Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Special Island: Dominica and Sexy Bones

 Portsmouth, Dominica.  Our favorite nature island in the Caribbean and yes, it rains a lot here!

 Walking around town in Portsmouth, Dominica.  Anyone need a toilet?

Hurricane Maria damage in Portsmouth, Dominica.

The hospital in Portsmouth, Dominica.  Notice the blown out windows.  Yes the hospital is still functional but the conditions are not very good.

Metal building peeled back during hurricane Maria.

This home across from the hospital still has a person living inside.  Incredible.

Market day in downtown Portsmouth, Dominica

The Kalinago Reservation on the Eastern side of Dominica.  This is how you get drinking water.

 Our tour guide Winston standing in front of the barrel he spend 5 hours hiding in during hurricane Maria.  The barrel saved his life.

Dropping our supplies of roofing screws, nails, tarps and kitchen goodies off at the Kalinago Reservation on Dominica.

Sexy Bones house, or what is left of his house after hurricane Maria.

Sexy Bones house showing the inside.  A little paint and maybe some nails might help?  Maybe not.

 Sexy Bones x-sister-in-law on the Kalinago Reservation.  I thought she might like to have a couple books...
Portsmouth PAYS Sunday night BBQ with fish and chicken on the grill.  You gotta have something to drink (Carib beer of course) while you are cooking!

Bounty, one of the PAYS boat boys in Portsmouth with Dawn (Cat Tales) and Maria at the BBQ

Sara and Norm from SV Norsa at the BBQ in Portsmouth, Dominica.  We last saw them in Tahiti when they were with us in the Blue Water Rally and wisely left the Rally.

Rainbows herald a new beginning, hope for the future and special times amongst the beautiful islands in the Caribbean Sea.

S/Y Aspen – February 20, 2018 – Log #156
Aspen Position: 15 degrees 34’ N  061 degrees 27’ W
Portsmouth, Dominica, Caribbean

The tooth saga has ended.  After seeing a French dentist who took nearly a dozen x-rays and poked and probed Captain Steve’s mouth for over an hour, he found nothing wrong except an infected gum.  Fantastic!  The tiny tools, antiseptic mouthwash and advice took care of the problem in a week.  The total cost?  Less than $50.

So it was off to Dominica we sailed, along with 25 other boats that were heading in the same direction!  Wow, what a pounding we took sailing between Martinique and Dominica.  8-10 foot Atlantic rollers shook Aspen while Admiral Maria tried to calm herself by watching the Devil Wears Prada for the five hundredth time on the DVD player.  The wind was blowing up to 25 knots so that made the trip even more rough.

Yet Portsmouth, Dominica was calling us to visit, after category 5 hurricane Maria destroyed nearly everything on the island.  Our friends needed help so it was well worth the effort to visit them.

Unlike Puerto Rico, the USVI, BVI’s and St. Maarten who were also destroyed by hurricanes this fall, Dominica has no big country to support them.  The USA helps Puerto Rico and the USVI.  England helps the BVI’s while France and Holland help St. Martin/St. Maarten.  Dominica is the poorest island in the Eastern Caribbean with only their neighboring islands to help them.

Caribbean sailors have always remained loyal to enchanting Dominica and this season was no different.  We rallied to help out as much as we can.  Roofing screws, food, ropes, tarps, you name it and sailors have arrived to do anything and everything we can for our friends in Portsmouth, Dominica.

The boat boys always take care of visiting sailors in the bay and now it was our turn to help them.  Unlike the damaged islands to the north, Portsmouth harbour is a beehive of activity with over 65 sailboats anchored for Cruisers Appreciation Week, willing to help in any way possible.

After many supplies were distributed, the sailors gave what is needed most to Portsmouth:  Money!  We spend currency on tours, food, rum, beer, in the restaurants and little bars, etc.  How about the little boy or girl selling a trinket on the street?  Sure, we’ll buy what they have but please keep the neckless or whatever they have for the next sailor walking by.

We took a tour with 3 other couples to the eastern side of the island; the Kalinago (Carib Indian) Reservation.  We thought the damage on the Portsmouth side of the island was bad.  Yet on the remote eastern coast of Dominica nearly every house or structure was heavily damaged.  Roofs are nonexistent, walls have been blown apart and the people are living in desperate conditions.

We had our tour van loaded with many supplies to help the Kalinago as much as we could.  Once the supplies were dropped off on the reservation, Captain Steve’s quest began:  Where was Sexy Bones?  (Sexy Bones is Captain Steve’s Kalinago friend/Shaman whom he wrote about in his book, if you remember)

Sexy Bones house was destroyed.  Several neighbors offered differing stories of where Sexy Bones might be.  We pursued each lead, eventually finding Sexy Bones x-sister-in-law who had the most recent information on his whereabouts.  Sexy Bones was somewhere in the bush, she explained.  He had been in the bush since the hurricane but came out when he needed to.  But not today it seemed.  Oh well, another time Captain Steve will catch up with Sexy Bones again and it will seem like old times.

Despite the hurricane damage and life changing events, the boat boys (officially knows as PAYS) hosted their weekly BBQ for sailors.  Nearly 120 sailors showed up to enjoy a chicken or fish supper with unlimited rum punch, along with welcoming speeches by government officials and dancing under the stars until the wee hours.  It just doesn’t get any better in the Caribbean than that.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…


  1. So sad for Dominica’s residents, prayers that Times will get better. With friends like all of you, helping , and just being there bringing much needed supplies, is so wonderful. God Bless!

  2. Thanks for supporting and helping my brother's on Dominica wish I could be there to help as well and I wish the world would come help Dominica

  3. Fantastic blog post and photos! I remember your running trails and you find g sexy bones in the mountains. Next time you will find him. How wonderful of you to take supplies to those in need. Great job!

  4. I just googled Sexy Bones Dominica and this blog popped-up. We have also met Sexy Bones during our 2 visits to Dominica but had no way to get in contact with him and were anxious to have some news about him and his familly after hurricane Maria. May I contact you for more details plse ?