Dominica looked stunning from the sea, with steep mountains from end to end all covered in lush green rainforest, so I broke my already fractured voyage to Martinique once more and took a mooring near Dominica’s capital, Roseau. I’m glad I did.
Yesterday I walked to town to check-in with customs and immigration. On the way I was greeted often by passing locals. “Good morning” said a smartly dressed businesswoman, “yer man” rasped a wizened old Rasta, “hello!” chorused a bunch of grinning school kids. Staff in shops and bars were helpful and the customs official chatted away amicably as we completed the paperwork. He hoped I would enjoy my stay on his island, he said, and I believe he did, too.
Today, despite torrential rain, I explored some of the island’s interior. With a guide I went to the Titou Gorge where a river flows through a winding gulley between vertical rock walls. At the behest of my guide I plunged in and swam as far as I could upstream between the rock walls, the passage so narrow that in places breast stoke was difficult. A little further along even swimming my fastest crawl for as long as I could I made absolutely no progress against the rushing water. I gave up, exhausted and cold, and floated back down along the gorge, borne along by the current, looking up at the dripping walls, overhanging greenery and the thin strip of sky high above.
As the rain cleared we drove on through the stunning scenery, up hill and down, the road winding its way through the precipitous rainforest that I’d seen from the sea. It’s gorgeous, quite simply stunning.
At Trafalgar Falls two separate rivers plunge over a cliff right next to each other before merging below. My guide wondered whether the morning’s torrential rain made climbing up through the river to the falls too hazardous, but decided to give it a go, just to see how far we’d get. After a short distance he stripped down to his shorts, hid his rucksack behind a rock and bade me to do the same. We clambered up the rocks with the cold, fresh water rushing over us, sometimes resorting to swimming short sections. Then, oddly I thought, my guide walked across an area of mineral-stained rock and sat down, grinning, under a section of the waterfall. Having vacated the spot he bade me do the same. Er, well, okay, I thought. What a shock! The water was hot! Not just warm, but hot like your shower at home. But, unlike a shower, the water came not in jets but in solid torrents and, to cap it all, the view was simply stunning. I sat there, hot water crashing down on my back, and gawped at the rainforest covered valley and mountains arrayed before me under a now blue sky.
I’m back aboard Moonrise again now, with rain drumming on the cabin roof. I hope it clears by morning when I’ll once again set sail for Martinique. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get there this time.