Thursday, February 18, 2016

Southern Caribbean - Day 5 - Roseau, Dominica

Wednesday we docked on the small island of Dominica (pronounced dom-muh-NEE-kah) like the name Dominque but with an extra syllable on the end).  It is a small island about 29 miles long and 15 miles wide.  All four of us took a third party excursion to go snorkeling, cave swimming, and hiking to a waterfall.  In short it was a great, but rainy day and we loved getting to know the interior of this small but resilient country.

We met our group at 8:45 am just off the pier and they had clear directions on where to find the representatives.  We were in a van of 8 cruisers with a guide, Kasha and a driver, Asha.  The day started with a snorkeling tour of champagne reef, an area where the volcanic activity under the island causes warm gases to flow through the reef so there are tiny channels of bubbles that you can actually swim through!  Tons of great fish, eels, and other aquatic life.  After an hour on the reef we swam back to shore, dried off, and piled back in the van for a 15 min drive to stop #2.

Titou Gorge might have been the highlight of the whole trip.  Unfortunately we have no photos because the waterproof camera has died!  We stripped down to just swimsuits, water shoes, and float belts and after a short walk we then walked down some stairs into a very cold river that flowed down a waterfall and into a cave/gorge.  We swam up river through the cavern to the base of the falls and then using a life ring and some rope, our guides pulled us through the base of the falls to a pocket next to the falls.  It was freezing but exhilarating and very cool!  Since we don't have pics, here is a screenshot from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean - Dean Mans Chest which was filmed here.  Therefore I have unofficially swam with Johnny Depp now!

I should mention that all day it was overcast and raining but in strokes of good luck, every time we drive between spots, it poured, and when we got out for an activity it lessened or stopped.  Raincoats came in handy today!

After the gorge we dried off and drove about 20 min to an area called Trafalgar Falls.  A 10 min hike and some stairs took us to the two falls.  The island survived a bad tropical storm this fall which left 30 dead, whole villages buried in mud, washed out roads, and the thermal springs at the base of these falls were also destroyed.  The people of the island are very resilient and are working hard to rebuild and continue to encourage tourism to help restore what was lost.

One of the coolest things we saw was the hydroelectric system which supplies 40% of the islands power.  In a feat of timeless engineering the pipeline is built from wood, like a 20 mile long barrel.

Overall it was a great day and we liked getting to see the interior and learn more about the islanders from our guides.  Bumping Tours was excellent and I would highly recommend them for any excursion.

We finished the night with dinner in the modern restaurant which tries to make food fun.  iPads are the menus and everything is fusion or served in a playful manner.  The dessert menu was a puzzle cube you had to open in various ways to see all the options.  My favorite dish was the disco shrimp and the sushi lollipops with crab meat that were covered in Doritos dust.  Group consensus was that it was fun to try but not a repeat.  To cap off the night, literally, we won at majority rules trivia and each got baseball caps!  In this game they ask a question and you write down what you think the majority of the purple in the room will respond.  Example - what kind of pet would be cool to have, but a pain to keep?  Answer: Monkey.  Ellen and Pete were the heavy hitters here and supplied nearly every answer we gave.  Hats off to them!

Thursday we are in St. Kitts 

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