Dominica 12th-18th Jan

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Thu 18 Jan 2007 15:18

South again to catch up Aragorn who are ahead at Dominica; back to “British” territory, confirmed by torrential rain. There is a marked contrast between “French” and “British” islands. The former remain part of France, flying the Tri-color and receiving  large amounts of French investment. The post British islands are independent, fly their own flags, and have their own governments. They are generally much poorer in appearance, and obviously lack external investment. On the other hand they have independence and this seems to encourage a more enterprising spirit, in some areas / people. Too early for me to have gained more than a superficial impression, but interested to observe the differences as we go……


In Dominica, Martin, our local guide and general facilitator takes us on a trip of the northern parts, to the volcano pools, and through a friends cultivated estate to show the diversity of plants together with their various uses; fruits, vegetables, herbs, of which we are given samples, in most cases; with the notable exception of the “better than Viagra” aphrodisiac bark. Maybe he thought best not throw petrol on a smoldering fire(!!)….or lost causes.


Day two, and Martin takes us on a trip up Indian River…a gentle row, which beat the last river trip we did. Whether the time of year or what… Dominica is incredibly wet! ……..and as a consequence extremely lush, and fertile. Wonderful island of only 70,000 people; very steep in all directions. Everybody farms (unlike in Antigua where they have forsaken the land to a great extent, as a response to freedom from slavery on the plantations), but it is clearly not producing a national income that supports the infrastructure……..or somebody in government is making a disproportionate income. It is very frustrating that alongside enterprising individuals was a “visitors centre” for the Indian river that was about as welcoming and productive as a wet Monday in Cargo Fleet (ask Grandad).


We braved the weather to eat at The Purple Turtle local beach restaurant and were rewarded with a delicious plate of oven baked chicken (leg and thigh) with a selection of local veg; sweet potato, yam, christophine….

To get out of what felt like a rain zone we sail south to anchor off Roseau, the capital, and also to take the opportunity of diving in Dominica’s marine park. The diving was good; coral in pretty good condition, plenty of fish life. Nice swim-past with a Hawksbill Turtle , and the appearance of a very large Manta Ray.


Maddie and I go for a wander around Roseau, which we thoroughly enjoy. Kind of a run down shabby feel to it, while still seeming quite energetic and full of  vitality. Everybody absolutely delightful and relaxed; none of that tension on the street that is now said to exist in places around the Caribbean. We sit and eat monster ice creams in a shop where we are really supposed to take them out, while the locals come and go in a joyful easy way. True to the guide book there are still lots of fascinating colonial-era buildings, of a fairly average social level (shops and main street houses) that have interesting features, like colourful balconies. I should have wandered with a camera but didn’t. Seemed like a disproportionate number of barbers and hairdressers….….and a Tattoo shop called “Dracula’s”. This is another major stop-over for the massive cruise-ships. By all accounts they don’t actually spend very much in their brief visits…not, I suspect, on the occasional tattoo to remind them of careless nights in Dominica. Maybe there is a penchant for the “Roseau haircut” amongst the older cruisers ?!