Saturday, February 27, 2016

Marie Galante and Guadeloupe

Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica with Aspen in the sea of boats somewhere

These big boats always want to anchor close to Aspen, for some reason

Hiking Segment #12 of the Waitukubuli Trail, Dominica. 
After the hike and well rested in Portsmouth, Dominica at the restored Fort Shirley
 In case you wondered, yes there is a green flash at sunset if you are lucky enough to see it!

Hiking on Marie Galante and finding a grotto where the Amerindians once lived.  Pretty nice!

 The cave also had a nice water catchment system - what else could you want?

View from inside the grotto.  What a great view the Amerindians had.

They make the baguettes big on Marie Galante

The windward side of Marie Galante

A rather large sink hole on Marie Galante that dwarfs the one in Aruba

There are over 100 old sugar mills on Marie Galante, scattered everywhere.

 The very nice marina in Bas Du Fort, Guadeloupe.  Notice there is only 1 US flag on the dock.

Petroglyphs on Guadeloupe.  These date from 300 AD, based on pottery fragments found at the site.

Happy hour on Gosier, a small island 3 miles from Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe that we anchored at.

S/Y Aspen – February 27, 2016 – Log #140
Aspen Position: 16 degrees 13’ N  061 degrees 31’ W

Leaving Dominica we had a great sail to an island that has been on our list for a long time, but we were never able to get there because of the wind and seas:  Marie Galante.

This time we got lucky with a weather window and made it there without too much discomfort.

Wow, what a gem of an island Marie Galante is.  They farm sugar cane, cotton and graze cattle on the flat beautiful island.  The island is all limestone so the water is crystal clear and you can really see starfish by moonlight in the anchorage at Saint Louis.

We rented a car for a day and drove nearly every road on the island - that is not difficult because it is not very large.  The beaches are stunning and even though no one speaks English (!) we enjoyed being there.

Another 5 hour sail took us to the mainland of Guadeloupe and the capital of Pointe a Pitre.  It seems that the admiral, Maria, developed a tooth problem when she was in Dominica.

Yes there is a dentist in Dominica but you would not want to go there.  X-ray is a foreign word to them.

So we waited and luckily found a spot in Bas du Fort Marina at Pointe a Pitre with a dentist close by.  The office was modern and the dentist even spoke English.  Maria ended up with a root canal with a lot of infection so it was good she didn’t wait until we were back in Colorado, as the captain advised her.

Since we had a pretty secure place in the marina to keep Aspen we even rented a car and toured Guadeloupe.

This island is huge and the sights are really interesting, as the pictures show.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

(Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Martinique & Dominica

Lunch time in Martinique on Grand Anse, St. Anne.

Grocery shopping in the French islands is always a treat.  Notice the baguette!

A great lunch spot in St. Pierre, Martinique.  Luckily the volcano wasn't erupting.

Beach day at St. Anne, Martinique for the girls (Maria, Dawn (Cat Tales), Lorna (Peace & Plenty) and Michele (Tarentella)

Even the guys had a beach day (Captain Steve, Al (Tarentella), Laurie (Cat Tales) and Brian (Peace & Plenty)

Maria and Dawn (Cat Tales) admiring the burned ruins from 1902 when the volcano buried St. Pierre, Martinique.  St. Pierre was once call the Paris of the Caribbean.

Just another happy hour with our sailing friends.

 Maria, Lorna (Peace & Plenty), Dawn (Cat Tales) and Captain Steve onboard Tarentella

Maria and Cindy (Sitatunga) on the hiking trail in Dominica.  You can see the steepness behind the girls!

Captain Steve and Laurie (Cat Tales) trying to figure out where they were and where the next Boa might be hiding!

Boa that Captain Steve leaped over!!!!

S/Y Aspen – February 17, 2016 – Log #139
Aspen Position: 15 degrees 34’ N  061 degrees 27’ W
Portsmouth, Dominica

Two Islands, one very French and the other:  The Nature Island of Dominica; one of our favorite islands in the Caribbean.

There is great food, French wine and cheeses and beautiful beaches throughout the flower island of Martinique.  Every morning I bring a hot baguette to Maria after my run through the bucolic countryside, as she waits patiently for my return and the start of breakfast.  What a way to begin another day in the tropics.

The hiking trails on Martinique are well marked with beachside restaurants to greet us after a long walk amongst the sparkling white sand beaches.

Sailing north to the next island brings a completely different experience.  English speaking Dominica welcomes with open arms, hoping we will stay a while and enjoy nature on its’ own terms amidst smiling local faces.

The Waioukubuli National Trail traverses the length of the island, over 100 miles, and is the longest trail system in the Caribbean.  Most of the trail is rated moderate to difficult, as we completed Segment #12 this year with our Canadian sailing friends, Dawn and Laurie (Cat Tales), Cindy and Don (Sitatunga) and Gilbert and Diana (Serenada).

During our 5 hour hike of only 6 miles we came across a Boa Constrictor, vast fields of callilou, root crops, bananas, plantains, oranges, and quite a few other tropical delicacies. 

Boa Constrictor???  Oh yes, it was a big one at about 5 feet in length.  Luckily Captain Steve was leading the group and stepped over a large log.  As his foot hit the ground, what happened to look at his tasty shoe?  Boa!

It has been quite a while since Captain Steve used his basketball jumping skills but they came into good use once again.

Mr. Boa slowly slipped away, taking no interest in our group of hikers, luckily.  Whew.

The steep ups and downs of the trail made for good laughs, once we found an establishment at the end that served refreshments.

That is just another example how we spend our time in the tropics aboard Aspen.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…