Dominica's favorites

Trip Start Jan 22, 2009
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Trip End Feb 08, 2009


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Friday, January 30, 2009

Dear Blog,

This morning, we arrived at the island of Dominica at 8:00am.  Since the tour was starting at 9:00am, we had ample of time to get ready.  Like usual, we had breakfast, buffet style, on the 16th deck in the Caribe Cafe.  The servers were pleasant and ready to serve us coffee or juice. 

From our seated table, we could see far away the island greeting us as the ship made its way slowly through the water way up to the island's dock.  Dark clouds could be seen overshadowing the island.  It looked as if we were entering into a dark mysterious place.  The mountains were dark green with colourful houses built on them.  It reminded me of the island we visited yesterday, but somehow, Dominica looked more intriguing and wild.  One couldn't help but feel somehow curious about this island.

Dominica lies between Guadeloupe and Martinique, which they say, is an unspoiled Caribbean paradise.  The vibrant, rich rain forest is home to rare birds, including sisserou and jacquot parrots.  Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of seeing any.  It has various streams which tumble down the mountain slopes to the fertile valleys making its way to the sea.  The vegetation is so thick and even though the island is small in size, there are many places where man has not stepped foot before. 

This is the island where Columbus made landfall on his second voyage of discovery.  Dominica once belonged to the British, but gained independence in 1978.  Today it lures tourists from around the world with its unspoiled beauty. 

Roseau is the capital of Dominica and is located on the southwestern side of the island.  Dominica is 29 miles long and 16 miles wide.  Approximately 20,000 people live in Roseau, 74,000 more dispersed on the island.  English is the official language and is spoken throughout the island.  Patois, a mix of French and Creole, is also spoken by many.

Again, we were first in line for our tour, therefore, first getting into our air-conditioned transportation getting good seats, me at the front.  As we drove through Roseau, it was raining.  The roads were quite narrowed,  unevenly paved in some places and the landscape mountainous.  We made our way to our first stop to view one of the Caribbean's most picturesque waterfalls, the Trafalgar Falls.  These twin falls cascade into a deep pool and are surrounded by forest, lush ferns and tropical foliage. 

Since it was still raining as we stepped out of the van, umbrellas were opened and raincoats put on. The 15 minute walk to the falls was a bit slippery but we managed to reach our destination without falling. Oops!  I took a bit of a stumble but Mi did not see me.  Sshhh.  The falls were a beautiful site.  Without anyone seeing us, we ventured outside the group for a while, exploring a path that led us right next to the falls.  We were glad we did even though the short distance proved to be more slippery and rocky.   I did not fall this time!  Standing right next to the falls, we could feel the force of nature and hear the vibrating sound of the cascading water. What a feeling!   After a few minutes, back we went, joining the group, and getting at the same time a less than enthusiastic look from our guide.  Our little disappearance act was noticed.  :)

We then continued our tour through the island's lush rainforest to the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.  The park is named after its highest mountain, Morne Trois Pitons, meaning mountain of three peaks.  Designated a World Heritage Site in 1997, it has many outstanding attractions, such as hot springs, freshwater lakes and lets not forget, the Emerald Pool.  The park is also a significant area of volcanic activity, precipitous slopes and deeply incised valleys. 

Luckily for us, it had stopped raining as we set off with our guide on an approximately 20 minute trek on rustic paths, negotiating many steep steps, to the Emerald Pool which is formed by delicate waterfall cascading over a fern-covered cliff.  Well, let me tell you that the name is quite suited for the falls.  It has this deep rich greeny colour which is a reflection of all of the tropical foliage and ferns around it.  It was extremely outstanding.  People were swimming in the water.  It must have been nice, but having not brought our bathing suits, we could not go in.   :(

At the end of the tour, we had the pleasure of enjoying a complimentary fruit juice at the Springfield Plantation Guest House prior of returning to the ship.  The freshly squeezed juice sure was a bonus treat with its oranges having just been picked up from the trees.  The plantation also provided us with lots of pictures opportunities.  We felt quite at ease in this tropical jungle.

Afterwards, we made our way back to the ship.  The sky was still grey but at least, not raining.  :)    As the ship left the island at 4:00pm, we could see from the top deck the Morne Trois Pitons.  It sure was a lovely site to witness.  The mountains stood up proud and powerful surrounded by its forests.   Ahead of us, the grey sky was starting to clear to make place to a wonderful blue sky.  It was as if a veil was being lifted from over us once we were stepping out of the island's mysterious grip!  

Dominica is an island full of mystery which was quite captivating and interesting visiting.  All of its unspoiled tropical forests, rainforest, foliage, lush ferns and falls made it an island that I am not about to forget soon. 

Thankful for unspoiled forests.

Mo
 
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