We picked up the anchor to make our way back across to Dominica.
Once we were nearing Portsmouth we radioed Alexis for assistance. Originally we were going to anchor to save some cash but, after motoring around a bit we made the decision to take the mooring ball Alexis was offering.
Once we were tied up Alexis gave us his word that he would be back to discuss the different tour options. Before he left he gave us instructions on where to check in (unfortunately, the dock was way down and the dinghy motor was acting up) so Shaun and Bob ended up having to walk the 6 KM's. Alexis did come back and we negotiated a fair price to tour Syndicat Falls, one of the many falls for the following morning.
We all got up, ate breakfast and packed our day packs. Alexis picked us up by boat and delivered us into the capable hands of our tour guide. We were lucky, as he is actually a park ranger through the week and knew so much about the island.
We all hopped into the van and off we went for our adventure. We headed along the main road before turning off inland. As soon as we turned off the main road we were enveloped into the greenery and jungle. Dominica is a very lush island which translates to a lot of rain. The weather switched from rain to sun every few minutes. Luckily, the rain is warm. As we drove along the narrow roads further inland our guide explained about the island. We came upon "farms" of fruit and root vegetables, and fruit trees that seemed to be growing right out of the jungle. Every space of land that can grow food is used amongst the jungle itself, it's incredible.
Along the way our guide explained that one of Dominica's exports in the past used to be bananas. They are now grown cheaper in St. Lucia. Dominica's bananas have also been troubled with a virus that makes the trees sick. The main source of income today is tourism.
As we drove along he explained the different herbs and plants that the locals use in teas, cooking and for health. Whenever possible he would have the driver pull over, jump out of the van and disappear into the greenery and return with a plant or leaf explaining what they use it for. At one point we were driving along and he heard a parrot call. We pulled over to see if we could spot the green parrot. Luckily, Gavin spotted the bird camouflaged in the tree.
We drove inland further and arrived at a national park. We hadn't paid the park fee so we used the facilities and then hopped back into the van to head to our final destination, the waterfall walk. The trail crossed on to a local persons property so we paid a nominal fee and headed along the beautiful walk.
On the property there was a treehouse in a cinnamon tree. The kids loved it. Paige was stoked that she was able to catch her large lizard to date. Along our walk we had to cross the river 4 times. One of the crossings we had the chance to swing on a vine like Tarzan. It was really fun.
When we arrived back to the entrance, the property owner had cut up sugar cane ready for us to sample. I have a new addiction, it was so delicious. The trick is to chew or suck the cane and only swallow the juice. We were also able to see what a fresh cocoa pod looks and tastes like. This is unique, the cocoa bean itself is extremely bitter but the outside slimy bit has a fruity flavour with an odd texture.
On our drive back to the boat we were able to see fresh banana trees and where pineapples grow.
http://dominicapays.wixsite.com/pays. PAYS offers up many different tours and we have heard good things about them all. Using a tour guide gives the advantage of locals giving some history and information about the varied flora and fauna. The other option several families have done was to rent a car and tour the island that way. Had we stayed longer we would have rented a car as well and created our own tour.
We raised our anchor as we needed to start heading south back to St. Lucia to drop our guests off. Before our final destination, we wanted to show them Sainte Anne, Martinique. This is one of our favourite anchorages with its quaint town and lovely baguettes. WE were treated to a lovely meal at Paille Cocoa the evening before our departure.
On the crossing from Martinique to St. Lucia, Bob and Gavin were determined to catch a fish and tick off their last box on the Caribbean wish list. To their delight they caught a beautiful Mahi Mahi. Sadly, when Bob started to butcher it, it was riddled with worms. Overboard it went for fish food. We had a lovely sail back with fairly light winds.
We arrived into Marigot Bay looking forward to going for happy hour at all three bars. We ended our visit with our good friends, good food and good drinks. It was the end to an excellent visit.
|sunset in Marigot Bay|