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Aquaholic
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better check recent news; bad $#!T going on down there!
 

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Dominica = English Speaking

Guadeloupe = In general no but there are some people who don't speak english or refuse to speak english. I even said good morning in french to a local and they refused to acknowledge = very french

As in any foreign country, speaking the local language or at least trying common phrases is polite & appreciated

We got along just fine even had great laughs trying to talk with some locals who did not speak english - we both tried hard. Any place you want to spend money ie restaurant, marina, bar, etc - will figure it out.

I printed off a bunch of French dictionary words & phrases from the web......used it a few times - it was fun

BUT definitely check the news = the french islands are in turmoil right now
 

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Guadaloupe is embroiled in a general strike right now and would be an ill advised destination until that's cleared up. The French islands in general are, as chuteman indicated, very French and as such not too receptive to ignorant foreigners.

Dominica is an absolute delight.. friendly people, amazing countryside and scenery. Very laid back, rural and low key unlike the hustle of the larger centers on Guadaloupe. I don't think there's a Charter base in Dominica, but there may be in Rouseau. You can certainly charter out of the French Islands.
 

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Agree with Faster especially about Dominica but it sandwiched by the two French islands with troubles............and seems to be suffering indirectly with reports of fuel shortages or interruptions in Roseau.

If you like longer distance sailing, You could charter out of St. Lucia & sail away.

When we went to Dominica we chartered out of Guadeloupe in '07 from Sunsail - great trip & fun sailing..........and wonderful adventures on land in Dominica.
 

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I'm currently Falmouth Harbour, Antigua and the anchorages are full of people waiting for the strikes to end. Dominica is also supposed to be running low on supplies.
 

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Old news?

Here's some info on Guadeloupe. Definitely stay away from there. And according to this article, the trouble is spilling over into Martinique.


Britons flee French island of Guadeloupe as rioters turn on white families | Mail Online
The dateline on the article is 19FEB, so things have probably calmed down some since then, or there'd be more recent reports. Checking CNN or TV5 (the French channel) or Radio France International (they have an english print version) might provide better information. People on the French sailing websites I know of aren't going wild with concern about the situation in the FWI. They're asking what sort of wifi is available for their chartered catamarans and sharing bread recepies, not searching for helmets & gas masks.
 

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Gwada and Dom

Eileen,

I was there for Xmas and NY. I can't comment on the current strife, but I highly recommend Guad as a sailing destination. Yes, I would say it is difficult w/o speaking French, but I tried a little and found no rudeness. What was most frustrating was getting info beforehand by e-mail or telephone in english.

If you can make all arrangements, I'm sure you'll have a great time. The sailing distances, islands, anchorages, winds are all ideal. I too loved Dominica, and may return for a land trip (and by all means sail down), but for sailing/island-hopping, Guad is hard to beat.

I would recommend Marie Galante first, as the winds may not be cooperative to sail there from Dominica, then Les Saintes are a must. I went up the river and around Basse Terre, but would skip the western coast/Pigeon Island next time.

Edward

P.S. You asked about Sunsail-- The marina is great and the base manager was one of the best I've ever worked with (once there). Unfortunately, it is beside a bar/restaurant, so a bad place for a sleepaboard. If you have two hours of daylight, you can make it out to Ilet Gosier and dinghy ashore to the town.
 

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....... I went up the river and around Basse Terre, but would skip Pigeon Island next time...
I'm wondering why? We enjoyed some pretty nice snorkeling there..... though it was definitely a lunch-stop sort of place.
 

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"Nevis Nice"
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I've been keeping up with news reports on the strikes, and it sounds like things are winding down now that the wage issue is settled. I'd expect that things will take a bit of time to return to normal, though, since grocery stores, fuel suppliers and restaurants were basically stripped of supplies.

Both islands are excellent cruising destinations. We particularly loved Dominica. It's an absolutely beautiful "Nature Island". Spectacular rain forests, rivers and waterfalls, lush vegetation, and friendly people. I've been there seven times by boat, all in the Prince Rupert Bay area, and can't say enough about it. Hire a guide to show you the best places. We used Martin Carriere, a terrific young man from Portsmouth with a pirogue and a van for land expeditions.

Guadeloupe is nice, too, and my little bit of high school French was enough to get by. Our favorite spots were Les Isles des Saintes, Ste. Francois, and Deshaies. All we met there were helpful and friendly.

Check out Chris Doyle's cruising guide for a lot of good info.
 

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I'm wondering why?
Maybe the snorkeling is better; we dove, and while good, it was no better than elsewhere, and it was too much sailing. Bouillante/Pigeon is a nice drive and makes a good day trip before the sail. I don't regret sailing it, but now with that experience next time I'd rather spend the time sailing and diving in the Saintes or Dominica.

edsml
 

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We used to fly into all the islands (cargo delivery) and encountered good and bad everywhere. Most people are in the middle. Be polite and nice and generally they will be nice to you. If you go into a slum wearing a million dolars worth of camera gear don't be too surprised if you get it ripped off.
Dominica has some amazing scenery although a lot of it has to be hiked to. Nothing terribly serious but you want a pretty decent pair of hiking shoes before you attempt a treck in to some of the water falls.
sk
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was just in Guadalope 3 weeks ago and there weren't any problems. We walked around Basse-Terre and never felt threatened, people hardly even noticed us. We picked up a couple French guys that needed a ride to Grenada and they said the strike is pretty much over. Prices are high in the French islands since everything imported is routed thru France, at least that is what the French guys said.
Dominica is fantastic, there is a mooring field south of Roseau, the guy that runs it is SeaBird. He can also arrange for tours, we did Victoria Falls, $30 US per person and we got one nights free mooring from him (ordinarily $15 US). If you od the falls make sure you have lunch with Moses afterwards.
 

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Guadeloupe Update

I've been in Deshaies and Point-a-Pitre, Guageloupe for the past week and everything is fine. It's hard to tell that there was ever even a strike going on--as far as I can tell, life is flowing as normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
English and French in Guadeloupe

Hi Eileen,

I was living in Guadeloupe years ago. There is people not open to help you in English, mostly the ones you will see on a street in case you have to ask for direction. You have to remember that on this island, plenty of people do not speak english or have a limited english.

Once you go to restaurant and tourist place, you should be fine.

Even if you say Bonjour comment ca va (Hi, how are you doing) and next speak english for asking direction, people will continue to give hard time by speaking French. Those people think that if you come on THEIR island you have to speak only french. It is a sort of way of life made in France. They just like to make it difficult.

This is one of the reasons why Guadeloupe do not attrack lot of tourists and they suffer from that.

You will see Martinique more friendly as well as St Martin (French side) and St Barthelemy.
 

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We lived in Dominica last winter for 3 months. It is a great place but not a sailboat to rent in sight. there were plans for a marina in Portsmouth but financing put an end to it as it has alot of projects in the past two years. Its a pastoral island who's main source of revenue is agriculture. The best harbour is Portsmouth and my favorite part of the Island is the north where Portsmouth is. English is the main language but until the Napoleonic period it was French so its primarily catholic and Creole is the locals language. The people are wonderful. Its not your typical Caribbean Island with 7 Mornes ( mountains) and lots of fresh water and rivers leading down from the peaks. Belles are in the interior gets up to 300 inches of rain per year while the west coast closer to 25. There are mooring balls in Portsmouth and it is a great harbour. The capital is in the south at Rouseau but only because there used to be a swampy area that harboured all the ills of the Caribbean in its depths (fever) not an issue today. today Portsmouth is a second town but a great one. Dont expect wide sandy beaches although on the north side near Calibishie you can find yourself alone on some of the nicest in the world. No big hotels other than the Fort young hotel in Road town.

portsmouth used to have a name for problems with moored boats and theft but the police have most of that under control and I dont think its much more of a problem than it is anywhere else. Dominica is the Caribbean 50 years ago. I love it. If I had to put down roots in a place it would probably be there. There are some spots that are less desirable and like all caribbean Islands, and most places in North America petty property crime is a problem in some spots. Woodfordhill in the north is one while just 3 miles away is Calibishie which is great, safe, and wonderful. go figure but there is a cultural difference in that the slaves who were at the woodford hill plantation were imported from Antiqua by the English and are somewhat still different from the rest of the Island. The dont speak Creole for example. But heck I could go on at length. Suffice to say Dominca is a great place. I definitely recommend it but no boats there. St Lucia would be your best bet and a sail north to Dominica would be great. I think Martinique isnt too much of a worry but unless we find a way to return prosperity to many of the Islands of the Caribbean we will see further decline of there economies. they are hurting badly. this recession is hitting them hard. Bananas produced cheaply in Central America and sugar produced by Sugar beets have over the past 50 years reduced them to a service economy. Go there and leave some money behind they need it.
 

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I would love to jump on a boot trip I am in Gau de Loupe till the 1. November just send me an e-mail to text me to 00491711256491

I have time right now
 
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