March 3rd Martinique to Dominica

March 3rd We departed St Pierre (Martinique) at 8.30am for the 35 mile run to the island of Dominica. It started out very flat and calm and we all sat on the fly bridge. It got a bit choppy in the channel but was still Ok to stay up top.

We arrived into Roseau at 2:30pm and were met by the usual boat boy, we couldn’t get a mooring near Starlet so we had to take one further down the bay at $20 US per night. The bay is very picturesque with lots of small and very colourful houses right on the waterfront. There are steep hills and mountains all over the island, and they are all covered in lush tropical trees, vines, shrubs and ferns. It is spectacular and is one of the most attractive islands we have seen so far. Dominica is known as the land of many rivers and this is due to the frequent clouds and mist that hang over the mountains. The mist curls around like smoke.

Roseau is the capital of Dominica and is full of quaint cottages with timber balconies some fully restored and many in a sad state. There is a large dock at the end of the main street and there was a ship in port. Hence lots of locals with small stalls selling their market wares. We went into town to complete the check in process. Although we had already completed the forms on-line through Sail Clear, when we arrived we had two long pages to complete as apparently the on-line check in service is down. It is the busiest check in office I have seen yet, but they were so efficient with two officers in an office and one guy outside handing us the forms and helping with enquiries and then showing us into the customs officers. It didn’t take too long at all and at $8 US it was very reasonable.

As we walked off the dock we were approached by a local offering an island tour for $20 US per head. We took a card and said we will let him know. In the customs office another guy offered us the same service for $50US per head. Robbie had a bit of fun with him but we decided to go with the $20 per head deal.

 It was really hot, humid and steamy and we walked back to the dock and the boys had a local beer Kabuli and the girls had soft drinks. We headed back to the boats and had a quiet night with a few drinks on-board, enjoying the sunset. We cooked some of the Mahi mahi for dinner in just butter for a change from Panko Breadcrumbs. It was as always, superb. The boys are trying really hard to catch a Tarpin (if it happens it will be a catch and release) and spent some time jigging for small fish for bait.

March 4th we were up and organised early ready for our tour which commenced at 8.30am. As Robbie was loading the Eski into the duck he knocked the stainless steel bar off the duckboard and of course it sank. So he had an early morning snorkel to retrieve it. Never a dull moment! We collected Mark and Jennifer on the way. Our driver was a young Dominican lad called Bradley and he was very helpful and polite. We began by driving through the town and up through the mountains to the Emerald pool.

The first surprise was the lady in the ticket booth was very casually breast feeding her baby as she served us! Can you imagine the outroar in Australia if you went to buy your ticket at SeaWorld and the attendant was breast feeding??? We were rather amused by this. (Amused or amazed?)

The emerald pool is set amongst tall rainforest trees and takes a 15 minute walk from the car park. Words cannot do justice to the raw natural beauty of this island. Although it was a light constant drizzle of rain it did not detract from the magnificent scenery. Water gushing from a rainfall into a natural pool, unfortunately it didn’t inspire any of us to swim although we all had our togs on.

We then had to return the way we had come back through the town and then up through another beautiful valley to the Trafalgar falls. Twin waterfalls cascading down cliffs, again set amongst lush tropical foliage. There were a number of bush crabs on the paths they play dead until you nudge them with your toe and then they scamper for safety.

We had lunch at Papillote an open air restaurant complete with birds and lizards flitting and running around the outside. It was very enjoyable both the food, company and setting. We continued on and we all noticed the large amount of cars and truck wrecks littering the roads. It appears that where the cars and trucks die, they stay!

 On our return we stopped into the Botanical gardens which were disappointing with really only a large cage housing 4 parrots and a large structure made of bamboo they call the bamboo house. There were a few dogs here that Jennifer gave some tickles and a talk to

We wanted to get some groceries so we got Bradley to drive us to supposedly the best supermarket, an IGA. We were able to get a few supplies it was pretty basic though and there was another mother wandering around with her baby breastfeeding while she walked. Robbie and Maree then checked out the local markets to try and buy some meat. Maree was horrified how they pulled out half a cow and asked what bit they wanted. They declined.

Bradley dropped us back at the dock and helped us load up, he really was very helpful. Back to the boat for dinner and another early night as we are leaving early tomorrow morning to head to Portsmouth, further up the island for a rive tour up the Indian River.


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