Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Commonwealth of Dominica

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We left the Saintes and had a good sail down to Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica. This is on the NW end of the island. The first thing that you see going in is a boat boy coming to ‘offer assistance’. This is Titus, driving the skiff Lawrence of Arabia. In the old days these guys were aggressive and obnoxious – to the point that people stopped coming. They organized themselves into a cooperative, PAYS (Portsmouth Association of Yacht Service, I think). The group is really together now. They are helpful, professional, low-key, low-pressure and they run a security patrol of the anchorage at night. There main money maker is arranging island and river tours.

dominicaIMG_4712 The island is extremely hilly with steep drops off to the ocean. We setup a taxi tour to circumnavigate the north and central part of the island with new friends Jean and Art, on Samana.

dominicaIMG_4747 The island has the tallest mountain in the eastern Caribbean. The windy roads cut across the island through small villages where vegetable, fruit and banana plots are all around. The island is one of the poorest in the eastern Carib, but the people are friendly, the island and roads are clean and there’s no obvious poverty. Crime is relatively low here.

dominicaIMG_4720  A taxi tour wouldn’t be a third world experience (or is it 2 1/2 world) without the driver stopping to put in a quart of oil.

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The local and talkative coconut vendor. Just to the right of this picture is a large Bob Marley poster – you could probably guess that from the red in this guy’s eyes.

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A traditional Dominican house with a large, well-tended, garden to the left.

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Here’s Chris enjoying what looks like hiking in the US South West – New Mexico style. You can see the steps cut into cliff wall to her left. The area is known as Red Rock and butts right onto the water.

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We stopped at a little store on the side of the road and Chris bought some nice woven Carib baskets made from the Larouma reed. This women and her family made them.

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Dominica is the only island where the Carib Indians survived. It is so rugged that they were too tough to chase down and eliminate. On the western shore they have a semi-autonomous reservation today. This young women was sitting in a palm covered picnic area planning her 2 year old son’s upcoming birthday party. She’s part Carib.

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The spice rack where we stopped for lunch

dominicaIMG_4750 We hiked down to the waterfalls at the Morne Trois Piton (3-peaked mountain) National Park – a World Heritage Site since 1997. The rainforest here is supposed to have 10,000 different species. The trails were densely surrounded by tall tropical hardwoods and giant fern trees.

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I kind of agree with this trail warning

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The fern trees were easily 20 feet tall

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We lucked out and came upon a famous male swimsuit model getting photographed at the falls.

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His girlfriend was there too. Between the depth of the cut made by the waterfall and the height of the jungle canopy above, there was not much light for getting good photos.

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Art and Jean off Samana cooling their heals

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A Fiddle?

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On Wednesday and Saturday nights the PAYS boatboys put on a BBQ for the cruisers.  Here’s Chris stocking up on her birthday meal. It was a fun and memorable B-Day – Chris’ 39th. Along with Chicken and Tuna there was an open bar Rum Punch.

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The Atlantic coast of Guadeloupe

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The local flowers waving goodbye to us

Paul

3 comments:

  1. Happy Bday Chris. Looks like an awesome birthday.

    Sabrina
    s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chew don' need no stinkin' security patrols of the anchorages out in the SoPac. RC Louise: now in Panama.
    Anon Y Mouse

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  3. Happy Belated Birthday, Chris. I'm right behind you…Elizabeth (with Ed and Luna on s/v Skylark)

    ReplyDelete