On our first visit to Dominica we had stopped at the capital, Roseau, and really enjoyed it, so we thought it would be a good place to show Helen and Adrian. There are also some good walks in the southern part of the island, so after four days in Portsmouth we headed south. As we approached Roseau, we were met by the inevitable boat boy in the form of Desmond, who took us to a mooring further in to the bay than on our last visit. This was right by New Town and we had the sound of hens and dogs and the smell of smoke all night – but not all night music like on our first visit. Dominica is a lovely, vibrant and friendly island, but it is not quiet!
Helen and Adrian in charge on the way to Roseau
We had a walk round town in the afternoon. It seemed less busy than we remembered, which might be because we are getting used to the Caribbean, but we were struck again by the lovely colourful and ornate buildings around the town.
You don’t get adverts like this in England anymore
The following day, Desmond collected us from the boat and took us ashore to meet Joe, our driver for the day and the group of German sailors who also wanted to see Middleham Fall. The drive up into the mountains in Joe’s old minibus was an experience. The main road was closed as a landslip had washed part of it away in the rain a couple of weeks before, so we went up a secondary road that was full of pot holes and narrow bridges.
The walk in to Middleham Fall is about an hour each way and is quite steep up and down through the virgin forest. It had been clear from the start that Joe was not a walker and would not be coming with us, but the footpath was mostly easy to follow. The waterfall is 275 meters high and the footpath went from top to bottom. It is not spectacular in itself, but the remoteness and the setting made it a lovely place to be. Helen and Adrian braved the water for a swim, but the rest of us decided it was too cold. When we returned to the bus, Joe told us some story about how he and the park ranger had dealt with the admistrative details, so all we had to do was pay our fee and not worry about tickets, from which we assumed they had done a deal to split our fees between them.
On the footpath to Middleham Fall
Our first view of the waterfall from the footpath
Crabclaw and Poinsettia growing wild
Our next stop was Titou Gorge, which was used as a setting for one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. To get there we walked a short distance alongside the most amazing water pipe made entirely of wood, like a wooden barrel. The Gorge itself was a deep ravine with overhanging sides and the stream flowing down from the waterfall at the far end. You had to don a floatation belt to go in, but then could swim to the end of the Gorge. The water felt icy, but we were lucky to find a guide from another tour group at the end. He pulled us across the fast water from the waterfall using a lifering and then showed us how to jump back in and use the water to wash us back into the gorge. As we swam back with the flow of the water we had time to admire the rock formations of the sides.
Our last visit of the day was to a spa (another of Joes deals on our behalf). We spent half an hour soaking in hot mineral baths beside the river. The water was almost boiling when it came out of the pipes and the baths were pleasantly hot. We have been told that the mineral baths take ten years off your age, so should be looking considerably younger now.