Location: Rosseau, Dominica
Today’s the day! It’s finally time for the long-awaited (and my personal favorite) Boiling Lake hike! Dominica is a lush, beautiful island whose mountains are teeming with lush tropical rainforests, which in turn are hiding 365 waterfalls (one for every day, of course). To make the island even more interesting and beautiful, the geothermal activity that helped form her beautiful peaks is still evident in several areas around Dominica. Today we got to experience several of these wonderful encounters. Our journey today began when our guide, Pancho, met us on the dock with his normal large, friendly smile. After a short taxi ride up the mountain a bit, we began our trek. We were immediately surrounded by a lush jungle filled with too many types of trees to count, beautiful flowers, and that wonderful smell of wet earth. As we hiked on to a chorus of frogs and birds, the temperature began to drop, and the smell of wet earth was replaced with a new smell: sulfur. We regrouped at a lookout point at the top of the peak to catch our breath, 3,000 ft. Above sea level, before beginning the journey down into the Valley of Desolation. As we clambered down the steep “steps” into the valley, our scenery began to change. Gone were the tall trees, lush foliage, and chorus of frogs. These were replaced by rising steam, multicolored earth, and the sound of bubbling water. We had made it to the Valley of Desolation, an area filled with sulfur springs in which water superheated from the earth boils up through the ground, releasing minerals such as calcium, sulfur, and iron, which paint the scenery an array of colors. Pancho rewarded our efforts with his traditional boiled eggs (cooked right there in a sulfur pool) and his homemade codfish. Once we had regained some energy and had full bellies, we continued on towards our final destination. But first, a quick dip in the natural hot pools. The water that flows out from the sulfur springs runs downhill and begins to cool. This water then collects in natural pools, again surrounded by that wonderful tropical jungle, in which we decided to relax our sore muscles a bit. Rejuvenated, we journeyed forward. After dodging a few more hot spots and crossing a few more streams, we finally reached the Boiling Lake. About 600 m across and 15 m deep; the lake boils up large plumes of steam a beautiful site for a picnic for lunch. We then began our journey back to civilization, and a few hours later, with shaking legs, we arrived at our start point. This time we rewarded our tired bodies with a quick dip in the cold waterfall. Our efforts for the day were again rewarded as we headed out to a wonderful dinner at Dive Dominica. Bellies full, legs tired, and souls happy, another wonderful day on Ocean Star came to a close as we all crawled into our bunks for what is sure to be a great night’s sleep. That is until our anchor watch rolls around.