Saturday, March 04, 2006

What a week!

I jumped on another boat for the delivery from Grenada to St. Martin and what a week it has been. The weather was as good as can be sailing up wind, and the crew are great.

Our first stop was Martinique, about 9-hours from Grenada. We anchored in Les Anses-d’Arlets and with no other boats around we had the pristine waters to ourselves. In a 30 foot anchorage I could look down from the boat and make out clearly purple, yellow and green coral. The captain and mate went diving and saw moray eels and said the dive under the boat was close to the best diving they’d ever done (and they’ve both done the Great Barrier Reef). I went snorkeling for the first time which was absolutely exquisite; there were fish that sparkled like disco balls, trumpet fish, giant sea urchins and beautiful corals. The waters were by far the most crystal clear I’ve seen in the Caribbean and I’m inspired to go for my diving certification before this adventure is finished.

After Martinique we set sail for Dominica, another 10-hour trip, anchoring in Prince Rupert Bay where, again, we ran into my friends from Safari – the 62’ catamaran whose captain and chef have become my guardian angels throughout the course of my Caribbean adventure. And of course, running into them meant another on-the-fly dinner party lasting well into the night…

Coco Pod:
Dominica is known for its tropical rainforest and much of the island is a nature preserve. Our captain arranged a tour for us and we hiked Syndicate rainforest and swam in the falls… Our guide was a wealth of information pointing out every plant and tree along the way, giving us their names and uses (building, medicinal, etc.). He pointed out and picked for us wild lemongrass, nutmeg, ginger, coffee, cacao and fresh fruit. I’d never seen cacao in its natural state before. A large pod that turns yellow when ripe, it is filled with a sweet, white fruit which we sucked off of the seeds. Neither the fruit nor the seeds tasted anything like chocolate. The seeds have to go through a process of fermentation, drying and roasting before the cacao is edible. Cacao is commonly grown in the Eastern Caribbean, although not as an export. The majority of the cacao is processed by the islanders for their own use; the end result being a hard and bitter ball of chocolate which is usually grated into hot milk or water and combined with sugar for drinking.

Eating the fruit from the coco pod:
The captain is an amateur photographer with lots of equipment so on our passage up we were sailing within a half mile of all of the islands along the way so that he could take pictures. It was really magnificent to see the coastline of every island that we passed. We sailed within a half mile of Montserrat where there is an active volcano that smothered half of the island in 1997 when it blew. As we sailed past we could see smoke billowing from the top of the volcano and ash slides coming down the sides. We could fallow the path of the ash flow from the eruption in 1997, as well as see the ruins of homes and buildings that were abandoned.

In Antigua we met up with more friends from St. Martin and spent a day relaxing before the home stretch to St. Martin…

2 comments:

sha said...

life sounds good...

Anonymous said...

What a gig.Would love to be your sous chef.but i am stuck in OR. spiny lobsters need to com from cold water and half cooked and then they are the best. J.P.

 
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