with people in minibuses, on mopeds,
on hobicats, canoeing or just wandering the streets. It is a beautiful island,
rocky headlands, beaches and French Caribbean architecture but we left by
12.00 noon returning to our solitude and sailing to the north of Guadeloupe
anchoring up for the night.
Move with us to Antigua and
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