Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gobbling our way down the island chain

Five Islands Bay, Antigua
 For the last couple of weeks, with a few exceptions, we have been in an epicurean delight! Despite being on the move almost continuously from one country to the next in an effort to put some sea miles in south with the advent of hurricane season, we’ve been having a wonderful time! Albeit on our own. After our hard on the wind trip from the BVI’s to St Maarten we kept on the move everyday from St Maarten to Nevis, Nevis to Montserrat and Montserrat to Antigua. Long, tiring day sails where we would stare out to sea and curse the weather that just wasn’t playing fair.
Deshais, Guadeloupe

Portsmouth, Dominica
In Antigua we pull into Jolly Harbour, an old favorite where we started out nearly eight years ago. We drop the hook, jump in the dinghy and whiz around the supermarket to buy lots of wonderful goodies. Then move around the corner to Five Islands Bay where the water is a milky turquoise and it is always very peaceful. We secretly gorge ourselves on sausages and pork pies – the first we have ever found in the Caribbean and much to Sim’s delight. Sim and I are such gluttons and for a few days we are in food heaven! Then it was time to get on the move again. Guadeloupe, Ilse Des Saintes and Dominica. The French Islands are renowned for their good food of course, especially French bread, cheeses, pate and wine. Dominica although lacking in all but your basic supermarket requirements (and yes we did check out the supermarket past customs but it seemed to be no different from those in town) has the best fruit and vegetables in the Caribbean…..that is if you can find any to buy. If you don’t happen to be there on a Saturday for the weekly market and don’t intend to be there for the following Saturday, you miss out on some of the tastiest produce around. As we walked up the streets trying to find something fresh to buy we walked past trees dripping with mangos and breadfruit, wiry Rasta’s rummaging through bins put out their hands for us to spare some change. What do they think when we mumble we have none? I hurry by clutching my bag a little closer, feeling mean. Boat boys come by the boat offering their services and wares; as tour guides for the river trip or to clean to the green mustache off our fuzzy waterline. Sim buys some mangos from a guy who has paddled out on a dilapidated canoe. They are bruised and battered but we would prefer to make this exchange than to just hand out cash. The weather eases and its time for us to move on.

St Pierre, Martinique

Next stop Martinique. It’s another long day to St Pierre at the north end of the island but morale is high and tension mounts as we move closer to our next destination. As we leave Dominica rainbows appear in the sky as one light rain squall after another fall off the land in the early morning sun. St Pierre is a beautiful spot; the large volcano that caused such devastation over a century ago dominates the bay, its peak covered in a cloud sombrero. The church bell tolls on the hour every hour, the sea is the deepest blue and local men are fishing at the end of the pier. Sim and I dive in and check the anchor, then sit back, drink in hand and admire the view.

St Pierre, Martinique
We are getting excited now. Leader Price – the cheap French supermarket is just a couple of hours sail away. The lure of fromage, fresh baguettes, vin blanc and pain au chocolats is too much to bare. Anyone who knows me knows that I love supermarkets. Sad, yes I know, but deprived I am! We are up at the crack of dawn to move around to Fort De France, the vibrantly shabby capital. The anchorage is busy and it takes us three attempts to set the anchor. Once settled we launch the dinghy and rush ashore to supermarket, ignoring all the sights and scenes that we have seen many times before. Leader Price is our favourite supermarket in the whole of the Caribbean (with the exception of Walmart of course!). Its not much to look at but it’s cheap, plentiful (well most of the time, this is the Caribbean after all) and relatively good quality. We make two trips, carrying our heavy loads, bags filled and backs bent with the weight; we fill the boat to the brim.

Such simple pleasures for such a simple life. Or maybe,I might need to get out more.

Portsmouth, Dominica
Fishing dock, Dominica

Hermitage Bay, Antigua

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