Report from Portsmouth, Dominica

Report from Portsmouth, Dominica

Mike and Robin arrived in Prince Ruport Bay, Dominica and report back on the post-hurricane recovery efforts.

By Robin Richardson Stout - 24/02/2018


Mike and I recently arrived in Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica and have had many inquiries about the conditions on the island after hurricane Maria. Hurricane Maria hit Dominica September 18th as a category 5 hurricane. We went into town yesterday so only have had a brief look into the island so far and here are our first impressions:

The island was hit hard and we can see this from our boat. Sailing up the leeward side of the island we marveled at all the pretty bright blue roofs and buildings but looking through the binoculars we realized these were blue tarps over damaged or destroyed roofs.

Here in Portsmouth there are still many damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, there are also lots in the process of rebuilding. Many, many people have lost everything and many are still living under tarps. One man paddled out to Mermaid yesterday on a broken foam board asking for anything we could spare; in exchange he wished to draw a picture of our boat. We gave him colored pencils, blanket and food, he drew a picture of Mermaid and thanked us profusely.

In the midst of all the devastation, plants are growing and flowering. Stores are mostly full (we’ve heard that many people here don’t have money to buy the goods). The one thing that really stands out is the people... smiling and welcoming us to Dominica. Dominicans are a resilient people. They are working hard to make sure all the cruisers are taken care of and always with a smile! The cruiser in return are here in force trying to help by bringing what goods we can carry, supporting the local economy as well as working shoulder to shoulder building and repairing properties. There is much to be done and it will take a long time for things to return to normal.

The best thing cruisers can do is to visit this wonderful island, bring what they can (clothes, food and money) and spend money here...

We were concerned that if we bought food here we’d be taking from the locals and provisioned before arriving but what we have found is they need us to buy from them so they have money... the Saturday market was rocking and there were lots of vegetables for sale. You will find most of what you need here except for meat and wine... bring that with you and buy the rest here!

The artist's name is Hamilton and I’m sure he will make it out to your boat if you anchor out. He went to buy nails to secure the tarp on his house.

Mike and I look forward to meeting more Dominicans, touring the island and helping as much as we can.


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