Sunday, May 21, 2006


We came to Montserrat to visit the volcano. The entire island of Montserrat was evacuated 12 years ago just before a huge eruption that destroyed the capital, Plymouth, and more than half the island.

As we sailed up the leeward side of Montserrat we could see the volcano, its huge ash flows, and the ruins of Plymouth. There's a maritime exclusion zone off the south half of the island that requires that we keep 2 miles off. Of course, our curiosity had us around a mile off and for our trouble we got the boat covered in a thin coating of fine ash.

After clearing in we rented a taxi and took a tour of the island. This took us into the Exclusion Zone where we could see abandoned homes and layers of ash feet thick. From a hill we saw a panorama of the volcano, some of its ash flows and a better view of what's left of Plymouth. We also visited the Montserrat Volcano Observatory where they are studying the volcano to help better predict eruptions here and elsewhere.

We stayed in Rendevous Bay (the only anchorage available) for about a week and even did a dive. The day before we planned to leave there was a 3 hour volcano 'event' (as termed by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory). A boat left that morning and sailed down the leeward side of the island. The returned a few hours later with their boat thick with volcanic ash. They spent the rest of the day sluicing the ash off and it ran thickly down their sides!

Needless to say, the next day both of us sailed around the north end of Montserrat to go down the windward side on our way back to Guadeloupe!

Monday, May 15, 2006


We visited two locations in Guadeloupe, mainly for diving. We enjoyed Les Iles Des Saintes very much. These are a handful of islands about 10 miles south of Guadeloup. They're close enough to have half a dozen adequate anchorages that we could move between and a number
of dive sites we could easily reach by dinghy. The small town of Le Bourg is clean and quaint with several restaurants and a grocery store.

On the western coast of Guadeloupe is Pigeon Island and the Cousteau Underwater Park. Although the nearby anchorage was rolly we stayed several days diving around Pigeon Island. It's a popular site; on most days there were 6 dive boats and a glass-bottom boat operating there. Anchoring is prohibited but there are plenty of moorings, and there were plenty of good sized fish as fishing is prohibited too.

Friday, May 05, 2006


We bypassed Dominica on our way south last year mainly because there were too many reports of security problems in their anchorages. Now they have cleaned up their act: the boat boys put on patrols at night and they have arrangements among themselves that stop us getting too much hassling. North St Vincent seems to be the worst for boat boys.

We stopped a night at the capital Roseau in the south but there was an uncomfortable swell coming in so we moved on first thing to Prince Rupert Bay in the north. We took a guided trip up the Indian River and did some diving.

Dominica is reportedly good diving but unfortunately they require us to dive with a local dive operator. Cabrits Dive Center were helpful and picked us up from our boat, but we paid $75 US for each two tank dive. No way was the diving $75 better than diving we can do elsewhere for free! We've only checked out the northern sites so far. Maybe we'll try the southern anchorage again when we're going south.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Ils parlent Francais a Martinique! Merde! Martin's dreadful schoolboy French gets a workout, but we cope with the requisites of the cruising lifestyle.

We cleared in at Le Marin, a big boating center, but spent most of our stay (2 weeks) in a series of bays on the southwest point of Martinique. These were busy at the weekends but quiet otherwise.

We did quite a lot of diving and found it excellent, possibly the best diving overall we've seen in the eastern Caribbean.