Dominica

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DOMINICA –

Dominica has, most probably, the most potential of any country in the Caribbean. Her people are kind, friendly and extremely honest. Her terrain is by far the most ecologically interesting in that there is a river for every day of the year, 68 species of birds, 90 species of orchids, great variations in bananas and just about every edible tropical fruit on the planet. Dominica supplied most of the bananas in the Western World until the United States and Europe cut her off, in a very political anti-Caribbean move, and awarded the contract to Chicata in Costa Rica. But that is another story.

It is also one of the economically poor countries – fortunately, for us all, that is now in a process of great change. The island now has the potential to become one of the leading eco-tourist destinations in the Western Hemisphere. They now cater to cruise ships, having their own separate dock from town – a very sensible solution when you see how the cruise ship docks with taxis etc. have ruined the other islands. They offer nothing but eco-tours which are fascinating.

I took the tour that went to the Botanical Gardens, some 80 acres of plush vegetation, flowers, birds and historic ruins. We then went to the rain forest where we were given a demonstration on coconuts and treated to a local coconut, cashew, coco bean and sugar desert which ranks among the best I have ever tasted. We ended our tour at the Emerald Pool, which is a gorgeous pool and waterfall, one of the many, on the island. This is when we were anchored, stern to, about a mile outside of the capital, Roseau, in a very quiet area with other boats. A nice Australian couple, with two children, were next to us. They have bought a Beneteau in St. Martin and were cruising before they headed back.

We then cruised the western side of the island and anchored in Portsmouth for several days. We were really lucky here as Washburn, a friend from the BVI, had told us to take a River Trip with Martin from Providence, which we did. This turned out to be quiet a piece of luck, both for us and for Martin, who became a great friend and will probably write for All At Sea. He is a beautiful Dominican young man, 39, who is just lovely and highly informed about his island. In fact he gave us an excellent tour and helped both Dave and me out in several areas. I am writing an article on him and the River Tour Guides, of which he is President, for the July issue of AAS.

I took some great pictures of the buttresses of the bloodroot trees and had an afternoon of fun making art-deco photos of them for my website. I finally became knowledgeable about Paint Shop Pro. We also made friends with another Australian couple Graeme and Rachael who saw Swan Song enter the harbour and rushed over. They have been looking at her sister ship, another Roughwater ’58, and were making a bid on it. We showed them the boat and, of course, they loved it. We then saw him several more times. We also ran into Karen and Vladimir from Dagmar. I spent Sunday afternoon with them at Big Papa’s on the beach.

We spent three lovely days here and fell in love with the small town, the slow and friendly ways of her people and the food. I bought every conceivable fruit and vegetable known to the area – each being more delicious than the last.

We left early in the morning, after a week’s stay, and crossed the channel, a six hour crossing that was much easier than the last one. The only thing I don’t care for in cruising is these damned channel crossings. They are so rough on me, Dave, Swan Song and poor Leda, who is being towed the entire way.

 

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