Quick, To Dominica!

Quick, To Dominica!

In the last post, we ended up in Fort du France celebrating some smaller carnival festivities once again. Andrew has left us for a hotel and his flight, and we have another big night of Carnival coming up.

We have created quite a little schedule for ourselves over the coming days as we are on a list to get hauled out of the water on the 23rd of February and the last big day/night of Carnival we want to attend in some way is on the 19th in Fort du France.

Between the 19th and 23rd we need to:

  • 19th Attend Carnival
  • Sail to Dominica
  • Explore Dominica
  • Sail to Terre-de-Haut to meet Teulu Tribe (another British ketch)
  • Sail to Guadeloupe Marina ready to get hauled out

First job, Carnival!

The parade walked a circuit around the whole of Fort du France, and we mainly watched from a large patch of grass near the dinghy dock, where ours, Extress’s and lots of our other boat friends’ dinghies were tied to.

We had decided to sail to Dominica on the same day as the carnival, well in reality this was just after midnight. So we headed back to the boat after lots of celebration at around 9pm eating some dinner and heading to bed.

Lying asleep in bed we heard some sound outside and went to investigate. Extress had rowed all of the way from the dinghy dock to Hannah to try and steal our boat flag (ensign). They rowed not only to make less noise but also had a broken outboard engine. Unfortunately for them, they made a bit too much noise in the process of stealing it and we heard and were able to keep it! We actually did a lot of flag “swapping” in Sal, Cape Verde but we forgot to write about it… Maybe next time Extress 😉

Midnight rolled around, our alarm went off, we had a little nibble and pulled up anchor.

To our surprise, we pulled up quite a large rock stuck under the rollbar of our Mantus anchor. We actually saw another boat have this problem a few days ago, but with a much larger rock, they basically pulled up half the sea bed!

We managed to get rid of the rock, pull up anchor, and be on our way.

Extress radioed us a few hours later to see how the sail was going and played us a little tune. The night started off calm, and with the main and Genoa out, we were making good progress in the flat seas with Adam on watch and Kathryn sleeping.

When the time came to switch roles, the sun was just rising, the wind picked up and we started coming out of the shelter of the island, so Kathryn had a bit more of an exciting sail, and Adam a bit more of an exciting sleep. Time to reef.

We arrived early afternoon into the same mooring area as Danae who were just one mooring buoy over.

We arrived over a festival weekend so most things had closed for the festivities but we managed to get a local guide to take us on an intense day of hiking with a refreshing dip in a gorge after.

The boiling lake trail is a volcanic hike to a thick grey lake at the top with an intensely boiling centre, supposedly well over 100 degrees in the centre and still over 80 at the edges. The trail leads to a flooded fumarole, a type of volcanic vent that emits steam and gas. The Boiling Lake is the world’s second-largest hot lake and is filled with bubbling greyish-blue water that’s heated by the magma beneath the surface.

The hike was about 15km in total and my phone thinks it was the equivalent of climbing up and down 239 flights of stairs!!

The first part of the hike was through dense rainforest, all the plants were vibrant greens and even some pink-leaved ferns.

After a little while the environment changed to more open mountainous views overlooking both sides of the island before dropping back down to a milky-coloured stream that ran over smooth rocks.

After yet another steep climb up we came out looking at sheer rocky cliffs stained with a rusty brown colour from all the minerals in the volcanic rock

As we descended another stream formed from a spring in the mountainside, as we got closer the smell of rotten eggs was intense from the sulphur bubbling out of the rock. The volcanic activity here causes the water to boil in many places along the little stream and you can even boil eggs in it!

Some areas were safe to touch so we got to experience the warm water.

As the stream continued it collected in natural pools in which you could bathe if you want, we didn’t really want to smell that bad for the rest of the day though so just admired them from the shore!

We finally reached the boiling lake summit and we were greeted with thick steam rising out of the lake. Every so often enough breeze would come through a blow the steam away for long enough to have a good look into the crater. The power coming from the centre was amazing, no wonder so much of the energy generated in this area comes from thermal power!

After the hike back again It’s safe to say my legs were dying for quite a few days, totally worth it though.

Hidden deep in the verdant wilderness of Dominica at the end of the Boiling Lake trail lies the enchanting Titou Gorge, a picturesque gorge formed from molten lava that cooled and split apart, it was then smoothed by a pristine river and waterfall. It’s a serene oasis that feels like a secret paradise, sheltered by towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and a stunning waterfall that cascades down into the dark pool below. With a life jacket, we swam through the clear, cool waters and marvelled at the natural beauty that surrounds them, enjoying the cold waters after a strenuous hike.

We got back to the village in time to see a little bit of the festival and its incredible costumes before heading back to the boat for a well-earned rest.

These festival celebrations were a little different to what we had seen before, each event we have gone to has slowly added more and more speakers and bigger trucks. Some of the trucks here were so loud, we really could have done with ear defenders and to think that the first event we went to in Saint Anne was mainly just instruments like drums etc.

We had to leave for Guadeloupe the next day but in the evening SV Danae snapped a great pic of us on our mooring just before all the light disappeared.

Onto Guadeloupe next and the fun of hauling the boat out in a foreign country 😲 stay tuned for next time!

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