Sunday, February 18, 2018

Leaving Dominica

We love having internet and it is really annoying when we don't. But it is awesome when you find it in some unlikely place, so here we are at an empty restaurant, catching up.

Great internet!!!
We've come up from Dominica in a weather window that gave us howling wind rather than gales. Now we are going to sit here, waiting for the next window before heading to Antigua.

In our last couple of days in Dominica we went on another tour, this time all Canadians and two token Americans. And we all spoke English. Had a great trip about 2/3 the way down the island to Spanny Falls and then up the east coast to see the consequences of Maria.

Fun trip with fun people.

Too late at the PAYS BBQ

Lots of squalls, lots of rainbows

Up to Spanny Falls

Pam says this is our Christmas card photo 

Coooooool and refreshing

Out of focus, but proof Pam was in, too.
Dominica is a mess. The east coast is more of a mess. The photos don't do justice. Everywhere we went folks were hammering, digging, toting, picking up. They are like busy ants, trying to recover from the damage. We stopped for lunch at The Islet View Restaurant, a mountain-top place some of the group had been before. The food was delicious and inexpensive... great presentation and service.

Nice place!

They were cooking with gas and had a generator running for electricity... to keep my beer cold! They said they've been told expect power in April. They aren't holding their breaths.

East coast mess

Crashing waves

Lots of blue tarp roofs

Greening up

More Maria mess

Buy a bottle of herbs and spices, add the local rum... be careful!!!

What a mess!

Lost the drive shaft... not a problem!
Next day, Pam and I decided to find out where Brianna was staying so we took the bus from town up to the college. Walked around and asked until we found "Fletchers Apartments." They seem to be recovering. The roof is back on and windows and doors are being repaired. We talked to the local manager and she showed us a photo of the people who were staying there. Smiling back at us from the photo was Brianna. So mission accomplished!

Brianna's apartment

Following Brianna's path to school, until I slipped on my ass in mud.

Culvert water works for cleaning mud, who knew!
 Brianna did a "Go Fund Me" to try to help out victims of Maria on Dominca. She was able to help some folks but had some funds left. She asked us to look around for targets for her remaining funds. There are a number of "yachties" staying around, helping out with various projects. Clair and Magoe Menning are on the yacht "Macario" and have set up a local charitable society. One of their projects is Lamb's Feast, a group of volunteers who work out of an old house to prepare and then deliver meals for the homebound elderly. They've fixed up the walls, repaired the electricity, fixed the stove and have almost completed the roof. The refrigerator was destroyed and they were looking for ways to raise funds to buy a new one. A new one costs a lot and Brianna's left over funds will help get them there. If you feel like helping out, check out MacarioAdvantage.

Lamb's Feast
We had a wild sail up to Basse Terre, Guadeloupe. Not the blissful kind that Pam prefers. So we will enjoy the west coast of Guadeloupe until that memory fades and she is ready for the next jump.

More coming soon while we have good internet!!!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Touring post-Maria Dominica

Last week we were sitting on the boat in the late afternoon, enjoying an adult beverage when Alexis, the PAYS boat guy drove up and asked us if we wanted to go on a tour tomorrow… $EC 100 each. See some waterfalls, hot springs, some of the Hurricane Maria damage, etc.

Now Alexis is not our guy. Jeff (Seabird) has been our guy for years so it felt a little like cheating. Or what I imagine cheating would be like if I had ever done it. Never even thought about it. Really.

Anyway, where was I going with that? Alexis is a very positive presence around the bay, always helping out, always smiling and waving. Seabird had not yet approached us for a tour, and tours are always fun. You get to meet new people and hear about their adventures. Lots of fun and usually a few beers and a local lunch.

So we said yes.

Alexis picked us up at our boat. We were first. Then, boat after boat we picked up couples... all of them Dutch... and two Germans. Now, one thing really annoying about most Europeans is that they speak many languages and their English is often better than mine.

So we loaded into a very comfortable van and struck off. Had to duck a couple of times to avoid being seen by Jeff.

When they realized that we were unilingual, Melinda of s/v Bolla said, “OK, these guys are Canadian so we’ll all have to speak English today,” which made us feel great… and very envious of their obvious fluency in a second language. 

That was the last English we heard. They’d have a great rousing conversation and then burst into hilarious laughter. I’m pretty sure they were talking about me but Pam says I’m too sensitive. “They weren’t always laughing about you,” she said.

Off on another Dominican adventure

Road undercut by rain. Being repaired by crew from China.

Our multilingual friends

New land created when the flash floods carried down rocks and debris

Blue roofs (tarps) everywhere

Flash flood washed away the Chinese workers' camp... and the workers.

She's got it all covered.

Trafalgar Falls

Cooling off her knees

Dutch exchanging Dutch gossip

Excuse me... could you move that tree?

This is where Maria roofs go to die.

We think Brianna's apartment was in here somewhere. Going to investigate more.

Used to be a machine shop

On Friday, the Catholic Elementary School had a “Freaky Friday” kind of activity. It is connected with Carnival which is happening on Monday and Tuesday. Jason and Chanty told us that Shania was going to be wearing her Bumble Bee outfit. We waited on-and-off in the Catholic Church when the rains came, for the "parade" to begin. Finally gave up when they said the weather wasn't permitting. Then went running back when we heard drums. And we got to catch Shania Bumble Bee.

Shania Bumble Bee

And her friends!
More coming. Working with sketchy internet.


Monday, February 5, 2018

I told you in a previous post that our friend Brianna went through Maria, the category five hurricane that devastated Dominica in September. She told us of the scream of the wind as it lifted off her roof and blew out her doors and windows. Four of them survived the experience huddled in her bathroom.

Raquel works the front desk in the office at North Sound Marine where we keep Blue Pearl in the summer and when she learned that we were heading south to Dominica, she lamented that she didn’t know in advance. She would have organized a “care package” for her friend Chanty and her family.

Since we had access to great grocery stores when we got to Guadeloupe we decided that we should take advantage of good prices and availability for Raquel’s buddy. She said, get dry goods like flour and sugar. Get canned meat… tuna and corned beef. So we supplemented that with UHF milk, cereal and some treats for Chanty’s little girl, six year old Shania.

We’ve also recently replaced a mattress on our boat. Nothing wrong with it except I found it too soft and therefore too hot when it wrapped around me.

So we met them today and passed it all off.

Pam with Jason, Chanty and Shania
They are a lovely family. They had a small house but it was completely torn apart by Maria. They lost everything. They survived under some boards from the walls. Chanty told us they laid on their backs underneath scant shelter for eight hours, waiting for the noise and fury to abate. Shania told us it wasn’t too wet but it was very, very noisy and scary. 

Shania said there are lots of tarps to cover holes in the roof at her school, but they are back now.

Jason works at the local hardware store and they keep chickens to sell eggs. He said they didn’t lose all the chickens so he continues in the egg business. He said he has put together a “hut” to live in but when he rebuilds he wants to use concrete. Good idea!

They have a small fridge and they run a generator for a couple of hours every day to keep things somewhat cool.

So we are struggling right now. Keep trying to think of ways to help but not sure how. Do we just open our wallets? We know that Chanty, Jason and Shania are only one family of thousands who are struggling after Maria. What about them? What to do?

We are so lucky but we complain about taxes and lust after new cars and televisions. Chanty and her family have nothing… but consider themselves unbelievable lucky for having survived Maria.

Cruise ship dock and buildings totally destroyed
Construction stalled on this complex long ago. Now they have no roof
Purple Turtle lost it's roof... just getting back on their feet in the bar/restaurant.
Beach bar destroyed
More damage