Oct 31, 2009
This morning we woke up to a delicious 6:45 breakfast so we could be on shore by 7:30 for a tour of the island. We started out heading into Rosseau, then drove up the West coast of Dominica, a landscape of contrasting jungle and steep cliffs to the water. Eventually we reached Portsmouth, a small town on a big bay at the north of the island. Apparently, Portsmouth was originally intended as the capitol of Dominica due to it’s natural harbour, but noxious swamps soon nixed the idea, and Roseau became the center of the island. Luckily for us, the diseases emanating from the swamps are no more. In Portsmouth we disembarked from our minibus and crowded aboard two row boats to explore the Indian River. We split the river into sections and took water samples at various depths to investigate the Salt/Fresh interface as the river meets the sea. We then headed up river, passing by another site where Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was filmed. Leaving Portsmouth, we headed into Dominica’s interior, and signs of civilization rapidly disappeared. Here and there a house poked out of the jungle, with only the power lines running to them betraying that it wasn’t 100 years ago. We emerged from the forest to one of the only white sand beaches on the island, where we stopped and ate a lunch of peanut butter and jelly. The only other person on the beach was an elderly man doing headstands and yoga. Dominica is also home to the only remaining Carib Indians in the Caribbean. The Caribs were the original inhabitants of the islands, but contact with Europeans rapidly decimated their numbers. We stopped by the house of a grandparently Carib couple who were friends with our tour guide and showered us with local fruit. We left with a better appreciation of the delicacies available straight out of the jungle, as well as some soursop and Avocado. We ended the day with a dip in the Emerald Pool, where beautiful green waters are fed by a lush tropical waterfall.