Friday, March 24, 2017

Dominica, The Nature Island

Dominica (pronounced Doh min eek a,  not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) bills itself as The Nature Island and as such is building a reputation for eco-tourism and adventure tourism, going beyond just the sun and the beaches. There are many hikes to go on, waterfalls to see,  volcanos to climb and reefs to dive. Along with this is the push to hire a guide for everything, even the simplest of hikes and they do not allow you to dive without a certified Dominican guide.
That being said, we rented a car for the day and took off to do some exploring on our own, ignoring the advice/pressure to hire a guide. The following pictures are from the first half of our day discovering Dominica.

We began our tour by heading to the Emerald Pool. We chose to do this first in an attempt to beat the cruise ship crowds. As we drove past the port the cruise ship was approaching the dock and there were row upon row of buses, taxis and vans waiting to carry the passengers to all the "hot spots" on the island.

We felt we made the right decision as we had the Emerald Pool all to ourselves. This parking lot would later fill with buses and vans as the crowds flocked to the pool.

The hike to the Emerald Pool was through a lush forest reminding us of a tropical version of Oregon. Bob and I used to love going on waterfall hikes there and are sometimes skeptical that touted waterfalls will meet our standards.  This hike was beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed it, largely because we were the only ones there.

The pool really is emerald, and had the weather been warmer we would have jumped in.

We enjoyed climbing behind the waterfall.  I love the roots of the tree on the left and all the vines hanging down.

The same leaf, two different sides.

This highway (and these solar street lights) were a gift from China to Dominica in exchange for Dominica severing trade ties with Taiwan.

Still more on our day trip to follow...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Which way do I look?

The British drive on the left, the French drive on the right. Traveling in the British countries we think to ourselves- "drive left, look right", referring to checking for traffic when crossing the street. Adding to the confusion, in the BVI the steering wheels are on the left, even though they are driving on the left. In the other Caribbean countries that drive on the left the steering wheel is on the right, unless they are on the left, but then they are usually labeled "left hand drive".

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Vive la difference!

As we go speeding through various countries we are struck by the differences between the French and the English islands. We are passing through so quickly we are not getting a chance for an in depth analysis of the differences but a few things are currently sticking out for me.

Weighing in on the British side we have the BVI, Antigua and St. Kitts.  Representing the French we have St. Barts, Guadeloupe and Martinique. BVI is a British protectorate and while Antigua and St. Kitts are independent countries Queen Elizabeth is still their queen. St. Barts, Guadeloupe and Martinique are overseas departments of France.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Feeling kinda blue

This post is dedicated to the color blue.
The island is one of The Saints. Part of Guadeloupe. The main island of Guadeloupe is in the background.
I love all the different shades of blue in the water here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Tense Night

As much as we are learning about waves and wind and swells, and as much as we try to avoid rolly anchorages,  sometimes they are inevitable. The Caribbean is known for its trade winds, winds that consistently blow from the east to the west. Towns and cities have grown up on the western sides to take advantage of the protection that the islands provide. Everyone knows the wind blows from east to west, until it doesn't.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Birds and the Trees

Another post in pictures. These are from the Botanical Gardens in Deshais,  Guadeloupe.

Seeing all the birds there was definitely a highlight.
Many of them allowed us to get very close.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then this is certainly my wordiest blog post yet. And with a slow and inconsistent internet connection, one of the most time consuming! These pictures are all from English Harbor, Antigua 
 (pronounced An Tee Ga not An Tee  Gwa).  We started off with a visit to Nelson's Dockyard National Park and Museum,  then hiked around the peninsula. 
Pillars from the old Sail Loft in Nelson's Dockyard