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Vela week over too soon

 
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sailorJM
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 1762
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Vela week over too soon Reply with quote

SailorJC and I had an awesome week in the islands courtesy of Vela and her crew. Three adult family members joined us, and all total: 20 passengers filling just almost all the cabins. A number of solos, including Steve Bratton (IWJ master carpenter) and his Dad, Bill.....a delightful and sprightly octogenarian whom everyone fell in love with!

We returned with added weight due to the amazing array of foods and desserts by Chef Robert and his right-hand man Panchoo. Good thing we didn't have to stuff that weight into our suitcases, but our clothes definitely were tighter.

Capt. Sam and Ops Manager Brandon, along with the rest of the crew, ensured a week of fun with lots of water sports. Not a lot of pure sailing, but that was due to the lack of wind much of the week. We visited Anses-d'Arlet on Martinique, Portsmouth and Rousseau on Dominica, Isle de Saintes, Marie Galante and also Rodney Bay.

Isle de Saintes was "disappointing" to the two of us who had not been there in 20+ years. The quaint little Caribbean island that had been so peaceful and tropical has become quite a tourist area. Can't stop progress, even here.

Vela's evening bbq at the Purple Turtle (which, for some reason is a very green bldg) in Portsmouth was awesome! Loved this was open-air restaurant on the beach, which we "overtook" and which allowed Chef Robert and the crew allowed to prepare a bbq feast of ribs, chicken, mahi mahi, etc, right on site. Loved the setting off the sand but on the beach!

An almost day-long adventure tour of Rousseau was a highlight of the trip for most of the passengers, via bus, some hiking, some swimming, mud baths, amazing views, Caribbean lunch. Another highlight was the captain's dinner on board Vela on final night that was followed by Brandon's "culture tour" to the Rodney Bay Friday Fish Fry for dancing and libations...raucus fun had by all. Can't forget to mention Brandon's game night, when he introduced the lot of us to the game of Chicken Foot (dominos game). Lots of hooting and hollering and laughing.

The rope swing was extremely popular with this group, which ranged from 30 on up, from the states and from Toronto (the latter originally were Brits). Fun group of sailmates.

We were sad about the lack of pure sailing (dang lost winds), but we had a blast. And Vela was at her best. While this was our 7th IWJ adventure (2nd on Vela), we'd never been to the French West Indies before (other than Martinique), and wow....gorgeous!

FYI: We splurged and had Vela's owner's cabin. All I can say about that is: WOW! Super nice. My aunt and two adult cousins had the two Compass cabins aft, and they loved those. All three of these cabins, as well as the Topsail cabin that we had on previous sailing: nice setup, good stowage, more space, especially the owner's cabin.

A week well worth waiting for. Hard to get back to reality.
Rolling Eyes

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Since 2000: Tall ships Arabella (7) Diamant (4), Vela (2), Mandalay, Sagitta, Polynesia, Star Clippers (4), Windstars (4)
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
Posts: 788
Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wondering for my trip to the FWI/ windward Island in Dec. how much euros did you get . where did you buy. I was thinking of getting here before I get to St Lucia. glad you had a good time.
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
Posts: 788
Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isle de Sainte had a lot of history. Famous sea battle took place there in 1785. To bad it wasn't that good. during m 12 day trip in dec 2017 , maybe they will skip it. Still a place that not many can say the visited. Did you get to see Le Diamant Island in Martinique? Cannt get on the island but again interesting history.
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caribdreamer
Privateer


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 1754
Location: Olds, Alberta

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We stopped at Iles des Saintes last year and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was quite picturesque and we had some AMAZING French pastries in a little cafe there. I believe it was Star Clipper that was there at the same time we were, and even with another small ship there, the small town did not feel crowded. There was the option of going to a secluded beach somewhere in a bay "around the corner" which the people who went quite enjoyed. It's nice to hear that there are sometimes stops in Marie Galante now, we didn't at that time. Hoping to get there one day. I think these small, off the path islands are such a treat and part of what makes IWJ the great opportunity that it is.
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sailorJM
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 1762
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul, re euros:
See my response in Brethern of the Coast
Julie

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Since 2000: Tall ships Arabella (7) Diamant (4), Vela (2), Mandalay, Sagitta, Polynesia, Star Clippers (4), Windstars (4)
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Jotum
Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler


Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 478
Location: Knoxville, TN

PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those who remember Capt Casey from WBC, his favorite island was Illes de Saintes
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Bermuda Onion
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 626
Location: Bermuda

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i remember on our first visit to Isles de Saintes back in the late 90's it was a charming Island. There were 15 of us in our party and we took over a bar on the dock run by a Frenchman and his very glamorous Brazilian wife (who looked like Sophia Loren) she plied us with what she called 'Brazilian Cocktails' (we now know they were caipirinhas). One of the passengers brought a guitar and 'Sophia' sang for us one of the songs being The Girl from Ipanema. We all had very painful heads the next morning but it was worth it!!
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
Posts: 788
Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julie, In Dominica did you go to any of the waterfalls. there seems to be a few of them. How about Fort Shirley ?
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Last edited by Paul on Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sailorJM
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 29 Oct 2011
Posts: 1762
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the tour included at least one waterfall. I did not go.
Not sure about the fort.

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Railmon Mike
Buccaneer
Buccaneer


Joined: 11 Oct 2015
Posts: 180
Location: NE Ohio

PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vela stopped at Isle de Saintes last April & it didn't seem to change much since my first visit in 2009. The beach is over the hill & secluded but not that bad of a walk.. Just make sure you bring water & a camera - for some nice hilltop pix. Vela is a nice ship & I already decided to go back to her next year.
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Paul
Diamant Sailor


Joined: 08 Jun 2012
Posts: 788
Location: North Hanover NJ

PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest you read the history of this island. Around 1782 Adm Rodney and his ship beat Adm de Grasse. These actions for the British was the prelude to the Battle of Trafalgar. The Island of Le Diamant near Guadalupe has a interesting history too
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