Monday, 7 April 2014

12/2014 Roseau, Dominica

Hi from Clare,                                                       Sunday 6th April 2014

We left Prince Rupert Bay in the north of Dominica and sailed down the west coast to the capital city of Roseau. One of our cruising friends said that the city was shabby however I rather enjoyed seeing the wonderful assortment of authentic Caribbean buildings with balconies, overhangs and intricate gingerbread trim. Some of the older buildings have been beautifully renovated and some of the simpler wooden buildings are beautiful just because of their weathered and aged appearance.
We anchored a mile south of the town near the Anchorage Hotel. We spent a few nights in the very comfortable bar using Wifi to Skype family and friends. The signal was strong and it was wonderful to catch up with our love ones.

The biggest adventure during our stay in Roseau was a guided day trip around the south and east of the island which included a one hour hike to Victoria Falls. I will come back to this shortly but before I do I have an apology.


In my last newsletter I mentioned how much we were enjoying the company of our Dutch friends Martin and 'Anna' on Acapella. However after reading our Blog they mentioned that Anna's name is actually Ellen; sorry about that it must be my hearing of the Dutch accent. So with no improvement to my Dutch ear we arrived in Roseau and whilst visiting Acapella we met a young Dutch family from the sailing yacht Sirena. They introduced themselves and we decided that we would do the island trip together. The following morning we gathered together and I remembered Jeanette's name but I said to her husband "you didn't tell me your name yesterday, you just said - hello." He said, "No I said my name - Hayo." So this was also lost in translation; I guess I just failed basic Dutch lessons. I felt an immediate connection with their little daughter Vera as she was born on 10.11.11 which is the same day as my grandson Sammy. So now with the names sorted we can go:-

Some Dominica terrain shots

We set off early morning with our very energetic and entertaining local guide Octavius known as Sea Cat. He drove us around stopping regularly to either shake or climb a tree to gather fruit. He would rip up lemon grass, cut off bay leaves or slice the bark from a cinnamon tree. We saw bananas, mangoes, apricots, pears, pineapples, coconuts, pawpaw, star fruit, cashew nuts, cocoa beans, cod liver oil seeds and various berries. I can't hope to instantly remember all that he showed us but the island is like a tropical fruit bowl. A lot of fruits and spices are growing in the wild.

We noticed local people filling water containers from water outlets coming down from the mountains. We discovered later that the water is crystal clear and icy cold. We also stopped for what Octavius claimed is "the best bread on the island" which was fresh from the oven. At this same establishment the local family was smoking meat in the back shed and had a basic distillery producing moonshine; this seems to be pretty normal practice.

The Bakery and colour co-ordination!

We had a soup lunch at a "Rastarant" in Zion Valley. All the vegetables were grown on the property and Octavius cooked us cashew nuts and then for dessert he presented us with a banana leaf with cooked cocoa beans rolled in raw sugar; really yummy.

Sea Cat up a fruit tree & one of the many fruit stops along the way

We hiked to Victoria Falls crossing the knee deep river five times. We scrambled over rocks and walked along narrow paths through the tropical forest. Hayo had the job of carrying his daughter which was no mean feat considering that Vera weighs 15 kilos. Octavius was a very attentive guide and helped us with the difficult spots; he also carried Vera whenever he was free. By the time we arrived at the falls we were all ready for a swim. Octavius was the first to jump under the waterfall and then he took us one by one under the waterfall with him. Being a very vocal fellow we were encouraged in joining him with some warlike cries from behind the waterfall; it was good fun. The guys then jumped from the rocks next to the waterfall; see photo for Andrew's jump.
Andrew jumping and the tribe returns to base

On the way home we called into the Emerald Pool set amid tall forest trees with a dense canopy. This is a popular tourist destination and therefore is very civilized with made paths and stairs to the pool. Octavius said the destination was for young children and old people. I couldn't help but smile to myself. After our hike to Victoria Falls little Vera fell asleep in the car and my poor old legs felt like jelly, so? On our final run down from the mountain to the bay we enjoyed a glorious sunset which seemed an appropriate ending to our day with nature.

Sea Cat breaking a coconut and a mango tree

We are now on the French island of Martinique where we will stay for a few more days. Our Martinique adventure will be covered in our next newsletter.

Love Candy xx

At 10:59 AM6/04/2014 (utc) our position was 14°36.04'N 061°04.16'W

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