We’ve been here for almost a week. We arrived on Sunday at 7am and met up with the ‘gang’ – Orion, Cape, Fawkes, Heymead. The kids have been separated for something like 3 days so they abandoned ship before we had the anchor down.
There are a group of local guys in the bay who do river tours and supplement by servicing the yachts in the bay with fuel, water, laundry services, bringing mechanics out, and just about anything you need. On Sunday, they have a big BBQ on the beach to fund their project. Woweee! what a great time. BBQ chicken, rice, salads, music, dancing and rum punch. Be careful of the rum punch, they serve it in small cups for a reason.
The next two days we had rain until mid afternoon. I started feeling like we weren’t going to see any more of Dominica than what we could see out the window. Marie decided she needed a shower so she went out washed up.
Luckily the sun did come out in the afternoon and everyone swam. Topaz is starting to get comfortable here. This is a classic Teak (Our first faithful pup that cruised Mexico with us) pose.
Teak never slept in the dinghy but she did crash on deck after hours of swimming.
After school the kids play ‘king of the kayak’, swing from the end of the boom, head off to the beach and do whatever. Roy got our a marlinespike book and made a rope ladder to climb out of the water to the end of the boom for a higher jump.
Then there is the ‘Sundowner’ issue. It seems that every night we either have a planned sundowner or we’re hanging out, someone serves cocktails and then we’re waiting to watch the sun go down. The other day Makai comfortably hosted 16 adults from three different countries and 5 kids for cocktails, followed by 6 adults and 9 kids for dinner. I’m very happy to host the party!
Dominica has protected their natural resources by making national parks. Of the many beautiful bays on this island, there are only 2 you can anchor in. The rest are parks and you can only use with a guide or walk in and snorkel off the beach. Yesterday we took the kids across a one mile trail lined with trees, mangroves, crabs, lizards, and plenty other plants and animals I can’t identify. The end of the trail opened up to the Cabrits Marine Park. The kids spent an hour making homes for the hermit crabs. Roy picked one huge one up and it dropped out of it’s shell. We were all mortified about how vulnerable the poor thing was.
The water had great visibility. Unfortunately, we weren’t on the reef, but the kids found enough fish to keep them interested.
Lion fish are beautiful but pack a painful sting, recently they’ve been taking over the reefs. They’re from the Indo-Pacific region and were thought to be released from aquariums during hurricanes in the 1990s. They have no predators and have a voracious appetite. The invasion brings an open season on these beautiful fish. The guides and naturalists say to please take a spear and kill any lion fish you see. They’re really serious, but we don’t really have a spear and they’re beautiful spines and too long to use a knife, so we just admire them.
Marie is my little swim pal. She holds my hand as we snorkel around. Snorkeling is fun she prefers to roll in the sand and then shake like a puppy before rinsing off in the water.
Savannah and Shane from Orion are enjoying the snorkel trip too.
Friday was the river trip. One of the cruiser friends was nice enough to organize all the boat boys into taking us on the trip together. The guide in charge suggested 6:30 am, YIKES! what was he thinking. We went to bed early, slept in our clothes and set several alarms. At 6:30 the sun wasn’t even up, and it was pouring rain. About 7:30 we were picked up with water bottles and oatmeal cookies for breakfast.
The Indian River was used in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean movie where the Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and their crew went to seek out Calypso the voodoo queen. It’s now a national park that was once fished with dynamite but is now protected and thriving.
You can only go up the river with a guide. Our guide Alexis rowed us up stream and told us stories about the Caribes that were originally vicious cannibals but now are thriving on a reservation, stories about how he used to live off the fruits of the river and how he now loves and respects the river enough to be a guide and conservationist.
Alexis pointed out trees, plants and animals. Talked about how all plants were leveled by hurricane David.
We felt very comfortable with Alexis because he met us at 6am last Sunday morning as we were entering the anchorage, and we usually see him cruising around the anchorage most every day.
At the end of the river trip, there was a short walk through the jungle.
Alexis pointed out plants and animals along the way.
The kids were excited by the baby iguana.
I liked the fresh ginger root he dug up.
There are the coco pods
When you cut it open the seeds are covered by a sweet meat and the inside is supposed to be roasted and ground, but if you bite the seed, it does taste a bit like coco.
The trail was lined with all kinds of fruit, like these grapefruits. There were also passion fruit vines growing the way we would with grapes.
Here is a jumbo okra.
Alexis is chipping the bark off of a cinnamon tree. He says the bark grows back and the harvest keeps it healthy.
Bananas of course. The smaller ones are eating bananas and the larger ones are plantains for cooking. We haven’t explored those recipes yet.
At the end of the trail there was a little bar that served fresh passion fruit juice and coconut rum. Apparently, all the old folks credit their health with the coconut. The oldest person who ever lived came from this part of Dominica and lived to 128 years old. So I went out and bought plenty of coconut products. Roy got another machete and started providing his friends and family with refreshing coconut drinks at the beach.
Alexis and the other guides also made these beautiful origami palm frond birds.
One thing that sticks in my head from when we chartered a boat in Tonga is that the coconuts on the ground all sprout into a new tree. The same thing happens here.
At the end of the trail we all had gooey, filthy, muddy, slimy feet.
Nothing a little water and cleanser can’t fix up.