Roseau and Hiking to Capucin
Another couple of days in Dominica in which we've taken the bus down to Roseau and hiked from Portsmouth toward the north coast to Capucin along the new Waitukubuli trail.
Wednesday night the wind was again really strong and we had a charter cat anchored next to us - we watched it drag the anchor in the dark about 100 metres before the occupants realised and went to re-anchor, felt a bit sorry for them - it was really strong winds and dark, they pulled up their anchor and tried to go in front of us and another boat - we yelled at them and the other boat started honking an air horn - we didn't want them going where they planned as they would have ended up far too close to us.. . . Our anchor held and, whilst we had a night listening to the wind whooshing, we didn't move. Bit of a shame as it put us off going ashore for the Reggae night - but too risky when it is that windy.
Thursday we piled on the little minibus from Portsmouth to Roseau which is the capital of the island. New experience for Mum on the little private buses but they are a great way to get around the island. We liked Roseau - went to the Library which is a beautiful old wooden building, walked around the churches and had lunch in a fantastic tiny cafe hidden in a courtyard at the back of a posh little boutique type shop. Mum's first meat/fish in about a week and a half as she is staying with us veggies! - she tried smoked Marlin and I think the verdict was that it was good. Adam was happy as he got blue cheese (he hasn't seen Blue cheese in quite some time). We shared a pudding, none of us needed pudding but the sound of Bread and butter pudding with Passion fruit and baked coconut with ice cream was too tempting - it was gorgeous.
The town is typically caribbean but has some lovely old buildings - after walking around for another hour we went to 'JB's smoothy bar' (which is a couple of tables, an umbrella and a man with an industrial blender) and had a Soursop Smoothie and a Pineapple Smoothie - they were recommended in the guidebook and they were good. Soursop has a texture that is not really nice to eat as a fruit, but it makes awesome smoothies. We did a quick trip to the Market to pick up some fresh veggies before catching the bus home. I bought some plantain from a lady in the market, she gave me some cooking tips and they went down very well - we wished we bought more.
Friday was our last planned day in Dominica so we went for a hike along the new trail that they have been busy marking - the island is trying to attract people for hiking so they have put in a lot of work in marking trails all around. We set off early (for us) at 9:30 and followed the start of the trail down the edge of the Cabrits mangrove swamp, we hiked for 4 hours through mangrove, over beach, through village and scrambling down steep stream gullies - it was an excellent trail, well marked with blue and yellow paint on rocks and trees showing us the way, but helpful locals also pointed us in the right direction when needed. While going through a little village and past a house with a well kept garden on the road verge, Mum went chasing after a hummingbird, the lady who owned the house came out to say hello and was probably wondering why we were looking so intently at her garden…. anyway . . . they started chatting and Mum came away 20 minutes later with seeds for Caribbean Sorrel, another flower which Mum had admired and a couple of Cocoa pods from the ladies cocoa tree. The lady who owned the garden was even on the verge of digging up a lily to that mum had admired to give to us and she had sent her son to get a suitable receptacle (Darryl! - get dem a box for dis) - we had to stop her as it wouldn't survive on the boat or in Mum's suitcase. We saw some great bits of the island on our walk that we wouldn't have seen from a bus or taxi and by about 1:30pm after climbing up and down many hills we were worn out and ready to go home.
Adam flagged down what he thought was a bus, however, it turned out to be some people who happened to be in a minibus going on a picnic to the beach in Portsmouth - they let us jump in and ride back with them, embarrassingly we only realised they weren't a bus when I tried to pay at the end and the driver looked all confused and said he had no idea what he should charge. We gave them 20EC (about a fiver) in the end and lots of thanks for saving our legs walking back again.
A final swim on the beach to relax when we got back and one last play on the dangerous looking rope swing for Susie, this has entertained us on the beach for the past few days, it's a rope swing tied high on a huge palm tree that swings you out over the water. You have to climb a little way up the palm tree to get suitable elevation, the catch is that if you let go when you are over the water, the water isn't deep enough to break your fall. We never let go of the swing, but an American did and it drew tears to the eyes seeing him land, arse first, in 6 inches of water - even he only gave himself 0.5 out of 6 for grace and style in his summing up of his 'dive'
We have loved our time in Dominica, the countryside is stunning and beautiful with vegetation and birds everywhere and the people are warm, friendly and helpful - more so than any other island to date, we have spoken to so many nice people there - even the security guard on the fishing dock told us we could leave our dingy whenever we wanted and he would let us through the gates etc. we were sad to leave and I would love to return, but we have to get back north again. . . . .
Our afternoon entertainment - rope swing from a very tall coconut palm on Portsmouth Beach - I don't let go as the water is only about a foot deep below me!
Mum and Adam sitting under short coconut palm on Portsmouth Beach, Almond tree leaves floating on the water as the beach is full of almond trees
Chickens pecking under the Mango tree - one of the villages we went through on our hike. Mango's are not yet ripe which is a shame as there are a LOT of Mango trees on Dominica and they are all laden with mango's - we wouldn't starve when hiking if we came back in a month's time
Mum with one of the Cocoa pods that she was presented with in the village of Tartane by the lady with the garden. Apparently you suck the beans which are covered in a sweet 'goo' - they were ok as far a bush tucka goes. . .. . but one or two is enough for me
Mum and Susie looking at 'mega tree' - all the roots are from one huge tree, this one was covered in gecko's and featured a cave behind it
Mum and Adam walking down the deserted pebble beach that the trail took us down - glad we only did about quarter of a mile on this