Before leaving Martinique we met up with the German boat, Hanter Yo, that we had talked to whilst crossing the Atlantic and they invited us over for sundowners. Originally, they had called us up on the VHF when we were only a tiny dot on the horizon about two weeks out from landfall. We had to search with the binoculars for sometime before we could see them. Another couple staying with them were making a documentary about them selling up and leaving Germany to sail around the world. They filmed a lot of the evening and then asked Thomas if they could interview him for the documentary. They didn’t want me because I don’t speak German. So, another missed opportunity of becoming a movie star but at least I can be Thomas’ groupie. It was a fun evening with a beautiful sunset. Nice to meet others who had done the journey too but the wife of the skipper has decided that she doesn’t want to sail as the nights and strong winds are too scary for her. What a time to work that out. Not sure what they’ll do but we hope to catch up with them again somewhere in the Caribbean.
After a speedy and rough close reach sail with a reefed main and head sail over to Dominica, we arrived in Roseau and got a mooring through Desmond, (pronounced DesMON here), one of Sea Cat’s guys. He came out in his dinghy to greet us and led us to our buoy in front of the Sea World guest house. Some of the local guys have a monopoly over the moorings but they look after you well. As we were being approached in town for tours etc, we just had to say, ‘Sea Cat’ was looking after us and they left us alone. Having missed the customs office by about half an hour we wandered into town for a look around.
The markets were full of local fruit and vegetables straight from people’s gardens. So fresh and full of goodness. We certainly wont starve while we’re here. People greeted us on the way into town and welcomed us to Dominica. Such a super friendly place. We saw a bit of a concert being set up on the way back from visiting the customs office the next day and after hearing the music from the boat that evening, we decided to venture down to have a look. For a moderate entrance fee, we joined the locals for the quarter finals of the national Calypso song competition. It was a real treat to be introduced to this genre of music with enthusiastic participants but a very hard to please crowd. The lyrics were so ridiculous in some cases and funny in others. Most of the singers were terrible. As a special treat the captain found a radio station the next day replaying the concert. It was really a form of torture but he keenly swayed with the music and told me we needed to get into it to really connect with the locals. I’m thinking of writing my own Calypso song and with my voice, I think I’ll give the locals a run for their money.
Yesterday we went for a trip up into the mountains to do a bit of hiking and swimming. We went to Titou Gorge where Johnny Depp jumped to escape the inundation of arrows in Dead Man’s Chest. It was a naturally sculptured canyon where you could swim through and reach a beautiful waterfall. It was one of the most unique places I’ve ever been to. There are many sites where Pirates of the Caribbean was shot and I hope to visit some more. It’s such a beautiful island with so many untouched areas. We visited a very popular place called Trafalgar Falls which is usually overrun when a cruise ship is in. We were lucky that no ships were here and we only had to share the place with some happy friendly locals.
We got to bathe in some hot pools that cascaded from some natural springs at the bottom of the main waterfalls. It was the perfect temperature for up in the mountain and we both enjoyed the warmth, especially after our earlier walk and freezing cold swim at Middleham Falls. One of the disadvantages of being
on a boat is the lack of hot showers and anyone who knows me well knows that I love this little luxury. I don’t usually miss it too much because we’re in warm places but I still made the most of the hot springs. Craig, our guide for the day, took us to some other hot pools where the water was actually boiling. Gave those ones a miss for dipping into though.
Today we ventured to Champagne Reef via a local bus. At a couple of Eastern Caribbean dollars each for the ride, it was well worth the squishy mini bus conditions, (approx. 3 ECD = 1 USD). We took our snorkelling gear and negotiated a rocky beach, pebbles but a thousand times bigger, to get to the place where volcanic activity causes bubbles to come up through the water. Hundreds of streams of tiny bubbles rose to the surface in about two metres of water. They tickled as we swam through them. In addition to this natural phenomenon there was a wonderful reef to snorkel over. There was a great variety of fish and some beautiful corals.
We’ve enjoyed Dominica so far and would love to do some dives and some more hikes and maybe even some camping. Looking forward to it all.