Sunday, March 19, 2023
Martinique, Dominica & Guadeloupe!
Our Adventures have continued in the beautiful Caribbean. We have moved north through the islands of Martinique, Dominica & Guadeloupe. Martinique and Guadeloupe are part of France, but Dominica (right in the middle) is independent. The history is fascinating because the indigenous Carib people (originally from the Amazon area) successfully fought off the various Europeans who were continually squabbling over the islands in this area.
Let’s start in Martinique and try to have as much fun as humanly possible!
We had a date with a potential buyer for Oyai and a survey & haul out scheduled. We cleaned and tidied, but had lots of fun along the way. Micah’s dream came true and there was some great horseback riding.
We worked hard during our time in Martinique and did a few boat jobs, including painting the bottom.
We were lucky to be in Martinique (Fort-de-France, to be exact) during “Festival”. It’s a week-long celebration that goes 24/7 and includes theme days. This day was the colourful day…
We caught an incredible parade that was so rich in culture and history. Many of the performers were telling a story through their dances and actions.
While anchored in St. Anne off Martinique, the kids were learning how to wingfoil with borrowed gear from our sailing friends. Aria was doing really well and had tons of fun!
We sailed to the northwest tip of Martinique to a town called St. Pierre that was wiped out by a volcano in the early 1900’s. Over 30,000 lives were lost and the reminders of the tragedy are still visible throughout town. There was a great little zoo in this small town and we spent the morning there.
At the zoo, we found a proper Tarzan vine to swing from and everyone had a go. In this video, a great friend and boat dad, James, got some amazing hang time.
Next up on our adventure was a short 5 hour sail to beautiful Dominica. The vibe there was much more wild and Caribbean with unlimited natural beauty. The people were incredibly welcoming and friendly as well. This has been one of our favourite places on this entire trip! On day one in Dominica, we did a 7 hour hike to a huge boiling lake in the caldera of a volcano. Words can’t describe how spectacular it was.
The cloud forest hike was unlike anything we had seen in the Caribbean so far. We were so thrilled to be hiking with our new close friends from “Luna” and “Starry Knight”. Here, Lana and Kathy are all smiles during the descent down to the caldera.
Of course, there were also some natural hot springs to soak in during the hike as well. Paradise!
We have been so fortunate to be traveling on & off with superb friends who we crossed in the ARC with. We have regular gatherings and bond over “sundowners”.
We moved up to the northwest corner of Dominica and experienced a National Park called the Indian River. We got to see so many cool animals, plants and beautiful scenery.
This was the site of one of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie scenes and the shack they built is still there.
On our last night in Dominica, the kids had an “Emergency Survival Drill” and used an expired liferaft from “Alchemy”. They spent hours getting to shore, making shelter, building a fire and cooking for themselves. They LOVED it!
In amongst all of the sailing and adventures, the girls have been thriving with their “boat school”. They usually do 2-3 hours, 5 days per week of focused learning. Math, language arts, science and history are part of their learning which is facilitated by Lana and their distance education teacher Lisa. It’s been a very positive experience and has taught them a lot, including self-motivation. Here Micah demonstrates a science experiment they did to discover which common liquids are acids (or bases).
So much of our daily lives revolves around learning in this unique environment as well. We are so proud of our kids for embracing this life and learning as much as possible during our year away.
We kept moving north and had a few days in Guadeloupe, another French island. It had a nice feel as well, but very different than Dominica. We were anchored in a bay and had close encounters with some wild dolphins! The kids eventually were able to put on masks and go swimming with the dolphins - a truly magical experience.
Oyai had to stick around Guadeloupe for a couple of extra days while we waited for a part to be delivered from Martinique. There is no customs between these islands and flights are frequent, so the delay was minimal. We made the most of it with our friends (one of whom has the exact same boat as us!).
Simon, Penny, Skye & Oscar hosted all of us aboard their beautiful catamaran “Starry Knight” for a day sail in Guadeloupe. It was super cool.
From Guadeloupe, we will head to Antigua and the British Virgin Islands. This will mean we are starting to head west towards the Bahamas (and eventually the east coast of the USA). Follow along over the next few weeks!
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