Location: Portsmouth, Dominica

Day 66 started a lot different than any other day on Ocean Star so far this trip. I had to wake up at 4:40 am to prepare to wake the rest of the crew up for our boiling lake hike. As seen in photo 3, we had breakfast at 5 and then shuttles to the beach started at 5:30. As you can assume, much of the crew was displeased with this, but after a couple of minutes, everyone was up and at ’em. As soon as breakfast of cereal and granola was finished, we were all shuttles to the beach to wait for our busses to take us to the hike. Most of us slept as much as we could on the hour and a half ride, which for me was a big help. In photo 7, you can see the details of the hike, and oh boy, did we not know what we were getting into. This hike in total was the most beautiful scenery I have ever experienced by far, and I would do it every month if I could. (If you knew the lengths of it, you would probably say once a year). The hike started out in a very jungle-packed area which was quite humid and very overgrown, which I thought was a result of covid and making people not hike there as much. I decided to play music as I was hiking, which made everything and everyone around me better because there was lots of dancing and singing along. We had a couple of stops along the way to try and let some of the stragglers catch up, but this failed because they were too slow, and we grew impatient quickly. After around an hour and a half, we got out of the jungle area. We were now high up in the mountains where there was a strong breeze which felt very, very good as we descended along the other side of the mountain towards the boiling lake, the ground much more wet and slippery, which some of us found out on our own (especially Addisen and me). This hike down the mountain was very straining, more than anything I had ever experienced, but that made it all the better. Once arriving at the valley of desolation, we were greeted by freshly boiled eggs, which our tour guide named Poncho had boiled in the hot water coming from the ground. He also had codfish and bread as another snack which was very delicious and liked by all. After the stragglers had caught up to the valley, we continued on to the boiling lake, which was only around half an hour away to our excitement. As the smell of sulfur grew strong and stronger, we knew we were close, and finally, after hours of walking, we had arrived. At the boiling lake, we had lunch, and a couple of us carved our names into rocks nearby to cement our experience in the land. We also were introduced to a man named Peter who had been living on the island for 20 years, and he told us some funny stories and was very entertaining. Once it was time to leave, the different hiking groups formed again, and Henry and Liam were my hiking squad for the entire rest of the hike. We had some intriguing conversations about a range of different topics, which made the hike down go by much faster than the hike up. As we were nearing the end of the path, all of us were feeling sore, and Liam and I were in desperate need of water which we had run out of halfway down the mountain. Thankfully, there was a little building at the start with a place to refill our bottles and wait for the rest of the crew to arrive. He, who shall not be named (Brahm) told us about a really cool gorge that was located right at the entrance of the hike, and we happily dropped into it from around 15 feet in the air and swam around in the cool water while the rest of the crew slowly turned up. After everyone was back, we all got into the busses to return to Ocean Star after the long day that we had just endured. On the way back, we were treated with a trip to a gas station where we could get some ice cream and other snacks, and I got myself an IcePop and an ice-cold Ting which was pure gold after the long hike. Back on Ocean Star, Steve had made us some lasagna, and it was very good. The whole crew is turning in early tonight as we have all been up since before the crack of dawn. With only two weeks left in the trip, I am sad that it is ending so quickly but honored about the experiences we have all had and the friendships I have made along the way. This is Grady Andrews signing off for the last time as the blog writer. It has been a pleasure teaching you all about our adventures throughout the trip, and I will miss this job especially. (Also, a huge thanks to Addisen for always hanging out with me to write the blog, I couldn’t have done it without her.)

See you soon, Mom and Dad. Your favorite son will be home in no time :).

Photo 1: Group photo at the boiling lake
Photo 2: Johnny looking very tired at 4:45 am
Photo 3: Sleepy whale and today’s itinerary
Photo 4: Meg and Liam joining Johnny on the salon couch waiting for breakfast
Photo 5: Half the crew on the beach waiting for our busses to arrive
Photo 6: Henry serenading us in the morning (this is for his brother)
Photo 7: The details of the boiling lake hike
Photo 8: Addisen, Liam, and Katie hiking
Photo 9: A view from the top of a ridge
Photo 10: Some of the boys
Photo 11: Everyone but the stragglers
Photo 12: Pretty looking mountain
Photo 13: Henry with a cameo from Addisen
Photo 14: Poncho boiling some eggs in the hot sulfur spring
Photo 15: The codfish Poncho brought
Photo 16: Erin, Addisen, and Keaton in the valley of desolation
Photo 17: Katie, Addisen, and I on the way to the boiling lake
Photo 18: #nature
Photo 19: More hiking
Photo 20: #morenature
Photo 21: Addisen and Meg taking in the sun
Photo 22: He who shall not be named
Photo 23: He who shall not be named hiding in the steam
Photo 24: Johnny conjuring the ghosts of desolation valley
Photo 25: Some cool black water
Photo 26: Noah admiring the boiling lake
Photo 27: Henry and I admiring the lake as well
Photo 28: Desolation Valley
Photo 29: Henry playing his flute on the top of the mountain
Photo 30: Addisen majestically jumping from rock to rock
Photo 31: More cool black water
Photo 32: Liam pretending to be a t-rex
Photo 33: Liam posing on a rock
Photo 34: Meg and Katie in the gorge
Photo 35: Addisen and Meg in the gorge
Photo 36: Henry making his way to us at the waterfall
Photo 37: The gorge people
Photo 38: My snack at the end of the day
Photo 39: Tonight’s beautiful sunset