First things, first—the morning after our epic tour with SeaCat, we found out that the new grandbaby we’re expecting in September will be a BOY!
This was our last day in Roseau, and we spent it with fellow cruisers…
lunching at Fusion Village, a great Italian place that Kendra and Carrie introduced us to, getting some paperwork from customs,
and walking around the city seeing sights aka sightseeing .
We shopped at the market, and I snacked on my purchases of tamarind and Genips , and
we visited the Botanical Garden, which we experienced to be more like a beautiful city park; although, I know that there is more to it. I LOVED seeing the kids playing under the shade of the tree. One little girl was playing with her dolls, and the other little girl was playing doctor, using her toy stethoscope—brought back childhood memories! Other kids were playing sports games. We asked some adults why so many kids were out playing on a school day. They explained that it was Friday afternoon, and they were, basically, getting a jump on the weekend. Later, I noticed that a school backed right up to the Botanical Garden—what a great playground!
Huge bamboo “house” in the botanical garden
Evidence of the destruction of Hurricane David in 1979
An African Baobab tree fell on a school bus. Thankfully no one was in it! The Botanical Garden leaves it growing there as a reminder of the destruction of the hurricane.
Our sightseeing party broke up at the Botanical Garden, but I continued on with Kathy and Pete to check out the Dominica Museum.
It is housed in a building that was formerly part of the Old Market Of Roseau and later, a post office. The museum was educational and very well appointed. From a museum window we looked down on the cobblestones of the Old Market of Roseau where, in colonial times, all the major trading between Dominica and the surrounding islands took place. Sadly, the pedestal that now has a red iron clock on top, is where the slaves, just arriving from West Africa, were auctioned off.
Pretty seaside-city scene
We visited the library before we headed back to The Loft where our dinghies were tied. These school girls were hanging out on the breezy library porch after school. It was a comfortable place to be!
The next day, we sailed halfway/motored halfway north up to Portsmouth.
Looking back through my journal, I saw that at least one of the Nancy Lu crew did some type of excursion every day, but one, that we were in Portsmouth. There was, and still is, so much to experience!
This little fella was waiting at the end of the P.A.Y.S. dock at Prince Rupert Sound for his little girl or boy to get finished playing in the ocean and come get him, awwwwww! We were on our way to our first visit to the British Fort Shirley to have a quick look around.
Kendra and Carrie
Kathy, Pete, and Mark
After sunset, we all went up to the P.A.Y.S.’s (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services) weekly, Sunday night, all-you-can-eat-and-drink, BBQ.
Chris Doyle speaking
Martin, a P.A.Y.S. member, gave his weekly welcome speech before dinner, but this week was special because Chris Doyle, the author of the cruiser’s guidebooks that we all use in the Eastern Caribbean, was there that night. He gave a little speech extolling the virtues of P.A.Y.S., which we as cruisers so appreciate. They are a huge reason that we feel safe cruising in Dominica.
After a wonderful meal, I got-my-dance-on to the DJ’s tunes—Fun!
The next morning, we set out on our first professionally guided tour from Prince Rupert Sound of this season. P.A.Y.S. member, Alexis, took us snorkeling at Toucari Bay and
Douglas Bay. The snorkeling was nice, but what made this snorkeling trip stand out for me were two things…
#1 This little Balloon Fish. He (looks like a he to me ) was about 6 inches long, and I’m sooo glad I didn’t miss him!! I’ve never seen one before. He is in the Puffer Fish family, of which, I’ve seen the big Porcupine Fish many times. I think they’re really cute! This little guy was more WEIRD than cute. I mean, check out those freaky, sparkly, green eyes!! They were that sparkly and crazy looking no matter which way he turned; the sun reflecting in them didn’t make a difference. This Balloon Fish was not skittish at all. I was able to get very close. After I had had my fill of trying to get the perfect picture, I tried to scare him so I could see him puff up (I know that’s not right; I really suspected he would not be frightened no matter what I did). So I waved my camera at him and may have even touched him, but he was unfazed and just swam away. Of course, I got Mark to come over and see this little guy, and all the time we spent with him, put us way behind our group, but we caught up!
#2 I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT! I’d been looking for a big, beautiful batch of orange cup coral since I saw our friend Bob’s pictures of this kind of coral that he saw in Grand Anse D’arlet! I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve never seen anything like it!
This colorful fellow (looks like a fellow to me ) looks content, happy, even, but he’s not. After we got back in Alexis’ boat, we saw him floating on the surface, near death. Alexis picked him up and motored over to one of his friend’s boats whom we saw fishing. Alexis added him to his friend’s catch, so this Parrotfish’s death wouldn’t be in vain.
We started talking about whales, and I mentioned that I really wanted to see one. Alexis said that if he saw one, he’d come to our boat and get me….Well,
….Back we came. We’re whale repellents…
We did see this cute “kid boat” on its way to the harbor…that was something…We were actually coming along side to ask them if they’d seen any whales out there; they hadn’t.
The next day, we had our second professionally guided tour with P.A.Y.S. member, Alec. Our group was: Kathy and Pete, s/v Delphinus; Kendra, s/v SeaFrog; Claudette and Robert, s/v ProfaSea; Carrie and Carl, s/v Brilliant; and we added a new boat to our group—Cindy, Raleigh, and Marco, s/v Cinderella!
The tour started with farm land (former Dominica Fruit Syndicate Estate), took us to Milton Falls aka Syndicate Falls, on to the Syndicate Nature Walk, and to an interesting fishing village where former workers from the former Dominica Fruit Syndicate now live. Here are a few more pics…
This is where the red fern grows…
Nature thrives just about everywhere, but not on rubber ; although, it does beautify it…
Our tour guide, Alec, took his job of educating us seriously.
I like these red ferns.
This time, playing Tarzan served the purpose of crossing a river. There goes Claudette!
We had to cross again with no help from vines.
This tree looked like it was in a very precarious position.
The rocks in the river were rust colored due to high iron content.
Milton Fall aka Syndicate Fall
Group shot, thanks to the timer on our camera
More beautiful fungi
We were on our way back the way we came. Cindy didn’t have to play Tarzan for the vine to help her across.
There goes Marco!
My turn, again!
Back to the van, we went!
Next, we did the easy, one-hour-long, Syndicate Nature Trail…
It is in the foot hills of Morne (mountain) Diaboltin, and part of the Morne Diaboltin National Park.
This was our little greeter at the visitor center at the nature trail.
The grandeur of the trees was astounding! Bit of trivia: I thought that all the trees with the buttress-type trunks and roots were the same kind of tree—no, they aren’t. I can’t tell them apart, though.
Look at the size of that vine!!
Beautiful view down to the valley
This part of the trail had a different feel.
Now on to the fishing village…
Good catch—a Marlin!
They had to cut it in half to weigh it.
Frigate Birds soared above.
It was 173 kilograms! The dial went around almost twice.
It was time to get back into the van, and head…
…Wait, it was time for another stop on the side of the road for Alec to show us a parasol plant !
Then, we were headed home.
Cindy found a place to put one of the many treasures that Alec gave her along the way.
Our day together ended with a late lunch, on our own, back “in our neighborhood” in Portsmouth.
The next day was another full day of touring again with Alec! s/v Brilliant didn’t go with the rest of the gang us on this tour, and they were missed…
Our trip included more beautiful vistas. I hope seeing sights like this never gets common place for me as we spend so much time in the Eastern Caribbean. I think that just might be a sin!
Our first stop was a ruin of a rum distillery. Seeing this old distillery in ruins made me appreciate, all the more, Rivers Rum Distillery. from the same era and still in use!
The wheel at this ruin inspired a scene in the second Pirate’s of the Caribbean movie. Our guide, Alec, was the driver for Johnny Depp while he was here filming the movie. Johnny and I have something in common!
Nearby, was the river that powered the distillery wheel back in the day. The root of the tree says, “Keep around me clean”.
After a roadside snack of banana and coconut,
we drove by two big rocks that looked like the heads of a lioness and camel to me, and continued on to Pointe Baptiste Chocolate Factory.
We got a demonstration of the process of making delicious chocolate from the tree to the bar. Unlike Grenada Chocolate Factory, not all the ingredients of the chocolate come from the same island where it is manufactured.
Next stop was Red Rock.
Alec told us that someone carved the little cave in the rock as a place to meditate…
A tight squeeze with my big hat!
Alec gave the girls tattoos!
We had a yummy, seaside lunch at actual-American-lunchtime…A+ for Alec!
Our last stop of the day was in the Kalinago Territory. Kalinago is what the pre-Columbian indigenous people of Dominica called themselves. The Europeans called them Caribs. In 1763, the British gained full control of Dominica. The Kalinagos were given 232 acres of mountainous and rocky shoreline. In 1903, the amount of land was expanded to 3700 acres and was called the Carib Reserve; in addition the Carib Chief was officially recognized. Now, the Carib Reserve is called the Kalinago Territory and is home to 2208 Kalinagos, the remaining survivors of the first inhabitants of the island.
Within the Kalinago Territory, we visited a heritage village, Barana Aute. We heard a talk and watched a PowerPoint presentation given by a Kalinago representative. After this,
we were shown traditional Kalinago structures,
methods of cooking (not much different from the method of making Cassava bread that we saw being made and bought at Daniel’s on the side of the road),
This man, a former chief from the ‘70s, showed us the tools he uses to etch designs in Calabash (a gourd type plant) that represent face paint worn by the Kalinago back in the day.
Kathy and I each bought one of his Calabash creations. Mine has a design that represents the face paint pattern that would have been worn at a celebration of a hunt.
The Kalinago Territory has some beautiful views.
I got my second tattoo of the day. This one was made by simply pressing the back of the fern to my skin!
We were all very happy with our relatively non-strenuous, last, professionally guided tour in Dominica!
We were through with professionally guided hikes, but not with hikes on our own, and the most strenuous hikes were yet to come!
Following: Some interesting scenes from my second walk up to Fort Shirley and further up West Cabrits (two small mountains, West and East Cabrits, make up the northern shore of Prince Rupert Harbour) that I took with Carl, Carrie and Kendra one morning while Mark was busy getting some work done on our dinghy outboard motor.
This little bird wanted a taste of the milkshake that I got at the Fort Shirley visitor’s center after our hike…sorry!
These are the sights from Mark’s day:
I see Parrotfish, Lionfish, Moray Eel, Octopus, and others in this crate, but Mark brought us home some fresh Mahi Mahi!
The next hike we did on our own was with Kendra and Mark on s/v Cavu. We did segment 13 of the Waitukubuli (pronounced: Wigh too koo boo lee) Trail. This trail has 14 segments and runs the whole length of the island from South to North and includes both East and West coasts. Some of the tours we had already been on included segments of the Waitukubuli Trail. The trail has the Kalinago name of the island. Dominica is the name Christopher Columbus gave the island in 1493. Before that, it was Waitukubuli (translation: How Tall Is Her Body!).
We took a bus from Portsmouth to the village, Penville, to reach the trail head of Segment 13. Being a Saturday, it was a crowded bus with people and groceries.
We met a farmer using the narrow trail to transport his goods. He told us to let the donkey pass on the steep side!
View of Isle Des Saintes where we would be sailing soon
New coconut palms were sprouting from fallen coconuts everywhere on this part of the trail.
We were lucky that a young couple were stopped at the end of segment 13 and offered to give us a ride back into town! We were tired after 2 1/2 hours of hiking!
We almost forgot to let Kendra out of the back!
We treated them to a cool beverage as a thank-you!
The next day we did our MOST DIFFICULT HIKE with Ed and Cheryl, s/v SlowDown and Anna and Hakan, s/v Unicorn (we actually met them in Maine in 2013)
Our hike, which included a portion of Segment 11 of the Waitukubuli Trail started with a walk through Portsmouth.
The pink house has all kinds of sea treasures included in its construction.
The daycare caught my eye.
Soon we were in farm land.
We crossed the bridge over the Indian River. We took a tour of this river where a scene of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie was shot, last year.
This picture was taken to show how sweaty we were. I had a drip rolling down my nose.
A view back to our anchorage, Prince Rupert Bay, and West Cabrit where you can see the red roofs of Fort Shirley
A scramble off the trail brought us to a source of the Indian River—Cool!
Another sweaty, uh, glistening picture
Now we were in rainforest. This hike was one for which a walking stick was necessary!
Yellow and blue point signify the Waitukubuli Trail.
Mark’s walking stick is coming in handy.
About 3 hours into our hike, after many steep climbs, the steepest climb is up ahead. There is a long rope that you can barely see to make the climb possible.
More uphill, humph, humph, humph….
Yikes! Good thing there are no poisonous snacks on Dominica!
View of Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay, and West and East Cabrits.
We earned a stop here for a snack. Mark took another selfie where we were all ready and smiling, but it was all blurry!
After 4 hours, we made it to the end!! This suspension bridge goes over Picard River.
We continued on FLAT ground to find the place where we could take a refreshing dip in the river!
We made it!! The cold water felt so good to the itchy scrapes from the razor reeds that I had gotten on the hike!
I stripped down to my swimsuit and put my shorts and shirt on a rock TO DRY from sweat as I…
got in, and
in the cool, clear, calm water! I think this moment just might be my most pleasantly memorable hiking moment…ever!
Mark finally took a refreshing dip.
Then we walked on to…
civilization, and a juicy hamburger at Kandy Krush’s, a popular restaurant with the university crowd.
We took the mile-or-so coastal walk back to Portsmouth. Following, are some of the sights that caught my eye…
I don’t know what this means,
but I understand this.
Someone’s coming back from an Indian River Tour with P.A.Y.S. member, Cobra.
Launderette, Daycare, and Care of the Elders…not really sure.
Cutting through to the beach
P.A.Y.S member, Martin’s, boat
It was Sunday, so many of the P.A.Y.S members were not working. They would be hosting the weekly BBQ that night.
Sunday afternoon beach playtime!
We sure felt welcome during our time in Dominica, and we look forward to returning!!!