Dominica, Portsmouth

Moxie - Beck Family Adventure
Mike, Denise, Asia and Aranya Beck
Fri 17 Jan 2014 00:45

We have done a ton of walking around this place but the only really nice one
was today up to the old british fort Shirley and around the muddy tracks, we saw a couple
of snakes and a very large lizard.  We skipped the Indian River tour as it seemed a
bit spendy at about 50 pounds for 1 hour (includes park fees) in a rowing boat, we are not allowed to take our own dinghy up the river.  

We anchored right outside purple turtle restaurant in about 4 metres of water.  There was a solitary rock below us with a couple of baby crayfish and a few sea snakes in the grass at the bottom.

Checking in with customs was a bit of a trek and not well described in our guide book, far end
of the beach, through town past the police station keep going way along the
waterfront until the road runs out with some barrier arms across, through
these and 200 metres past the customs dock is the building hidden behind the clearing shed and there's only one tiny handwritten sign stuck to the back wall of the warehouse pretty much once you have already found the place in any case.  Two carbon paper forms and a trivial fee later we were done, thankfully there was no need to return to clear out again.

I tried to tie up on the town dock but it is busy (overrun) with local fishing boats and nets etc, 
they didn't seem too receptive to me squeezing in so we have just been using the restaurant dock right in front of the boat and walking the extra kilometre or so to get to town.

Stark is the contrast to Martinique, Dominica is definitely a poor cousin.  There are loads of notices scrawled around the pace, 'no littering', despite this there is junk everywhere.  One building had a sign outside that read 'Don't dump rubbish here, for health reasons'.  Oh! So without the health concern I guess it is fine.  Chickens galore scratching in the roadside and beach, corrugated iron sheds and houses adorn the beachfront.  The local fishmonger's shop was simply a table in the sand, you don't get much fresher than that!

Dominica seems geared to gather dollars from tourists and provide local employment which is fine but does not particularly suit us guys that want to do it ourselves.  Scuba diving must be done with a guide, no private boats can use marine park mooring buoys (anchoring not allowed)   permits are required for the parks and reserves, Even hiring a car for a day is uneconomic and too much hassle because first you have to traipse off to the police station to buy a local driving licence.

In short I guess we liked Dominica and the friendly locals but didn't really give it a chance because everything needed cash, we can do it all elsewhere for free.  Dominica was very good for collecting rain water.

Interesting to learn of the medical university here that seems to attract lots of American trainee doctors.

Off to Guadeloupe next, back into 'Europe', Martinique and Guadeloupe are departments of France - French speaking and running on Euros.