Location: Roseau, Dominica
Today we woke up and enjoyed a lovely meal prepared by our chef team, Dasha and Will. Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon was just what the crew needed to fuel them through the upcoming hike. We met our guides Pancho and his son Samual after our curvy cab ride… then we began the ascent. We climbed over rapids, through lush forests, and into the rain until we reached a resting point on top of a mountain. We stopped again at the Valley of Desolation, where Pancho treated us to eggs and bread. He boiled the eggs in the sulfuric waters flowing through the valley, and though it caused the eggshells to turn black, the eggs were still delicious. In the valley, some of the crew also applied volcanic face masks after Pancho found us some of the mud we could spread across our faces. A little while later, we stopped at a natural hot spring where some of the crew got in to enjoy the hot freshwater in the middle of the jungle. One member tried building a dam, others sat in the warm water while enjoying hearing the cascading waterfall, and a few climbed up the waterfall and explored further into the hot springs. We had to keep moving if we wanted to get to the boiling lake to eat lunch so. Unfortunately, we had to put on our wet clothes (soaked from the rain) and start hiking. There were times where the intrepid crew had to use the rope to conquer steep rocky areas along the trail, but eventually, we reached the boiling lake (at approximately 12:30), where we saw a beautiful landscape of the only boiling lake in the world while eating a few slices of homemade banana bread. After a short respite, we turned around and started on our way back. We arrived back to the beginning of the hike and were able to swim in the cool fresh water stream, and you could choose to swim against the current up to the hidden waterfall. If you have seen Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest, there is a scene where Orlando Bloom and the rest of the crew of the Black Pearl are trying to escape from natives who are firing arrows and throwing spears into a watery chasm. This was where we swam! The hike, without stops, took 5 hours and 43 minutes, which, according to Pancho, was pretty fast considering the rain that we were caught in during the journey. In the late afternoon, we arrived back at the boat, and the chefs quickly jumped into the galley to start dinner, during which the rest of the crew took a well-deserved shower. Dinner was scrumptious; we had moussaka and cold water. After a long clean up (the best meals always have a ton of dishes), we had seamanship class, during which Carolyn taught us how to use a bretton plotter to determine our course from one point to another using compass north to find deviation. After what turned out to be a long but rewarding day, we were all ready to get some shut-eye.
Going to sleep now,