Linnet Woods for MarineZine
are moments when it is hard to tell whether the world is getting crazier or
trouble is following one around.
Sailing northwards, at the start of our journey back across the Atlantic to Europe,
we were keen to get away from the Southern Caribbean after more than two
disappointing years of trying to get a refit done there.
Desirous of avoiding early hurricanes, whilst enjoying the trade winds usual at
that time of year, we couldn't decide whether there was time for a stop in Dominica or
not. On the morning of Thursday 25th May 2000 we were passing Prince Rupert Bay,
on the North Western coast of Dominica, having decided there really wasn't time to stop after all
and we had better keep going.
We were hugging the coastline, to enjoy the scenery on the way, when we spotted the sloop 'Stuff!,' an American-owned yacht, skippered by our British friend Kevin and his
fiancée, Naila, from Trinidad.
We decided to sail in, drop the anchor, pass the time of day with them and then make our minds up whether to press on or stop for the night.
There was no sign of Stuff!'s tender, a smart inflatable dinghy, but a gentleman who presented himself, very politely, as Augustus Bounty came out to greet us in a wooden boat with a good outboard motor on it and we were chatting to him when Kevin appeared, having just dropped the owners ashore to catch their flight back to the US after a month aboard
Augustus asked if we were heading for Sint Maarten, which we were not and, a
few minutes later, mentioned that five local people were leaving later that day to go on a two hundred mile trip, while we were all chatting idly on the subject of outboard motor fuel
consumption. At the time, the news appeared to be of no particular
Kevin and Naila joined us for a cup of tea and then Augustus Bounty took his leave of us and our conversation turned to security matters, always an issue when one is
Robbie mentioned that in the many years he had been visiting Dominica, including five years ago, he had never had a problem and we asked our friends whether Prince Rupert Bay was still a safe anchorage.
Kevin assured us that, in four years of visiting the bay regularly, he had never had, or heard of, any problems. We had various
little jobs to do on board and decided we would stay one night, arranging to spend the evening with
friends, Albert and Silke, who have the
beach bar and restaurant, on the north shore.
By the time we had finished our chores, the day had vanished, so we figured we had better check in and check out simultaneously at Portsmouth
on the Eastern shore of the bay, the following morning.
A large American-flagged motor yacht called 'Bugs' arrived and anchored just ahead of us. As we were leaving the boat in the dinghy, to join our friends ashore, someone waved us over to 'Bugs' and we made a detour to see what he
His name was Eric, he told us, he was from Israel and was here as crew with the American owner and guests. The owner and guests then appeared on deck and we all introduced ourselves.
What they wanted to know, Eric explained, was whether this was a safe place.
We said that, although no-one can ever guarantee anything, the bay certainly seemed safe as far as we knew. We pointed out the Petit Coquillage and told them all we
were headed there and might see them there later, perhaps.
They, too, decided to stay and check in first thing in the morning.
When we arrived at the bar, it turned out we were the first customers of the evening and when we were asked if we would be eating barbecued chicken there later, we thought it would be a very good idea. Robbie
left me chatting to Silke and set off to pass the word round the handful of yachts anchored in the bay, that there was a barbecued meal in the offing, with all the trimmings, at US$12 per
Kevin and Naila hitched a lift over in our dinghy since our boats were anchored, more or
less, side by side .
Silke (see photo, right), our hosts at Le Petit Coquillage, produced a splendid
meal. The people from 'Bugs' had already organised a meal on board but they joined us for a drink and the evening passed very
Kevin and Naila had been up since very early in the morning and were exhausted, so Robbie gave them a lift back to their boat, they exchanged pleasantries and he returned to
the bar, where I had remained chatting with other guests.
About twenty-five or thirty minutes later, we were all stunned by the arrival of Kevin and Naila in their dinghy, clearly distressed. They asked Albert and Silke to
please hurry and call the police, which they did immediately.
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