Dominica

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Dominica is by far the lushest and greenest of the islands. With it's dramatic topography, there are frequent heavy rains, creating rivers, waterfalls, and helping the wildlife and vegetation grow. A banana plantation at every turn the array of fruits on the island is amazing, and in vast supply. A generally over-flowing island of flowers, fruit and plants.

 

April 28th - Dropped our anchor at midday in Prince Rupert Bay, the home of one of the main towns, Portsmouth. We gave Alexis a call on ch 16, a recommended boat boy, and organized a trip up the Indian River and a tour of the island for tomorrow. The boat boys used to be renowned in Dominica for there corruptness, but over the past few years huge changes have been made. One is the formation of an association to manage and set a standard, so now all boat boys must take an exam to receive a card, which let's us know that they're certified, and (hopefully!) not crooked. After gwtting ourselves set with Alexis, we all went below to snooze and catch up on lost sleep, since the sail ove from Antigua had been pretty lumpy and rough.

 

April 29th - Woke up at 6am to be picked up by Alexis at 7am. We went to 'Quietly' and picked up our friend Dalton, then we headed for the entrance into the Indian River. The first sight we saw were wrecks of three fishing boats that had dragged there moorings during hurricane Louis. They'd all beached on the shore, and one is still metres away from a hotel balcony even 6 years later! Talk about a view!

    wrecks 1.jpg (89189 bytes)    Wrecks 2.jpg (98987 bytes) < the 3 fishing boat wrecks, from Hurricane Louis

Alexis slowed down so we could take pictures of the wrecks, then as we entered the Indian river he switched of the motor and pulled out the oars. No motors are allowed on the river because it is a national park. At 7am there wasn't a sound on the river other then the slapping of the oars. 

river1.jpg (96207 bytes)    river3.jpg (83995 bytes)    river 2.jpg (166929 bytes)    roots.jpg (121285 bytes)< The Indian River

 

He rowed us along the 1/4 mile of the river, and told us all about the plants and wildlife we could see, knowledge about the local flora and fauna is part of the exam Alexis had to take to become an 'official' boat boy.

herron.jpg (115890 bytes) < A Blue Herron.    iguana.jpg (136230 bytes) < Spot the Iguana!    land crabs.jpg (99606 bytes) < Huge land crabs, a local delicacy!

 

As we rounded a corner of the river we came upon a bar right on the river bank!  From the size of the place there must be a lot of tourists, But we had the place completely to ourselves! We also tried out the Dynamite rum punch, and the local beer, Kubuli, and looked around the amazing garden in the back.

Alexis.jpg (114587 bytes) < Alexis at the dock of the river bar.     Lizard.jpg (58246 bytes)   < A lizard hanging out out on the plants. 

sitting.jpg (121945 bytes)< Alex chilling in the shade. 

After we'd satisfied ourselves that the local beer was good, Alexis rowed us back down the river. He dropped us off at the beach, then went and got his car and we all climbed in and went for a tour of the island.

beach.jpg (91913 bytes) < the beach in Portsmouth.

We drove around the island with the windows down, and stopped when ever we wanted. Our first stop was a fishing pier on the Atlantic side.

pier.jpg (46679 bytes)    fishing net.jpg (105188 bytes)    fishing boats.jpg (81442 bytes) < A picturesque fishing pier.

Soon we entered Carib territory, the original inhabitant of the islands. They keep to themselves and all live in the 75,000 acres that has been sectioned off for them. As we stopped for a cool soda at a road side shack, we found out how friendly they are, asking us about our day, truly interested in our answers. Then we carried on to a house of some of Alexis's friends who were Caribs, their house was built from wood and using natural supplies, such as bamboo and straw. They had baskets and carved coconuts for sale, and we bought some in exchange for a lesson in coconuts! We sat in the shade of a straw shelter that they make their crafts in, and we tried the juice from the coconut, and the jelly. it was delicious! That was a lovely experience, I think the best part of the trip.

Carib house.jpg (166930 bytes)    Cheers.jpg (66876 bytes)    waxflower.jpg (73256 bytes)< a 'wax' flower, a gift from the Caribs.

We carried on driving around the coastal road, taking in the beautiful view. We kept passing by banana plantations, they seem to be everywhere! alexis pulled over and showed us a coffee tree, and cracked open a cocoa pod for us to try. To finish it off he picked a bunch of bananas, and they are the best ones I've ever had!

coast.jpg (111374 bytes)< The coast.    bananas 1.jpg (134565 bytes)    bananas 2.jpg (148439 bytes)    eatin bananas.jpg (107638 bytes) < Mmm, fresh bananas!

Our last stop was inland to Emerald Pool National Park. It is a protected part of the rainforest, with a natural waterfall and pool, well named for the colour of the water. As we walked through the trees the temperature was cool, and we took our time, learning about the plants around us. 

bridge.jpg (118229 bytes)    river.jpg (132281 bytes)    Rubber tree.jpg (131856 bytes)< A rubber tree.    swinging on a vine.jpg (122775 bytes) < David swinging on an inch thick vine!

emerald pool 1.jpg (133972 bytes)    pool2.jpg (114737 bytes)    behind waterfall.jpg (143555 bytes) < Emerald Pool.

We paddled in the cool, fresh water, relaxing on the rocks, and enjoying the roaring of the water. Then we walked back to the visitor's centre and had some roast chicken and fresh baked bread for lunch. It was now 3pm and time to go home to 'Gallant', so Alexis took us back on his boat, and we said farewell to our guide.

 

April 30th - Woke up at 5am and raised anchor, to leave Dominica at 6am, and head for Martinique to pick up some new batteries.  Had a long day sail, and reached the port of Anse de Mitan just at sunset. We stayed for a few days to do some provisioning, and to get our new batteries and install them. Next we slipped our mooring and made our way to Bequia, one of the Grenadines, stopping at Soufriere in St. Lucia for the night, to get some sleep. 

 

Breeze on over to bequia . . . >

 

 

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