January 11 Sunday
We got together with Walkabout (Bob and Jeanne) and Vision Quest (Rick and Peggy) to walk to Fort Shirley. We got together at the PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security) dock about 930am and walked north on the road. We passed a large resort development under construction funded by the Morocco and Dominica government, then took the west road toward the fort. After an easy 30 minute walk we got to the entrance to the national park the fort is in. At this level is a cruise ship dock, reception building, museum, and Prince Rupert’s Tavern. From this level it is up hill to the fort. This fort had 20 or so big guns(24 pounders) that covered the bay from over 200 feet above the water. With the prevailing wind a ship had to tack to enter the bay which would bring the ship under the forts guns. All the buildings are nicely restored with all new wooden structure and roofs. Where the 7 batteries were the old cannons were set up and had fresh coats of black paint. On the property is a flowering tree with dozens of humming birds.
While we were touring the fort a 3 masted cruise ship came in.
Behind the fort is a trail to the top of Prince Rupert Bluff Point. This hike was uphill on a very rocky trail. After 45 minutes the six of us reached a small clearing with one 24 pound cannon. This cannon looked out to the west and is 600+ feet above the water. We spent time resting then started down. Once we reached ground level we went to Prince Rupert’s Tavern for refreshments and lunch. I had a Burger, fries and a cold beer and Lorraine had a chicken roti. After, we walked back to the dinghies stopping at a small open air bar to wait out a heavy rain shower. We got back to Changes at 3PM.
I took a nap to get rested up for our big event tonight, the PAYS chicken and fish BBQ to raise money to support their efforts to provide security for the cruisers. There were many squalls that came through, but the air was dry for many coming in for the festivities. You need a ticket ($50 EC) per person to attend, which is obtained from Mr. Ed who traveled around the anchorage and can be reached on channel 16. It turns out that this was the first BBQ of the season. All the tables were full enjoying the grilled chicken legs or tuna, rice and green lettuce salad. There was unlimited rum punch, juice and water included and beer for purchase. After eating the DJ played music, the tables were cleared for dancing and many enjoyed the music and dancing. Too bad they didn’t have any Rolling Stones. We would recommend cruisers coming to this event if they are around on Sunday.