Miles: 118 (including a 32 mile round trip to Anse d’Artlet)
After we splashed following the haulout, we decided to head over to Anse d’Artlet again before heading north to Dominica. It is really a no brainer as the French provide copious free mooring balls at Anse d’Artlet and the snorkeling is fantastic.
We saw heaps of sea turtles and a few sea snakes. There is a reef inside of the marine protected area that provided an opportunity for the kids to see more of the things that we see when we are diving. Lots of sea fans, interesting coral, and a variety of juvenile fish.
It was a fairly rolley night, but we still had a fun swim in the morning before heading up to Saint Pierre to clear out. Captain Daddy swam down to pat a large sea turtle that boasted a shell larger than his torso. Bucket list, check.
Saint Pierre is, unfortunately, a fairly lousy anchorage in spite of the scenic and sometimes destructive volcano looming over the town. It was rather rolley and all of the boats were crammed onto a tiny shoulder of sand right on the beach with a steep dropoff. We’d originally planned to spend the night, but we felt like we were encroaching on the other boats that got there before us so we decided to go ahead and head out for Dominica.
We had an absolutely brilliant sail up to Dominica. We pulled up the anchor just before sunset. The winds on the West side of Martinique were variable, but we still managed to get some benefit from having our sails up while lightly motoring. The forecast called for the occasional squall, so we went ahead and put a reef in the main just in case. Once we got past the tip of Martinique the winds picked up to a steady 15 knots on the beam and we shut the engine down. The new bottom job really showed its value as we cruised along at 7.5 knots for most of the night until we got into the lee of Dominica. Prior to getting repainted, we were lucky to make 5 knots with the engine running flat out.
Dominica is one of the least developed of the larger islands in the Caribbean. We look forward to doing a little exploring, but our primary reason for stopping here is to refill our propane tanks as the French islands don’t have the right fittings. Be aware, that while the anchorage at Portsmouth is otherwise fantastic, it does sport an incredibly loud party bar that runs until *after* sunrise on Friday and Saturday. Yikes! In a week or so, we’re going to head up to Ille Saintes and see if it is all our cruising friends have made it out to be.