All day long yesterday, every hour or so, we heard a Pan Pan message being broadcast over the VHF by the nearby Martinique MRCC (Marine Rescue Coordination Center). The message centered on a 12m vessel which was reported adrift some 20 miles offshore of Marie-Galante, a large island NNE of here.
I found the message curious because unless it was spotted by an aircraft, in order for someone to give an accurate GPS fix on the vessel, they would have had to have been fairly close to it, especially to make a judgement of whether it was manned or not. If it was unmanned, I suppose it could have broken free of a mooring or dragged anchor. A much worse possibility could be that someone single handing the boat fell overboard. Of course, there is always the very real possibility that there was still someone on board and that he/she is ill or injured and perhaps just not visible. The truth of this could only be determined if someone boarded the vessel and my thought was that if you were going to board it and found it unmanned, why not put it under tow, especially if the conditions were not crazy? I am writing this with absolutely zero experience of towing a large yacht but it would seem to be worth the risk, at least on paper (or computer screen, as the case may be). If not put it under tow then at least leave someone on board to take command of the vessel. Surely one should be able to claim some kind of salvage rights? It would also eliminate a serious danger to navigation. Your thoughts?
We had planned on raising anchor today and moving 20 miles or so down the coast to Roseau to do some hiking and stage for our passage to Martinique. Yesterday, however, we were coerced by some friends at a cruisers’ get-together to postpone our departure for another day so that we can attend the Sunday evening barbecue party put on by the boat boys here. I guess we’re easily influenced as we’ve decided to stay another day. The Boiling Lake will still be there when we arrive, that much I’m sure of.
This is the song that I was working on when Rebecca snapped the pic above…
Last Saturday we awoke to find that the wind had shifted to the south, a situation which fortunately is not all that common for this area. The new wind direction had waves piling into the bay and all the boats had shifted so that they were anchored on a lee shore (wind blowing the boats towards the shore as opposed to away from it). The fact that we were situated very close to the beach with less than 2′ under our keels made it extra sketchy, prompting us to make the decision to move ZTC to the other side of the bay. As this process takes a bit of time, especially when it’s blowing more than 20 knots, we ended up arriving at the Saturday morning farmers’ market at 11:00 AM, later than we had initially planned. Although we figured that this would still be OK, what we found was a ghost town. Almost all of the vendors had packed up and left, and those that remained had virtually nothing left on their tables to sell. This was a big lesson for us and we resigned ourselves to wake early this week and get there first thing.
True to our plan, we arrived at the market this morning at 7:00 AM. What a difference 4 hours makes! The market was booming with vendors and customers everywhere. Music was playing, money and produce were being exchanged… it was perfect! There’ll be no canned veggies for us this week.
All this produce, and eggs, cost us $55.00 EC, approx. $20.00 US.
We also purchased a big slab of beef for $24.00 EC.
Speaking of food, last evening we had the first meal from the tuna that Albert brought us.
Samantha seemed to figure that if she meowed loud enough she would get some.
She was not happy that she did not!
Tuna sashimi (thanks for the fish, Albert) with pickled ginger, wasabi and soya sauce, coconut rice and pickled cucumber salad. Chop sticks are from our wedding!
The other evening we were approached by one of the boat boys (they are grown men, not boys) who was lamenting to us about his recently broken fishing reel. Apparently it was messed up beyond his ability to repair it and had caused him to lose the last five fish that he had hooked. It just so happened that we had an older fishing reel that, although good, was not affixed to a rod or being used. As I knew that he would have way more use for it than we did, I offered it to him. When he inquired about how much money we wanted for it, I suggested that he simply catch us a fish. This is what he brought us last evening… a nice Blackfin Tuna. A win win situation, wouldn’t you agree?
Yesterday’s sunny weather allowed us to break out our dollar-store paddle set to have some fun and get a bit of exercise, and our fast Wi-Fi signal (paid, not free) permits us to share this little video. It’s meaningless, but fun. Enjoy!
I haven’t posted much lately about what we feel makes Dominica so special. These images might help to convey our thoughts on the matter. They were taken the other day when we retraced our steps on a hike that we did last year. Unfortunately, our Earthling friends have moved on and thus weren’t here to join us this time around. Oh well, we had fun anyway!
I recently came across a Facebook page, Lionfish University, dedicated to the hunting of this beautiful but invasive species. It is one of several pages focused on that same subject. Rebecca and I were discussing the last time that we saw a Lionfish and agreed that it was way back in Puerto Rico. Coincidentally though, just yesterday I just saw a post on Facebook where someone was looking to get some spear tips shipped to Grenada to help with culling Lionfish there. Admittedly, we haven’t done a ton of snorkeling in Grenada but even still, we have yet to come across one of these hard-to-mistake fishes.
One thing I find curious is that the Lionfish people are strongly promoting how to prepare them for consumption. While I’ve heard that they can be quite tasty, I’ve also read reports of the fish carrying Ciguatoxin. Even if the jury is still out on that, I’m pretty sure that we’d rather err on the side of caution and won’t be cooking up any Lionfish for dinner in areas prone to Ciguaterra. Grenada, to my knowledge, is not so afflicted so perhaps if we come across any Lionfish when we’re south of here, we’ll give it a try. Lionfish and Chips, anyone?
Want to learn more about this species? Check this out!