It was time for us to head to St. Lucia where we had planned to leave the boat for a few months while we head home to visit with family and friends. In looking at the charts we had decided to make the trip from Les Saintes to St. Lucia in 2 long days. We figured we could make it to the north end of Martinique and stop overnight. The next day we could get an early start and head for St. Lucia. We were looking at leaving Les Saintes on Saturday. We would pass by Dominica on our way to Martinique, so I decided to look up where church would be on Dominica and Martinique to see if it was easy to get to church on Sunday. In Martinique I found only one branch of our church, and it was near the center of the island. That would take more planning time then we would have. However, in Dominica the branch is easily within walking distance from the dock in the northern anchorage. We decided attending church was important and we could shift our plans.
The new plan was to leave Les Saintes Saturday, for the short 18 miles to Dominica where we would have plenty of time in the afternoon to find customs and clear in, plus walk around the town of Portsmouth and find the church building. Monday morning we would motor to a southern anchorage on Martinique for the night. Then Tuesday morning we would have a short sail to St. Lucia.
We arrived in Dominica and were hailed multiple times on the radio and welcomed by several small local boats. We had read about the “boat hands” in Dominica, but were not quite prepared for their strong welcome. They were all quite polite, but it was interesting being watched by 4 different little local boats, each waiting for us to get anchored and settled so they could offer us their services. The boat hands offer river tours and hiking and rainforest island tours. And will help with anything the boaters might need. We will be using some of their services when we return in the fall and explore the beautiful Dominica. We did purchase some bananas and mangos from one of the local boats.
The church building was easy to find and on Sunday morning we were surprised to meet several young families living in Dominica attending medical school here. We were a little saddened that very few of the members were locals, and wondered if it was hard for the locals and American church member student families to find a bond together. In our travels we have found that the trials of the members of the church in the small branches on the islands are very different the the trials we face. The families – students and locals, were all very welcoming and friendly, and we really enjoyed being in church and learning about Jesus Christ together.