The winds of March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.
Dominica has kept us here with her charms and we have no regrets at taking an extended stop here this year. We have met quite a number of cruisers we haven't seen for years. Nice to touch base and see what everyone is up to.
We've managed a few boat jobs such as painting the fore and aft deck, some interior work and fine tuning the new sails. We've been installing canvas on those areas of the interior of the boat that take constant wear from our hands. Applying light canvas to the painted surface and then a couple of more coats on the canvas gives a resilient textured surface that will stand up to heavy use. Not a great deal of work as we've enjoyed relaxing from our hectic travels and projects of the last two years.
I've had the time to learn a few new tunes on the guitar and Tin Whistle. Hoping to share these when we get home to Cape Breton Island.
We've taken a number of extended tours of the island with guide and friend Michael "Boudah" Francois and his lovely wife Barbara. Visits to the Carib Territory, various waterfalls and sections of the National Hiking Trail have all been highlights.
I think the best time that I have had, however, is travelling to the south end of the island with Boudah to collect some tropical woods from the tropical rainforest high up on Souffriere Mountain overlooking the Caribbean and the bay at Scott's Head. We hiked into the forest on a very old track where the locals from the village of Gallion had cut and milled the trees into planks with a chainsaw. A half dozen or so residents came with us a carried the planks back up the mountain one a t time to place in the truck. Quite the community effort.
We were able to get a couple of dozen Red Cedar planks more than ten feet long by eighteen inches wide and close to one and a half inches thick. They are perfectly clear with no imperfections.
Boudah and I have started building a small twenty foot boat in traditional techniques using hand tools, local woods, galvanized fittings and no epoxy. I won't be around to see the end of the project but a start has been made. The boat will have oars, a sail and a small motor to use for fishing and taking tourists out on day excursions. A very exciting project for both of us.
I've also had the chance to design a couple of lateen rigs for local small oopen boats that travel well off shore with motors only. It is not at all unusual for a fisherman to head out and never return after having engine troubles. It is satisfying to see some interest in having a small emergency sail aboard in the event of an engine failure.
We have collected souvenirs, memories and new friends during our much to short visit this winter. Soon it will be time to up anchor and start heading home. We're planning to stop at Nevis and possibly the Virgin Islands before heading on towards Bermuda and Nova Scotia.