Dominica – The Photo Album

We had great time in Dominica, one of the smallest independent country in the world with less than 90 000 inhabitants, very little infrastructure, lovely people and beautiful nature everywhere.

We could hike to waterfalls, caves, natural spa, beautiful beaches… with one regret: not spending enough time in that magic country that deserves a few weeks to meet the people and do some serious trail across the islands.

We will have to come back one day!

Please find the full photo album here!

Now, after a quick stop in Guadeloupe, we are heading north to Antigua for some more sailing adventure…

To be continued!

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Les merveilles marines des Caraïbes (par Jade)

Le voyage en bateau m’a permis de découvrir le monde marin et ses merveilles. Nous avons fait de nombreuses plongées en famille qui m’ont permis de découvrir la diversité de la faune et la flore marine.

Voici la vidéo qui présente toutes ces découvertes!

Les Tortues

plongee01Nous avons vu deux sortes de tortues dans les Caraïbes: les tortues imbriquées et les tortues vertes. Elles se nourrissent d’herbes marines au fond de l’eau et de méduses, qu’elles confondent parfois avec des sacs plastiques qui peuvent les tuer. Certaines sont en voie d’extinction, d’autres en danger, mais les populations locales, ayant vu les tortues sur le point de disparaitre, ont réagi en interdisant leur pêche et en protégeant les plages où les tortues pondent. Maintenant, il y en a plein et on peut nager avec elles!

Les poissons de récif

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Nous avons observé plein de sortes de poissons de récifs différents: des poissons qui nagent en banc, d’autres seuls. Certains sont curieux, d’autres très peureux, certains sont même agressifs! La plupart sont absolument magnifiques. La plongée m’a permis de découvrir toutes ces merveilles.

Voici une galerie de photos des poissons de récif que j’ai pu voir:

Les murènes

plongee06plongee03Les murènes sont magnifiques et très impressionnantes… Attention!  Certaines peuvent être dangereuses et toutes peuvent mordre. Il faut les observer en gardant ses distances. En général, les murènes habitent dans un trou qu’elles choisissent. Elles se déplacent en ondulant leur corps comme les serpents et à l’aide de leur unique nageoire dorsale le long de tout leur corps.

Les raies

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plongee04J’ai vu quatre sortes de raies différentes: les raies pastenague qui ont un dard qui peut être très dangereux. Les raies léopard qui sont les plus grandes, tachetées comme des léopards, et qui volent sous l’eau! Il y a aussi des raies électriques qui peuvent donner une décharge si on les touche!

Le Corail

Poission de récif
Poisson de récif

Le corail est essentiel pour les poissons. Il y a plein de sortes de corail avec des formes et des couleurs différentes. Le corail cerveau, le corail branche de cerf, etc… Même s’il a l’air d’être une pierre, le corail est vivant! Ce sont pleins d’animaux microscopiques appelés “polypes” qui construisent lentement une structure en calcaire qui peut faire plusieurs mètres de haut et des kilomètres de long comme à la barrière de corail des Tobago Cays où j’ai plongé.

Les autres animaux et plantes marines

plongee12Et il y a encore plein d’autres choses à découvrir sous l’eau : des anémones, des vers et des étoiles de mer, des éponges, des oursins dont certains ont des piques de 30cm… ceux là il vaut mieux les éviter!!!

Jade

 

L’Amour est l’essence de l’Homme

« Le désir de bonheur est essentiel à l’homme ; il est le mobile de tous nos actes. La chose au monde la plus vénérable, la mieux entendue, la plus éclaircie, la plus constante, c’est non seulement qu’on veut être heureux mais qu’on ne veut être que cela. C’est à quoi nous force notre nature. »

Saint-Augustin

St Lucia & St Vincent photo album

As we are leaving Martinique to explore the northern Caribbean islands, we want to share the photo album of two beautiful “Windward Islands” we visited last: St Vincent & St Lucia.

Both islands offered great experiences, but we had very special moments on St Vincent where our Rasta Guide helped us to discover the beautiful nature of the island, places that had a special soul… We also met friendly people who where happy to welcome us.

Kids (and adults) had great fun in the various land and water activities. This last month really was holidays for them with little school, but there are learning plenty things school would not teach them, starting with adventurous spirit!

On St Lucia, the highlight was certainly the famous “Friday night” of Gros Islet village where local and tourists meet and merge in one giant outdoor party in the main street!

Full photo album is available here

Next stop: Dominique!

Ready for the North Caribbean  Adventure!

We are ready for the second leg of our cruise in the Caribbean.

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kids helping for shopping
We have stopped a few days in Martinique to give school to kids, replenish for lots of food and refill water tanks to “full”… as we will need some autonomy! 

We also had to fix a few problems on the boat to make sure we will (should) be ok for the next 45 days as we will be in some remote and isolated locations.

the program
 We planned for an ambitious route across most of the North Caribbean islands:

  • Martinique
  • Dominique
  • Marie-Galante
  • Guadeloupe
  • Antigua
  • Barbuda
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Martin
  • Anguilla
  • British Virgin Islands 
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • … And back to Martinique for New Year’s Eve!

We are leaving tomorrow for this big journey with the hope to encounter good seas, and to be able to have some internet access to share our adventures with you…

Nous prenons la mer…

Sustainable living on a catamaran

A boat is a fantastic laboratory to observe the impact you have on nature and understand how much resources and energy you consume.
As a family, we were expecting to learn a lot from our day to day consumption and reflect on it. And we did!

Waste management

Selective recycling (when possible)
Selective recycling (when possible)

Waste management on a boat is a challenge. We started to clearly separate plastics / metal / glass / paper / organic waste, like we do on land, to finally understand that very few islands have recycling capabilities (actually, we could only do selective recycling in Martinique).
On most islands, trash is dumped in a few locations, and burned at best, with many islands having close to zero trash management and simply burying them…

IMG_4760.JPGWe were expecting those small islands to have adopted intense recycling ahead of some countries because of the sustainability challenges they have, but they have not (yet). We were even surprised to witness little ecological consciousness with older locals throwing trash anywhere… But you clearly see the younger generation being educated and now paying attention to those issues, which should start to improve the pollution problems.

In the end, we try to pay attention to the stuff we purchase to minimize waste, and try to pack the trash to drop it onto the bigger islands that have more treatment capabilities.

Pollution

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Beach cleaning the way the Surfrider Foundation does it!

Because of bad trash management and challenging cultural habits, some of the islands do get dirty. On the large ones, the trash is of course located around the populated areas, but it also impacts the less populated areas and even some small and inhabited islands…

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Cleaning on Mayreau island

On one of the most beautiful islands, Mayreau, the most beautiful mooring of the island was quite polluted with diverse waste, from glasses to metal and plastics, lots of plastics, both on the beach, in the mangrove and under-water. The waste was clearly a mix of local dumping, remote populated islands pollution, but also sailors own waste !

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Underwater waste collection

With the Kids, we went for a large Beach & Underwater Cleaning initiative to clean the place and leave it in a better shape than how we found it.
In the process, it raised many questions from the locals and (some) help.

Here is the video of our cleaning to restore Mayreau bay back to the post card picture everybody loves;-)

Energy

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Solar panel as the unique electricity source

Another challenge as we took our bad habits from the land on board…
With solar panels as the sole source of energy, we had to change the way we consume energy… and use electronic devices !
After minimum computer and cell phone recharge, energy is spent to power the fridge first, then the water circulation system within strict shower time, and of course the navigation instruments.

Electric power is also generated from the petrol engine running, but we tried to minimize the use of the two diesel engines to the bare minimum while not moving fast enough in light winds (even if we have used the engines too much in my opinion). Still, we sometimes had to turn the engines on to produce and stock a bit of electricity.

Water

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The boat 2×300 liters water tanks

This was maybe the toughest challenge. With 600 liters on board, we had to implement tight water usage rules on board. 30 seconds showers to rinse after having done the largest cleaning in salt water, salt water washing up with little clean water rising, etc…
Some of our guests had a hard time coping with those rules, and we suspect some pirate consumption of the ladies while everybody was snorkeling;-)

We did run out of water for a few days twice, which created some interesting tensions, the guys clearly accommodating better than the girls who apparently needed more personal care…

Some boats have salt water filtration systems, but they have intense energy consumption and require to run the engines. The best solution would certainly to have better rain water collection systems on board as mother nature is providing all that is needed from the sky…

Refill
Expedition to refill our drinking water

Drinking water involved some regular islands expedition to refill and supply the minimum of 1.5 liters per person a day needed to keep the bodies hydrated.

Eco-trip

Fregate bay
Our floating “consumption laboratory”

In the end, living one month on our boat “Calebasse” was a fantastic experience to better understand the energy and resources we consume everyday without any limits while on land.

Consuming less is possible as long as you become aware of how much you consume and what you truly need without wastage. Same goes for waste management. Lots of packaging is not really needed, and plastics bags are a worldwide plague as they kill many animals (turtles in the first place) and create long lasting and visible pollution underwater and on land.

We have another 45 days on “Calebasse” to improve the way we use our resources onboard and will certainly bring back some good practices back on land!

La vérité du Coran

« Celui qui a tué un homme qui n’a commis aucune violence sur terre ni tué, c’est comme s’il avait tué tous les hommes. Celui qui sauve un seul innocent, c’est comme il avait sauvé l’humanité toute entière. »

Mahomet, Coran, V32