Location: Roseau, Dominica

Today I awoke just before 07:00 to wake the crew. As per usual, it was rather difficult. The girls and most of the boys had rolled into the salon by 07:15; the trailers emerged just before breakfast. This morning Lucy and Katie made bagels with vegan cream cheese, peanut butter, and jelly (at least for me) and grits for the gluten-free people. After the usual post-meal clean-up, we all rushed to get ready for the island tour that would begin at 09:00. As we arrived onshore, our lovely guide Octavius aka SeaCat, greeted us, and we piled into the van. After a long drive, we came to our first stop, an incredible view of Dominica, but mostly it was just to give us all a little air and stretch out our legs. Sometime later, we arrived at a small greenhouse selling cassava bread. It was strange but delicious and gluten-free! Our next stop was a larger orange home belonging to one of SeaCat’s friends that the vessel visits every semester. We all congregated around the side of the house at a brown shack that had billowing smoke coming from it. I came to the realization then that our island tour would consist of going to various locals’ homes and taking the food they were cooking. Within the brown smoking shack, some pork was being cooked. SeaCat snagged us some. I was told it was spicy and very good. Next, we arrived at a woman’s home, where we were given a squash. Later on, at another home, we were given a pumpkin. We spent most of the tour driving around the island, seeing the destruction of hurricane Maria. Roofs were missing all around, walls were torn down, and trees were completely stripped. I guess Dominica is one of the lushest and tropical islands normally, but the hurricane had completely devastated it.

Nonetheless, everywhere we went, and every person we met had a smile on their face and eagerly greeted us. It really puts things in perspective, seeing entire communities living with practically nothing, still willing to share, welcoming us in with open arms. Later we arrived at the Emerald pools, where Matty somehow found a box of newborn kittens under a table. They were so cute, and all of us, including Captain Wiggy, wanted to take them back to Ocean Star. We soon realized we wouldn’t be able to take care of three kittens on a boat (and it would be illegal to smuggle them to each island), so we ventured on. The walk down to the pools was only about 15 minutes, and wow, was it beautiful there. Only a few of us went swimming because it was freezing cold but worth it when you’ve been cooped up in a van for two hours with 13 other people on a very sunny day. After a quick dip, we were back in the van on our way to the last stop on our tour, Trafalgar falls. By this point, I was exhausted and simply watched the 125ft and 75ft waterfalls from a distance while Olivia played with my hair. Soon we were back on Ocean Star. Mostly everyone went straight to bed but, Elle and I chose to sit in her hammock and gossip. Ian joined in a bit later. At 18:00, dinner was served thanks to our wonderful chefs and followed by some good old marine biology with Steve. My night ended with Kelsay braiding my hair and Duncan trying to flip me out of my hammock. Another wonderful day in the Caribbean.

Devi Out. (Ian taught me that)