Knowing we'd be in Dominica for a while (definitely not a bad thing) we have certainly been enjoying much of what it has to offer, also knowing that there is so much more for us to do on a return visit. I have a long list of places to see next time round. With our guided tours early on in our stay, we discussed renting a car for a day but decided to keep our expenses a little curtailed and used the local bus instead.
Destination: Roseau, capital of Dominica, at the southern end of the island.
We picked up a bus in Portsmouth to make the 31km trip down to Roseau. Boarding the bus in Portsmouth is a bit as I would imagine it is like with the guys on the Tokyo subway system who are responsible for pushing people into the subway cars - maximum bodies inside, no arms or legs outside. The hustle begins as you make your way to the intersection where the buses hang out with many exhortations to take this bus or that. The trick is to find one that will be leaving shortly (its super hot to sit and wait too long inside the van), but hopefully one where you can sit on a real seat and not the little fold-down seat at the side. This also means that you won't have to get up every time the bus makes a stop. The layout is typically four rows with two main seats and a fold-down seat on each row, plus a passenger in the front seat, making a total count of 13. Add multiple children sitting on laps and sharing seats and there are often 15-18 people plus the driver in the little Toyota and Nissan van. Now mix in the heat, the raucious music, and the 'lively' conversations and you've got the full picture.
|Waiting for the bus to fill up - this one took about five minutes.|
|Uh-oh - haven't even made it to the street yet and there's a traffic jam!|
We wandered around the waterfront a bit and got our bearings, checked out the anchorage and then went in hunt of lunch.
|We have been, most definitely!|
|Looking south towards the anchorage where we'll pick up a mooring later in the week.|
|Old and new sit close together on the busy streets.|
|Time for lunch with a street-view.|
|We hiked up "Jack's Trail" above the Botanical Gardens for a bird's eye view of Roseau. At the top were a number of canon and this cross, that actually made me think of the prow of a ship when I saw it later from sea.|
|Alas no cricket today, but the stadium takes centre-stage in the town layout.|
|Roseau, laid out looking west across the Caribbean.|
|Sorry - Flamboyant Trees are still in flower and when they mix yellow and orange I can't resist.|
|A restful stop at the top of the hill.|
|Back down in the gardens where this Banyan tree was blown down on a school bus in a hurricane in 1979. Thankfully no one was hurt here.|
|This Banyan is still standing in the middle of the gardens.|
|Grab a fresh mango for the ride home - careful, they're ultra juicy, better just take it back to the boat.|
|Open highway ... for the moment.|
|Must be getting close to dinnertime, the fried and grilled chicken is ready to go!|
Even with the high winds, the boat-boys (definitely grown men) still come out to the boat to peddle their selection of fresh fruit and to pick up your garbage. Along with the river guides in the bigger boats there are a smattering of guys on banged up kayaks and paddle boards, often with just one short paddle. I wasn't sure how they didn't get blown out of the anchorage on the weekend.
|Picking up the trash from our neighbour.|
Back in Portsmouth, we heard of a short hike just out of town that would lead us to a hot spring that you are pretty much guaranteed to have to yourself, not being on any of the advertised trails.
The instructions we had were to walk past the Chinese Restaurant, but not past the Jehovah's Witnesses, turn down the gravel road to the bridge, turn up the path, cross the stream and a few trees along the way and you would arrive at a hot-tub-sized pool of just the perfect temperature.
|Sure enough, over the stream.|
|Across the log.|
|Past the really crazy, awesome Bloodroots.|
|And there's our pool!|
|Ahhhhh - believe it or not, a hot-tub is actually quite refreshing in the heat. This one was probably about 105 degrees F.|
Our first step is to head down to Roseau again, but this time with Mowzer, all ready to make the passage to Martinique tomorrow.
Back to a French island we go ... bread and cheese anyone??!