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  • Mr. Nice's Fruit stand! Definitely worth it. In my personal opinion, we made the mistake of booking Sheppe Tours, which had wonderful reviews, but it was absolutely terrible. If we ever go back to Dominica, I would hire a taxi to take me back to Mr. Nice's fruit stand where you can try all the local fruit. And then on to Champagne Beach.

  • We left the Saintes to go a little further South to Dominica. This will be furthest South we go on our trip.
    Dominica, the land untouched and unspoiled (….by McDonalds). But really it’s lush and rich with vibrant plants and flowers. It’s the youngest of the Caribbean islands so it’s mountainous and the only island to have multiple volcanoes. Christopher Columbus spotted the island on a Sunday of 1493…. and named it after that day of the week. I suppose he had ran out of saints to name.

    What was really great about this landfall was the fact that we were beginning to see familiar boats and knew two of the boats rather well at this point, one being Melissa on Acedia. Again, it’s pretty cool to come into a new country and see a few friends just chilling in the anchorage.

    Our first day we checked into customs and forged onward to a university area where we found Lulu or rather Lulu found us. Lulu is an amazing cook. After strolling halfway through 10 stalls selling all forms of delicious juices, lunches, and cookies; Lulu called to us. She was the 10th and last stand in the group. Cornered in the shade with a picnic table we followed her and devoured Lulu’s homemade rice, beans, chicken, and fried plantains. With a full and happy tummy we wished Lulu thanks and bid her farewell…. but not for long. We’d be back…
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  • When you first anchor in Portsmouth, there is a system/company of boats and one comes out to greet you and make their touring services available to you. Being new to the harbor I was weary of this boat guy coming out to welcome us. But now I know….

    About 10 or so years ago this harbor was unsafe until a group of men made it safe. They patrol the waters at night and keep a general look out during the day. If any issues or questions arise you look for one of these guys. They’re referred to as P.A.Y.S. And they are phenomenally great. That said, Mike and I enjoy off the beaten track adventures, the kind that involves meandering and less so guides and fannypacks. Which is why it took about 3 days to finally agree to one of the PAYS guys to take us on a river tour. Our boat guy was Alexis.
    We started the day with a tour down the Indian River. Our main man, Alexis, spoke Creole, English, French, German, and Spanish. Crazy impressive! We were with a French family so poor Alexis had to explain everything twice French and English, for all to understand.
    Our first stop was Calypso’s digs in the tropical rainforest. If it looks familiar, then I know you’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean II. That’s right, 10 years ago the amazing cast including Johnny Depp Orlando Bloom Bill Nighy stayed in Dominica for some time going out to the local bars. (title of this post is a Jack Sparrow quote from P. of the C. II). The water was far clearer than I thought it would be. I was anticipating swamp and algae. The brackish water supports fish, mainly mullet fish, which we saw plenty of.
    We left our boats and went on a stroll where Alexis told us about the local vegetation. Coming from a farming background he was able to give us insight on how simple yet difficult life can be living off the land. He pointed out cinnamon trees to us and then THWAK! With his machete he took a piece of the tree and showed us how it smelled…. like a perfect Martha Stewart Christmas… but better. It was incredible, we strolled around this farmland with Alexis and his machete. He was slicing off passion fruit, star fruit, coconut, coffee beans, bananas…. for us to try. We ended our stroll at a brightly colored house where we had fresh passion fruit juice. And Mike and I standing at the bar, noticed bottles that looked like rum. We were correct and tasted the homemade rum. We bought a bottle that had coconut and cinnamon mixed in it. YUM! And sure enough, our friends from Aggressive and Alpha Crucis wandered in and we all enjoyed our rum drinks after a fresh snack of fruits. In the end, Mike & I enjoyed our tour immensely!
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  • Our day doesn’t end here (good grief… I know… the blog entry continues). Alexis dropped us off around 11 but we still had the rest of the day. Sitting on a tour boat didn’t tucker us out so we asked Acedia, Alpha Crucis, and Aggressive (alliteration not intentional, on occasion we do befriend boats that start with other letters of the alphabet). The 7 of us rallied and we found a lime green van to take us into the mountains to explore the Syndicate Rainforest.Read more

  • Once we made it back from the waterfalls our walk continued, 30 minutes (according to Alan) down a very hilly road to the rainforest and parrot reserve… About an hour later we were still making our way down this road. Thank goodness we had the enjoyable company of Nills, Lisa, Megs, Tom and Melissa to keep us preoccupied from the temperately humid nonending march to nowhere. And just as the farmland began to disappear and more open and wild vegetation grew we spotted two vibrantly green parrots fly overhead. And that’s when good -ole- Alan appeared. We hopped in the van and he drove us the last 1/4 of a mile to the rainforest reserve center. He was kind enough to let us stroll around for another 15 minutes.
    We made it back just in time for Lisa and I to watch for our green flash we, so badly, yearn to see. No go this time… maybe next.
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  • We continued to follow our new guide the red rocks ranger to a black sand beach.
    I had never experienced a black sand beach and found it to be something greater than a beautiful piece of land.... the sand had magnetism to it.... it's denser than the usual white sand we see so when it sinks in water, the water remains clear and you watch it sink immediately.
    Warning cliche moment coming up.... If ever you visit a black sand beach.... take your shoes off and feel the sand between your toes. It's unlike anything else.Read more

  • I saw a fern that was bright yellow on the other side of the plant. We found out, if you place it flat against your skin, it'll make a really neat temporary natural tattoo.
    We met the owner of a chocolate factory.... factory, pictured below....
    Before we hailed the last bus we enjoyed a few beers.

  • The following day Mike, Lisa, and I met our guide, Martin, at 6:30 AM ! Poor poor Mike, he doesn’t fair well in the mornings (but he did well that day….). Martin drove us an hour South near Rosseau. We started the hike on a well maintained path, though, still an arduous climb up. All four of us were breathing hard as we climbed right into the clouds.DSC_0543 Extreme drop offs were on either side of us and when there was a break in the trees and brush, jets of wind funneled over the cliffside. The force of which, nearly knocked your body back. I looked back several times unsure if Lisa would fly away. We suddenly found ourselves on the summit about 3,000 feet up but with zero view due to the clouds. I took a picture but it didn’t come out 😉 (sorry, that was Kirsten humor…) We then, began to decline over a ridge into what opened up to be the first of the two calderas! It was fantastically green and the rocks held so much iron. These calderas are thought to have been created 40,000 and 35,000 years ago.Read more

  • We cautiously climbed over narrow muddy footholds that descended into the valley of desolation. This was super neat! As in, when I looked up to see the valley of desolation, I had truly NEVER seen anything like it in my life. I saw pictures online but it didn’t do it justice. The gaseous ground, did, reminded me of a scene in the cat/dog movie of Milo & Otis (kudos to anyone who remembers that childrens movie. I watched that movie on my Dads lap in 17 Rising Lane Long Island NY when I was a kid). The smell of sulfur was so strong you could taste it and when the wind changed and the steam rolled into your face you could feel and taste it. Joy… Mike and I wore our chaos sandals so our feet could feel the heat of the earth beneath us… which I found a little…. intimidating. The earth was cakey and almost sponge-like in some areas. In the stream some people have been known to cook a raw egg…. I didn’t see the appeal in that.
    The photo of all the steam is a fumarole, a crack, which gas escapes. Since the last major eruption was 800 AD… I’m not terribly concerned.

    Anyway. Another great sight was the fact we saw a black stream… a lot of them in fact. Created out of basalt. The other streams of green, grey, and white… I’m less sure of but hot dang! they sure are cool looking.
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