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Published: July 13th 2011
Last I wrote was a while ago – we were in Bequia – I can’t remember when that was date-wise. I guess I’ve lost that sense of time on the ship now; people speak of time in regards to geographic places, like: “Remember the last time we ran naked with burning palm fronds?” – “When was that?” – “Mangareva.”
So where have we been since Bequia . . . hm. Having left the Caribbean a couple days ago and the tropics yesterday (twas a sad day) the islands seem a blurr. After Bequia . . . oh! Dominica! We had a short stop in Dominica which requires MUCH more time to explore beyond the evening and day off I had during our stop there. Dominica is HUGE and LUSH – known for its ecotourism. We luckily missed the hustle and bustle of the cruise season by a few weeks. This island promises fantastic hiking, hot springs and the epic “Boiling Lake” where our Ollie received 2nd degree burns when the water splashed up on his leg. Dominica is memorable in my mind because it is the first time I ever scuba dove-dived-daved-I still don’t know the correct word (have I mentioned that my English is suffering as a result of living on an international ship?). Wendy and I went on the morning of our day off for a discovery dive off the beach not far from the ship. And after learning the basics of breathing under water, equilizing the ear pressure, clearing your mask and recovering the mouthpiece-thingy-dingy we went in the water and what can I say? It was cool. We saw all kinds of tropical fish as well as super finicky coral that usually hide if you go by snorkeling but the scuba gear affords one the opportunity to stick and float around until the skittish creatures come out again.
Another memorable moment on Dominica was tasting their famous rum at the Rum Ruins Café – which opened just for us having created quite a relationship with the ship when she was here for a few months a few years ago to shoot a reality TV show (which I hear was awful). They have well over 50 flavors of rum – and I have to admit, I’m not a rum connoisseur – but this journey, among other things, has made me one. So, the first night I had a Passion fruit rum and a tamarind-ginger one (I especially liked that one) – and found myself doing an interpretive dance number a la Jana Hicks with another ship mate in a fit of inspiration. How I miss my dance classes in New York – Jana, I can’t wait to get my butt back in them.
A final memorable moment in Dominica (besides stopping for drinks at Fort Young Hotel – excellent conversation worth the double-priced beer we had for the cushioned chair and super cool surroundings) was the hike Wendy and Alli and I took on the southern end of the island. Aside from passing several hermit crabs on our hike up up up a jungly trail and practically tripping over ripe mangos and coconuts, we finally came to a level bit of land and a clearing that opened up like a scene out of a fairy tale. There was a lush green, rolling-hill pasture with dough-eyed cows grazing and mooing, pigs, chickens and a barking dog. How odd – we had to walk thru it to continue on our “trail”. The end of our hike took us to a naturally occurring hot spring – more like luke warm sulfar bath water which meant we spent more time than intended soaking in it, taking in the beauty of the late afternoon sun casting its long shadows thru the lush green canopy created by the trees.
Dominica, as the captain promised, is unadulterated in its culture, architecture and people. However, they have managed to tap in to the “ecotourism” in a way that preserves the local land and friendliness of the local people.
On from Dominica, we had a 3 or 4 day sail north to the British Virgin Islands, namely Jost Van Dyke, meant to be our last hoorah before heading home. We also timed our visit with the wooden boat regatta there. However, we were warned that the regatta can sometimes be trumped by the partying for this island is particularly known for its parties – there is little else to do there. Jost Van Dyke was also where we were going to see lots of old faces: old friends from earlier in the voyage, from previous voyages, new friends to the ship, ship crew of the Romance along with the captain that our captain first sailed under on the Romance, and of course Frank who was coming in on Joana with former ship mates of his from the 3rd world voyage. Jost did not disappoint in its parties, celebrations and day sails.
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