Dominica - Portsmouth- 23rd -25th Jan 2011

Tue 25 Jan 2011 21:18
A few interesting facts:-
Discovery & History
1493 - Christopher Columbus visits the island on a Sunday in November and names it Dominica (Sunday Island). He passed it by!
1805 âAfter many battles with the French, the island finally remains in British possession
1834 - Slavery abolished.
1960 - Britain grants Dominica self-government.
1978 - Dominica becomes an independent republic within the Commonwealth.
A mountainous, forested island with a year-round tropical climate, national parks, rare indigenous birds and the second-largest boiling lake in the world, Dominica is potentially a great tourist attraction, but with poor infrastructure and the absence of a large airport has impeded the industry's growth. Plans to build an airport capable of taking large jet aircraft have raised concerns that an increase in visitor numbers and the rise of eco-tourism would damage the finely-balanced environment.
Although it is among the poorest countries in the region, Dominica has a relatively low crime rate for the Caribbean.
The island has a high percentage of centenarians, the most famous dying at 128 years of age.
The country is vulnerable to hurricanes e.g.
1979 â Hurricane David slammed into Dominica and has been recorded as the 18th most destructive storm in all of recorded history.
1999 - Hurricane Lenny causes widespread damage.
2004 November - An earthquake damages buildings in the north of the island. Prime Minister Skerrit says repairs will cost millions of dollars.
2007 August - Hurricane Dean wipes out 99% of Dominica's banana crop.
2004 March - Dominica cuts diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favour of ties with mainland China. China agrees to give aid worth $122m over five years.
With few natural resources and a fledgling tourist industry, Dominica is attempting to reduce its reliance on bananas, traditionally its main export earner.
Having motor sailed for 20 miles up the coast we arrived in Portsmouth and Prince Rupert Bay, which is Dominicaâs best anchorage.  Eddison, one of the official boat boys came to meet us and was keen to sell trips around the island.  One of the trips included the Indian River trip â a mini Amazon trip up the Indian River, a protected area in the Fort Shirley Reserve.  Later the veg. man (who was a little high on something!) appeared at the side of Nimue to ask us if we would like to order anything from him. 
View of Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth with Beez Neez leading the way
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The anchorage and Eddison trying to sell his trips


The ship is behind you Michael !
Wrecks from recent Hurricanes washed up on the shoreline


This Pelican has found a good look out point on one of the wrecks


Starting point for the Indian River trip
We also took the opportunity to have a look around Portsmouth and meet some of the locals.  The people are so friendly here and always asked where we were from.  On one occasion when we came ashore  to dispose of the rubbish, we couldnât find a bin, so one of the locals offered to take it, as he was not happy that the bin had been taken away and that this was no way to encourage yacht tourism.  Anyway,  he only went and dropped it off in the local Police Station a few hundred yards down the main street!   He just wanted to make a point!


Perhaps a UK sales advert would read Cosy, but in need of modernisation 
A quick drink stop at the Sea View Restaurant (although the view is now totally blocked by a wrecked ship).  As we were going back for lunch the owner did not want paying until later (very trusting people and this certainly would not occur in the UK). A brisk walk around town before we were hit by another torrential rain storm, so we decided to have lunch a little earlier than planned.  Lunch was a typical creole style meal of chicken or fish with rice and beans, but all cost less than a fiver a head, including drinks.


Sea View Restaurant for lunch
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A strange place for a bottle opener Bear? 


The lovely Sea View restaurant owner and us of course


What a colourful little chicken; outside the local Chandlery store

Read next instalment for trip around Cabrits............