Prince Rupert Bay & Indian River; Dominica
Position: 15:34.792N 61:27.767W
Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013
We sailed the 15 miles northwards along the west coast of Dominica to Prince Rupert Bay, an anchorage on the north western part of the island. The bay lies outside of the town of Portsmouth which was the original capital. The swampy conditions ashore were the cause of much malarial and yellow fever infection and so the capital was moved to Roseau. However these days the area is considered to be healthy.
We had a typical sail along the leeside of the islands with flat seas and light winds for most of the way but with the occasional blast of stronger winds as we passed deep valleys that funnelled wind over the mountains. There was also quite a bit of rain. Over the last couple of weeks the incidence of overcast and rainy conditions has been increasing and we arrived in Prince Rupert Bay to be met by 30 knot winds and driving rain.
We picked up a mooring buoy that was organised by PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security). Earlier blog entries have commented on the persistent hassle that we have had ever since we left Barbados from the ubiquitous ‘Boat Boys’. The only places to be completely free of this nuisance have been the French islands, Barbados and the large marinas in Grenada and St Lucia. Dominica can also more or less add its name to this list. The various individuals that service mooring buoys and run water taxis and shore side tours have got together to from PAYS. They have standardised prices, reduced the incidence of ‘free-lance’ vendors, they tour the anchorages at night to improve security and ensure that all of their members are properly trained. It’s to be commended.
The company that administered the mooring buoy we used (Cobra) also offered trips up the local ‘Indian River’. The river takes its name from the Carib Indians, the original inhabitants of a large number of the Caribbean Islands at the time that Columbus arrived. In fact Dominica is the only island where there is still an active but small community of indigenous Caribs. There was a trip leaving later that afternoon, so we decided to go straight away.
We were collected from our boat in a fast pirogue and taken to the river mouth where we transferred to a small rowing boat for the tour (no powered craft are allowed in the river). We were not expected to row, there was a guide who did all of the hard work. It was interesting to see the water colour change from the typical turquoise/aquamarine of the shore side to the tea brown of the river.
As we made our way slowly up river, the vegetation started to close in.
Yet again, that film, (Pirates of the Caribbean) made its presence felt. Apparently the river was used to shoot some of the sequences of the later film, and the shack below was built as one of the film sets. It seems as though in half the places we have visited someone has tried to draw a connection between the location and Mr Depp.
The vegetation continued to close in until it formed a canopy over our heads.
There were a number of birds around us. We got close enough to a king fisher to get a good photograph.
As we made our way further upriver the trees lining the banks came to dominate the view with the convoluted and gothic structures of their roots.
Finally we returned to the boat in a light rain shower and were greeted by a luminescent rainbow.