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Leaving Portsmouth

In under an hour we’ll be leaving Portsmouth and heading south to Roseau.  We’ve been here for two and a half weeks.  Every time we stay anywhere nice for a week or more we begin to feel settled and the prospect of moving on becomes more difficult.  Yesterday we went ashore to do our final shopping and on the way said our goodbyes to some of the folks we have met and who are still here.  In the evening we were invited over to Stevee Jean for a couple of beers with our Ozzie friends, Gill and John.  Turned out to be a much longer stay involving quite a bit more than just two beers.

But moving on also brings the excitement of new places.  Martinique beckons.  We should be in St Pierre tomorrow and we have heard that is nice.  We need to keep our eye on the weather as the winds are moving to the north (which is rare) and the waves will follow.  This will make the anchorages with no northerly protection very uncomfortable.  That may in turn force us into Fort-a-France a day or two earlier than expected.

Valley of Desolation and The Boiling Lake

Sunday night, after having a few beers with John and Jill from Stevee Jean we went ashore for the Sunday beach BBQ. As with a week earlier, there were plenty of cruisers there so we had much company. The food was good and the rum punches were plentiful and very strong. This all meant that Monday was a hangover day. The morning was somewhat useless. The only thing that made me feel better was knowing that John was in the same state.

After lunch I popped over to Stevee Jean as I’d promised to show John some checks I’d learned. In the evening, we had John and Jill over for a BBQ. We’d also invited our boat helper / service provider, Alexis, and his girlfriend. It was nice to have them aboard and learn a bit about local life.

Tuesday was our day for the big hike. As it was long and at the other end of the island we had to be ready to leave the boat by 5:30. We managed breakfast and coffee and were ready in time. Alexis picked us up along with another 8 cruisers (including Sharon and Vaughn from Reality and Angie from Cirque de Soleil) and took as ashore where we boarded a minibus which took us to the start of the walk.

The weather started off wet and stayed that way only to occasionally pause and to often get wetter. The walk to the Boiling lake was along a “made” path starting at around 1,600ft above sea level and highest point of 3,200 feet before descending and climbing again. Along the way we came to the Valley of Desolation which was a large area of hydrothermal activity dwarfing the trifling patches we saw nearby close to Trafalgar Falls a few days previously. We spent some time here looking at the various pools and steaming vents. We were quite wet and cold from the wind and rain so we welcomed the warmth that blew over us from this region.

The walk onwards to the Boiling Lake took another hour crossing stream beds with more steep descents and ascents to keep us warm. The boiling lake was eventually reached as we arrived at a plateau looking down at the lake. At times you could not see it due to the mist, condensation and clouds. But when we could see it it was quite awesome; a crater lake looking like a huge boiling cauldron. We took plenty of pics. Many of them had to be deleted due to the lack of visibility.

Here also is another video montage. Unfortunately, the lake itself is hard to see in this.

YouTube Preview Image

The way back was hard word. In particular, the ascent from the Valley of Desolation back to the high point of the trail was a real struggle. We arrived back at the start point in very good time only to end up waiting over 2 hours in the rain for the ride back. To add to this, the minivan driver stopped off to pick up a takeaway dinner in Roseau which added to the time it took to get back. We were back on the boat by about 6pm, ate, then fell asleep.

Today we’re a little stiff and plan to rest up. We will be doing some boat prep later today as we plan to sail to Roseau tomorrow and onward to Martinique on Friday.

Fellow Sailors

Today we walked about three miles to the north to snorkel off the coast by a small enclave called Toucari. The walk and the snorkel were fun. On the way back to the boat we went to look in another Lagoon 420 Hybrid (Stevee Jean) which had arrived yesterday evening. There we met John and Jill from Australia who are sailing their boat from Europe to Australia. We shared a number of beers on their boat and then came to ours and shared a few more. We’ll meet them ashore for the Sunday evening beach BBQ and we’ve agreed to get together aboard Dignity tomorrow evening for another BBQ. No pics. We didn’t take the camera.