Dominica – Our Way

We have returned to our favourite island, (so far), in the Caribbean – Dominica. This time we knew a few things that we wanted to get done and we wanted to use the local buses and explore on our own. For one, we wanted to return to Champagne Reef for a snorkel in calm weather. The first time we went there it was really rough and we missed the reef completely. Then we dived there and we decided we wanted to explore a bit more with another snorkel. We chose a perfect day for this. It was quite warm and there was very little swell. champagne

We had a great view from above as got to swim right over the top of the reef instead of around it when we went for the dive. There seemed to be a lot more thermal activity there this time also. The bubbles rising from the seabed certainly look like a beautiful champagne glass with magnificent fluorescent fish swimming through it. Quite a sight.

Champagne is like a garden

Champagne is like a garden

The ranger there remembered us and was happy to see us back.

Thomas negotiating the rocks at Trafalgar Falls

Thomas negotiating the rocks at Trafalgar Falls

Second of all, I wanted to head back to Trafalgar falls where the hot waterfalls run very close to the walking track in amongst the rainforest. It’s not often we get to have a hot bath and it is one of my favourite pleasures. We caught a local bus up there and made it just before the bus loads of cruise ship passengers arrived. There had been a bit of rain so the waterfalls were quite large. But it also meant that there was cooler water in the hot pools also. I didn’t mind. It was quite a warm day anyway so the hot bath was still warm enough.

Plenty of extra water after a downpour

Plenty of extra water after a downpour

Thirdly, we wanted to do another hike. We found one that went through the Emerald Pool and we thought that sounded nice. It started out a nice warm day on the coast and after going just 20 minutes inland the heavens opened. By the time we reached the falls we were saturated. The rest of the hike that we wanted to do wasn’t advisable as there were river crossings and they were all in flood. So, we ended up walking back towards the small village nearby via the road, (actually there was just a round a bout and a fruit stand), and on the way our bus driver picked us up again as he was on his return run from the other side of the island. The tracks were all muddy waterfalls and we would have done a lot of damage if we had of ventured there. Needless to say, no bus driver would want us inside their vehicle if we were covered in mud. We got to see lots of waterfalls along the way that were just run offs from the big down pour through the rainforest. We returned back to the boat and had our picnic lunch there. Once again, the boat was in full sunshine. Well it wasn’t the day we had planned but it was certainly a new and beautiful part of Dominica that we hadn’t been before.

The witch's house in amongst the amazing mangroves

The witch’s house in amongst the amazing mangroves

Another few activities that were on our list ‘to do’ was for me to do some tutoring with one of the children I’d met last time we were here and a trip up the Indian River. The mangroves in the Indian River are very unique. Their roots are huge and twist through the clear water with fish and large crabs maneuvering about them. We went in the afternoon and our guide, Monty, gave us a good commentary of how the last of the Carib Indians used to live there before a huge cyclone in 1979 that devastated the area. The local guides had also built a replica of the witch’s house from the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ exactly in the spot where it was for the movie. The journey was quite romantic with the twilight hour and being rowed through a beautiful environment.

Me in the galley. Fresh produce - Great

Me in the galley. Fresh produce – Great

To celebrate the sale of my little sports car back home, I took the Captain out to dinner. We went to the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau where the dining was quite formal. The hotel has used the foundations of the old Fort Young buildings and is the poshest hotel on the island. We had very traditional vegetables and I had an Ital stew – the vegan type that the Rastafarians here eat. Too many beans for me to finish it but it was delicious. I had a local ‘Provincial Pie’ as a side dish. This was made from dasheen, a local root vegetable that can end up tasting like wallpaper paste if cooked by the ignorant, such as myself. This pie had a mozzarella baked topping. It was quite delicious. Thomas had his feed of meat and some yummy sweet potato chips on the side. He also had a Callaloo soup, a spinach like vegetable which happens to be the leaves of the dasheen. They make the most of this vegetable and it makes me wonder how long they persevered with it before they found a recipe that made it edible. Each meal came with lightly grilled local vegetables such as christophene, (choko to the Aussies), pumpkin and capsicum. The waitress proudly told us about the food and how it was cooked. It was good to have some traditional dishes as I usually miss out because of the huge meat component that is normally there.

We are loving having locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables again. The northern islands are too dry and they import theirs from France or the States. They have been stored so badly that they only last a couple of days once out of the shops. I ended up making chutney out of a bad papaya that tasted gross raw. However, we discovered, a bit late, that Marigot has a fresh fruit market with the imports from the southern islands a couple of days a week. We were excited about having beautiful huge avocados and passionfruit again. Thank goodness we were still able to get huge ruby red grapefruit and I lived on these for my fresh fruit in the north.

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