Location: Portsmouth, Dominica

Today started a little earlier than usual- 6:30, a tough task for some us after a very fun night out. However, we did not let our lack of sleep get in the way of us having a great day. After a delicious breakfast frittata, we started our shuttles to shore. By 7:15, we were all ready for our island tour to pick up, waiting on the lovely beach in Portsmouth, Dominica. Our tour guides Seacat and Stowe picked us up at 7:30, and then we were off. The tour started with several stops- all highlighted by the delicious fresh fruit we were given in each new location. The first stop was a house off the side of the road; We crossed a little stream and ended up in a very friendly ladies’ yard. The first treats of the day were raw sugar cane to suck on, as well as sour starfruit- I can not say that I was a big fan of the starfruit, though. We hung around our first destination for a little while, talking to the friendly locals who lived there and getting our fill of sweet treats. One of my favorite parts of the tour is just the bus ride itself. I love sticking my head out of the window and enjoying the breeze, all while marveling at the beautiful landscape. During the tour, at least in my bus, we were constantly stopping on the side of the road while Seacat- our guide- would pick various flowers, grasses, and seeds for us to smell. Personally, I really loved the fresh cinnamon and ginger that he gave to us. Our second big stop on the tour was at another person’s home. This time, we got even more food! We were delighted to try smoked plantains, passion fruit, grilled breadfruit, coconuts, and smoked chicken. Each thing more delicious than the last. What was really nice was our entertainment while we were there. A young local boy was playing around very nearby and decided to hang out with us while we ate. He was very nice and outgoing, but possibly a little too rambunctious, seeing as he started hitting Liam at one point- poor Liam. My favorite food that we got to try while at this second destination was either the smoked chicken or passion fruit with a little cane sugar on top. Both were fantastic. Our final stop of the morning was at a little stand on the side of the road. There, some very lovely older women were selling various wooden carved souvenirs that they had made, as well as handmaid straw baskets. We didn’t buy anything, but the mere opportunity surely made Keaton’s day. Yet again, at this stop, we were offered some food. This time fingerling bananas. They were amazing! Bananas the size of… you guessed it, a finger. Super sweet and done in two bites- I ate about five.
Lunchtime rolled around at about one o’clock. We all enjoyed our packed lunch of salad, couscous, chickpeas, and broccoli- and of course, the requisite amount of Pringles; we can never forget the Pringles. We all finished lunch quickly so that we could get to the afternoon’s first activity: a jungle stroll followed by a truly stunning waterfall. Although it was short, the walk from where we ate lunch to the waterfall was incredible. Thick jungle, brimming with life, and shielding us from the sun made me feel as if I was in a movie. Despite the beautiful walk, it was the waterfall that took my breath away. “Don’t go chasing waterfalls.” As a group, we blatantly disregarded the cautionary words of TLC today. But, it was a calculated risk we were all comfortable taking. We all enjoyed a post-lunch swim in the chilly yet refreshing waterfall. At first, the water’s cool temperature kept some of us from going swimming- myself included. But after a little bit, the intrigue of everybody else’s joyous laughter and the incredible setting was too great. Eventually, everybody succumbed, and we were all swimming together.
Swimming in one waterfall in a day is something to write home about. Two waterfalls in one day, now that’s a day we will never forget. The second waterfall that we visited was quite a long way from the first, but it was just as beautiful- possibly even a little more considering its dramatic cliffs and awe-inspiring height. However, the second swim of the day came with a challenge. We had to scale some very slippery rocks in order to get the little swim hole nestled in the mountain. Despite the challenging climb, it was well worth it. When we finally arrived at the top, we were delighted to find another perfect natural pool to swim in and hot spring water oozing from the rocks. Sitting beneath the hot water emanating from the mountain was incredibly relaxing and was the closest we are all going to get to a hot shower for the next two weeks. After scrambling up some more rocks, chilling underneath the hot water, and soaking up the breathtaking views, we started our descent. It was a tricky way up and a treacherous way down. After some minor spills and a few falls, we reached the bottom- thankfully unscathed. We then dried off and made our way back to the busses for the final leg of the tour.
Enjoying the warm breeze and the Dominican scenery while reclining in the back of the bus was a perfect way to end the tour. We started our hour-long journey back from the final waterfall to the harbor, where Ocean Star awaited us at around five o’clock. I loved this last hour of the tour. I was a little tired after our day of fun in the sun and splashing around some waterfalls. So, naturally, I sat back in my seat and let the island serenade me into a very pleasant little nap. Soon enough, we arrived back where we had started ten hours earlier. But we did not leave the tour empty-handed: pounds of passion fruit, bushels of red and yellow bananas, several roots of ginger, and a bag of tamarind. Definitely a respectable haul. We all arrived back on deck and immediately started to dig into our dinner of fried rice and chicken. A blood orange sunset and a tasty meal was the perfect way to end a perfect day.

1. Early morning on the beach
2. Roadside view
3. Tiny banana
4. Passionfruit
5. Pretty flowers- that’s my hand; maybe I could be a hand model. IDK
6. Island smokehouse- hence, the smoked chicken
7. Liam with a whole lotta red bananas
8. Views from waterfall number two
9. Me and Celia enjoying a swim at waterfall number one
10. Faces in the wall at the roadside souvenir shop
11. Celia and Grady at waterfall number one- look at the camera, Grady!
12. More pretty flowers
13. More waterfall number one
14. Waterfall number two- we climbed and swam in the taller one on the left
15. Pretty picture