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Location: Dominica

The morning started for me at about 6:30 when I woke up and realized that I’d actually slept for an entire night without being woken up for watch. After drinking my tea, reading, and enjoying the serenity of the quiet boat, we had some breakfast, which was yogurt, granola, English muffins, bacon, and sooo much fruit (which was quite yummy). Then we got ready for the day’s excursion on the island.

First off, while waiting for the vans on the beach, Eulalie made friends with a beach bar/restaurant cat, dubbed Hedraufka. Then we loaded up and set off for our first stop, Middleham falls trail. The car ride passed in relative silence (at least in my van), with everyone enjoying the scenery or working on various projects (homework, texting, etc.). Along the way, our guide informed us that what we had anticipated being a gentle walk would, in fact, be a two-hour hike.

The hike ended up being not quite so long but included lots of roots, stairs, and steep slopes. That said, it was overwhelmingly beautiful. The greenery of the jungle formed a tunnel over our heads, and we walked listening to the forest (well, that and our singing game…). We emerged at a viewpoint where the trail came out overlooking a massive basin into which fell a 275ft waterfall. A perpetual rainbow arced across the pool at its base. Setting down our things and putting on bathing suits, we continued to the waterfall to swim. The pool was refreshingly cool and deep enough to jump into from a ledge in the cliff wall.

Lunch was delicious (thanks Tate, Eamon, and Hedrek!), then we started back out for the vans. After our hike, we relaxed for a moment and drank homemade fruit juice from fresh fruits – grapefruit-passionfruit – with actual ice! Then, we kept going, on to Titou Gorge.

The Gorge was my favorite part of the excursion. We got to jump off the wall of the gorge into the narrow canyon full of clear blue water (it reminded me of Havasu Canyon, Caribbean edition). Donning lifejackets, we swam up the canyon one by one, surrounded by sheer walls of rock that faded into a soft, mossy, green surface higher up. Jungle branches and leaves overhung the gorge turning the sunlight emerald green. We first reached a hollowed-out room, which is apparently the site of the Pirates of the Caribbean scene where Captain Jack’s crew hide out from the bow-and-arrow-toting cannibals after falling from their bone hamster ball in the Dead Man’s Chest. Then we continued swimming upstream (in an eddy) until we reached the place where the river moves more quickly after falling into a small cavern. From there, we walked up the grippy rock river bed into the waterfall room, where we jumped through the pounding water (or, in Sam and Maxime’s case, were shoved under the pounding water by the guide). We returned to warm up in the sun before changing and heading back down into town for some snacks.

The last stop on our excursion was the grocery store, where most of us bought ridiculous amounts of delicious snacks. On the drive home, we saw rainbows and views from the van.

On the dinghy ride back to Ocean Star, we enjoyed the sunset, then got ready for dinner, which was Gallo pinto. For squeeze, we said our appreciation, then described a stand-out moment in our day. Finally, we discussed our roles for the upcoming student-led passage from Dominica to Antigua. Stefi will be our skipper, I will be navigator, Lucy will be Engineer with Maxime assisting, and Alexis will be chief mate.

So, in the end, our day didn’t go quite how we’d originally planned (RiP Boiling Lake hike) but was amazingly cool and super fun anyway. Good night 🙂

Photos:
1: Logan hydrating
2: Tate getting ready to jump in at Middleham Falls.
3: Us hanging out at Middleham.
4: Stefi
5: Rainbow!
6: The falls

Sorry there aren’t more photos – everywhere else was mostly either slippery trail or wet, so phones were hidden away.