Dominica - Cabrits

Tue 25 Jan 2011 17:06

We decided not to take any trips around Dominica (although in hindsight we wished we had), but we did take a ride in Beez Neez tender over to the commercial dock to visit the Cabrits National Park and the partly restored Fort Shirley, an impressive 18th Century British garrison.  The views of the bay were fabulous and the other impressive feature of the shoreline is the large number of wrecked coasters thrown up on the beach after successive hurricanes.  Cabrits was a fun place to explore and although some of the forts stone ruins have been cleared and partially reconstructed, others remain half-hidden in the jungle where we came across some old cannons. 

Summarised history of the Garrison:
1565: Sir John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Richard Grenville and other privateers and pirates begin to use the bay to refresh their ships and trade with the Carib Indians
1652: Prince Rupert of the Rhine, cousin of King Charles the first, uses the bay for repair and shelter. The bay is named after him.
1763: Dominica is ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris.
1774: Major construction of Fort Shirley and Cabrits Garrison begins with a workforce of four hundred African slaves.
1778: French forces capture Roseau. This garrison surrenders. Building work continues under the French.
1782: Battle of the Saints fought off the Cabrits on the 12th of April. The British are victorious.
1783: Dominica returned to Britain by the Treaty of Versailles
1796: West India Regiments "The Black Regiments" formed and stationed at Cabrits.
1802: The revolt of the 8th West India Regiment at the Cabrits.
1805: Cabrits Garrison refuses to surrender to the French under General La Grange.
1854: Fort Shirley and the Cabrits are abandoned by the army. The forest takes over.
1982: Restoration at Fort Shirley begins.
1986: The Cabrits Point is declared a National Park.


Fort Shirley stores


Pepe, Bear and Michael


Magnificent cannons protecting the fort


View over Prince Rupert Bay


Nimue anchored â top and 3rd on the right


Michael striding out


The Fort provides marvellous views of Prince Rupert Bay



The well maintained grounds around the garrison

P1030743 P1030739

Sorry about the hair                                           No water in this well


Picture of how the garrison looked back in the 18th Century


You can see the lay out of the garrison and its strategic positioning


Came across a hermit crab


A cannon lies in the same place as it was left


Old fortification remains in the jungle


Remarkably good condition, but no gunpowder here

P1030760 P1030761 P1030763

Pepe checking out one of the cannons and the huge tree roots in the overgrown jungle

P1030762 P1030765

Some more little reptiles seen on our excursion through the jungle

During our visit the wind had picked up somewhat, so our dinghy ride back to the yachts was a very wet one.  In fact when we got back it was just a matter of standing under the deck shower, fully clothed, to rinse off the salt! 

Our time in Dominica was continually spent dodging rain storms and despite being told this was not the norm, it was beginning to wear a bit thin. We were really looking forward to some typical Caribbean weather and sure enough the first signs of this started to appear during our visit to the next island â Les Saintes, Guadaloupe.


Just look at the rain flattening the sea