Dominica Beckons

Approaching Dominica, we notice a distinctly different landscape. The mountains are steep and much taller; the foliage is lush dark green;. heavy rain pelts both land and sea daily, thus the country is rich and fertile creating the economic mainstays of agriculture and eco-tourism.

Approaching Portsmouth Harbor from the North
Approaching Portsmouth Harbor from the North

For the cruiser sailing from the north you’ll see the twin mounds in the photo above jutting out into the ocean and marking the turn into Portsmouth harbor. Very deep water runs close ashore, and there are no hazards in the approach other than the very aggressive boat boys waiting to pounce as soon as you round the corner. One came roaring up to us in his high powered launch as I was dropping my sails and beginning our approach. A second one came alongside on a surfboard when I was trying to lower and set the anchor. I smiled broadly and politely declined their offers of assistance finding a mooring.
Very Deep Water in this Anchorage
Very Deep Water in this Anchorage

While there are many good looking moorings in the harbor, and some not-so-good looking, we anchored in about 40 feet, just on the outskirts of the mooring field. The boat boys tried to convince me that our anchor wouldn’t hold, and we’d be much safer taking a mooring. All I can tell you is, use your own judgment. Big anchors and lots of heavy chain take the worry out of most anchoring – not all, but most. Dominica-Papa657
 All our grandkids call me Papa, and Joy is Nana, so we had to take a photo of this beachfront restaurant -our kind of place. Time however, was beginning to run out on our 2012 cruising season; we knew we didn’t have enough time to fully explore all the remaining islands. We had to make choices, and one of our choices was to revisit Dominica when we had more time to see the rivers and wild countryside. This year, we would clear in and out of Dominica at one time and sail on. 
On a Mooring Off Roseau in 60 feet of Water Depth
On a Mooring Off Roseau in 60 feet of Water Depth

We sailed south the next day to Roseau near the southern end of Dominica, shaving a few miles off our next jump. We had little choice but to take a mooring here as water depth is 200 feet just 100 yards offshore, and the bottom is hard rock. When the wind went calm and the tide swung us towards shore, our stern was a scant 50 feet off the rocky coast. Next time, we will bypass Roseau and sail the extra miles either to or from Portsmouth; I’d advise any other cruiser to make the same plan, as one can enter Portsmouth any time of day or night, and in any condition. Fortunately, the winds and seas were flat calm all night, and our stay was uneventful.

Sail on to Martinique, the first of the Windward Islands
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