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Dominica

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 23, 2010

Day 5, December 12, Sunday

Emerald Princess 10 Day Cruise

DOMINICA

We approached Dominica, a mountainous, long island of 298 square miles with a population of around 73,000. Clouds hovered over the green-coated land. White buildings clustered along the coastline like blobs of bird poop (not the nicest image, but this popped into my mind). A five-masted sailing vessel glided past. Closer in toward the town of Roseau, I spotted another cruise ship at a farther pier. Signs flashed in front of me: KFC, General Post Office, High Court of Justice. Decent paved roads curved by pastel buildings, many in need of repair. Buses and vans lined up ready to receive visitors. A row of tents indicated a straw market. Across the water, I spied a squat building housing a hardware center near a series of colored umbrellas sheltering more crafts stalls. I could see the Luxury Emporium, a recommended shop by the cruise line. The Royal Bank of Scotland was near the Garraway Hotel.

                        

Our ship tour met at the end of the pier. We took the Traflagar Falls & Roseau Highlights excursion. We boarded an air-conditioned van seating 10 people and left early as the bus was full. We drove out of town without much trouble and stopped a short distance away at the Botanical Gardens, where the guide pointed out the foliage as we walked across the grass. She showed us thick caterpillars that would turn into moths. We were fascinated by the tree felled by a hurricane in 1979 that crushed an empty school bus. Banyan trees, coconut palms, papaya trees, banana plants, pink impatiens, colorful bougainvillea, sausage trees, vibrant hibiscus, red Poinciana trees, red ixora, and crotons were some of the plants shown to us. We saw the “poor man’s” orchid tree, breadfruit trees, and trumpet flowers. Hummingbirds flittered among the branches. A hollowed out circle of bamboo provided a “bamboo house” where special events took place. It was shady inside with a dirt floor. Birds chittered overhead as the guide pointed to some parrots. She mentioned there were 365 rivers on the island, hydroelectric plants, and water treatment facilities. I was impressed by their self-sufficiency in terms of water and energy needs. The island used to hold a big lime plantation but no more.

Botanical Gardens

                          

School Bus Crushed by Tree

Caterpillar

 

Craft Vendor

As we continued up into the mountains, I noticed electric wiring strung overhead. A big pipe followed the road to carry water. Dwellings, made mostly of concrete, had painted galvanized metal roofs. We saw trees with green beans that were Dominican grown coffee. The road was mostly paved but coated with dried mud and rocky with many switchback curves. We climbed up and up to the rainforest at Morne Trois Pitons National Park where we got out of the van and trekked through the vegetation to the famous Traflagar Falls. It’s a treacherous path with uneven, rocky steps that would be terribly slippery if wet. You need to be in decent shape to make this hike. Sweat beaded my brow and my shirt stuck to my back in the humidity. My heartbeat raced as we climbed further, but the view was worth the effort. As we approached the twin falls, the sound of rushing water grew louder. The lower falls gushed on the right, the higher falls on the left. It was truly a lush setting among tropical vegetation. I loved the rainforest and seeing the green plants and ferns and tall trees. We’d brought our rain ponchos but fortunately the weather stayed sunny and warm.

Taller Falls on left

                 

Shorter Falls on right

Our next stop was Papilotte Wilderness Retreat where we had an inspiring view of the Roseau Valley and a free rum punch. This was a relaxing stop where we could admire the sights.

Moi at the overlook

Back in town, we shopped in the crafts market and few souvenir stores. The Luxury Emporium had leather goods, liquor, and coffee. The outdoor stalls held the usual T-shirts, magnets, carved wood boxes, flowered dresses, and beads. This island is better for scenery them for shopping but the views are spectacular.

For more photos, go to http://bit.ly/i1wERn

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3 Responses to “Dominica”

  1. Great pictures to go along with your commentary. The island looks so lush and beautiful. In our part of the world, I’ve only ever cruised to the Bahamas.

  2. Looks fabulous, Nancy. Cruises are a lovely easy way to travel to the islands. The mountainous islands are for more intriguing to me and offer such lush foliage. Thanks for sharing.

  3. The lower Caribbean islands that are volcanic in origin are beautifully lush and mountainous. St. Thomas remains my favorite for shopping and things to do, but I love Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Tortola for the spectacular scenery.

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