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Disaster waiting to happen
Disaster waiting to happen

Get Down on Your Knees

The Caribbean is blessed with hundreds of beautiful anchorages that offer cruisers solitude or party central. When first we arrived in the islands we hit sensory overload after barely two weeks. Our landfall was Martinique and our first port after the Canaries, Fort de France. I guess that’s why I still have an affinity with French Islands. In our first year in the Caribbean there was barely an island we did not visit. Later, we headed west and then north to the beautiful Bahamas.

Having cruised extensively, people often ask which are my favorite islands and anchorages, and look askance when I take time to ponder the question. Even now, as I write, I can’t come up with and island or anchorage to top my list. Just when I have it set in my mind, I remember another delightful incident on another island or anchorage and the process starts all over again.

What I do say is don’t rush through the islands. The Caribbean is still a magical place and the greatest cruising ground on earth.

Get Published in ALL AT SEA

I am now going to turn the tables and ask: What is your favorite island or anchorage?  Describe your favorite Caribbean island and anchorage in 600 words or less and we’ll publish your article in All At Sea magazine. Tell us why you find a particular anchorage, or island, special and what cruisers should look for when they visit.  Email your thoughts to [email protected]

I was in the marine store lavishing yet more dollars on my boat when I met an English couple at the checkout. The man was paying for a new stainless steel stanchion to replace the one his wife was carrying, which was bent at a seventy degree angle. Being nosy, I asked what had happened to the stanchion, and his reply got me thinking. They are cruising aboard a 50ft catamaran, a powerful beast with plenty of sail area. While sailing towards St. Maarten, the clevis pin on the mainsail sheet failed releasing the boom. The boom crashed across the boat and the flailing sheet hooked the stanchion. There was so much power in the sail that it bent the stanchion as if it was made of putty, however, it did prevent the boom from running right out where it may have damaged the rig. I had a similar experience while single-handing in mid ocean. I had tucked a reef into the mainsail and was tying off the pendants when the boat rolled hard to starboard, the sheet let go and the heavy wooden boom swept me off the cabin top and out over the sea. Terrified, I clung on, and when the boat rolled to port and the boom swung back over the deck, I let go and crashed down onto my back, which rather hurt. Strange things happen to stainless steel. I have seen massive pins shear off and shackles twist and break when they appeared to be in perfect condition. With so many boats starting their annual migration, now’s the time to get down on your knees, no, not to pray but to inspect those pins and perhaps add a twist of wire to the shackles.

In the February edition of All At Sea, we ran a story about hiking in Dominica. The article was extremely popular and several people followed the trails laid out in the story and wrote to say how much they had enjoyed it. Andy and Nicky Gibb of the yacht Intrepid of Dover got in touch to say there is also a written guide to the trails: A Users Guide to the Waitukubuli Trail Dominica; published 2011 by the Commonwealth of Dominica, priced about US$20 and available from Jay Bookstores in Roseau. They also pointed out that we published the wrong phone number for popular Roseau-based tour guide Pancho. Andy says Pancho is an excellent guide with a friendly and helpful character and that he works very hard to help all yachts. His phone number is 1-767-448-1698 (home) or 1-767-295-0525. Email: [email protected]

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One comment

  1. I definitely agree “not to rush” through the islands. We cruised down then back up the islands and had the time of our lives. There are tons of hidden gems, hiking trails and treasures for the adventurous sailor. We have a couple of our favorites off the beaten path. Its hard to pick just one when they are all so special! 😉

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