We docked at about 4.30 in the morning in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. This is an unreasonable hour, and one that I refuse to believe exists. I stayed on my floor until 7.30am when the chap from the shipping company (who, like me, does not believe in unreasonable hours) climbed aboard to sort out the formalities. I was a bit worried about not having an exit stamp out of St. Vincent (I had asked for one!) and was terrified that they were going to send me back – but I needn’t have worried, customs where happy, I had to grab a taxi to the nearby airfield to get the required entry stamp and before I knew it a nice chap called Mike was giving me a lift to Castries, the capital, in his minibus. Like a fat American tourist, I paid double so I could have the entire front seat to myself. Woohahahaha.
Castries isn’t the prettiest of places, so I bought a brolly (it was raining heavily) and headed north to the yacht club at Rodney Bay to ask if anyone was heading north. No luck, but I did get talking to a pair of Austrians, Martin and Fabio, we will learn more of their wisdom later.
So back to Castries and WOULD YOU ADAM N’ EVE IT there is a SCHEDULED FERRY SERVICE to Martinique, the next island up. It only takes 80 minutes. Un-be-lievable. If only the rest of the Caribbean was this organised, I would be in Panama by now.
So onto the L’express Des Isles catamaran and up to Martinique, not on my list of nations (it’s an overseas department of France), but a step in the right direction nonetheless. On board, I ran into Martin and Fabio and secured their admiration by completing Martin’s Rubiks Cube (told you that trick would come in handy!) and we made plans to meet up later for din-dins.
Getting into Martinique, I quickly realised that this was going to be the most expensive night of the entire trip – the cheapest room on the whole island was a whopping sixty quid. Desperately contacting Mandy in Australia to ask her to get on couchsurfing.com to find me a bed for the night (sorry for waking you sweetheart x) I rushed to CyberDeliss internet café and restaurant in downtown Fort-de-France (well recommended Lonely Planet!) and settled in for the evening.
Martin and Fabio met me a couple of hours later and after eating some of the most scrummiest food of the trip so far, we were treated to some free rum samples from the lovely owner (and rum connoisseur), Francois Xavier. Then to cap off a great night, Martin and Fabio paid for my dinner (THANK YOU!) and not only that, but as I had no replies from couchsurfing, let me sneak into their hotel and kip on the floor, gratis.
My third night in a row on the floor, but by jingo I’m not complaining! If you ever want to re-affirm your faith in the human race, hit the road man, hit the road!
Martin and Fabio had to be up for 6am, as they were getting a plane to South America, so I thanked them profusely, got their photos for the ‘heroes’ page and had a much-needed shower before sneaking out of the hotel before the receptionist woke up. Ha! I win Martinique! I WIN!!
I’m now on the ferry (another one – bliss!) to Dominica, where, if all is fair in love and war, I might just be able to smuggle my no-good hide onto a cargo boat bound for St. Kitts. As always, nothing is confirmed, so fingers crossed!
Had to argue my way through immigration – not having an onward ticket is like showing up to a funeral in the nack around these parts. A bit of over-earnest “it’s okay – I’m booked on the Eastpack cargo ship heading for St. Kitts” (even though I wasn’t) and flashing my dog-eared saltwater-smudged letter from Lonely Planet explaining this whole idiotic mission and they soon let me through. Although it might have more to do with the crowd of 100 or so people in the queue behind me tapping their collective feet impatiently.
So I crashed through Roseau, the capital of Dominica, heading FULL PELT towards Whitchurch and co. Roseau city is tiny, so it was no problem getting there. My man on the case John Howell had spent the best part of the day trying to contact the captain of the Eastpack, George Solomon, without success.
The nice man in the office rang the captain. He didn’t exactly go out of his way to sell this thing, so the captain (unsurprisingly) said no. Can I – er… can I speak to him?
Bang straight into bam-bam-bamboozle mode, I made quick work of Captain George Solomon (practicing on Captain Ainsley Adams helped) with the old I can sleep on the floor I won’t eat anything you won’t even see me it’s for charity if I miss this boat I miss all my connections you want a bribe how much? routine.
I felt like Derren Brown.
He said yes. Good ol’ cap’n Solomon.
So now I’m sitting on the dock of the bay, quite literally, Woodbridge Bay in Dominica, watching the Eastpack load up. The sun is silently setting behind me and in the morning (all being well) I’ll be in St. Kitts. 7 down, 6 to go…
Here’s the video of this weeks adventures: