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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: 15.3, -61.39
DH (where the 'D' stands for Delectable Depp) has had an enormous crush on Johnny Depp ever since the opening scenes of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Somewhat surprisingly it's the feminine, prancing pirate character, Captain Jack Sparrow, that really seems to make her weak in the knees. When she found out that we were heading to Dominica, the Caribbean island on which most of the Pirates movies were filmed, she suggested that I start wearing an eye-patch and buy a parrot. In reality Dominica was home to many pirates and their legendary treasure.
Outside of being DHs favourite film location, this little bit of paradise has always been something of an afterthought; Christopher Columbus didn't even put much effort into the naming of the island- apparently he first saw it on a Sunday (dominica is Sunday in Latin) and kept on sailing. Today it's largely ignored by the sun worshipers who flood other parts of the Caribbean- there's only a handful of beaches and the interior is mountainous and rough. The plus side for visitors is that you get a sense of what Caribbean life was like before the invasion of winter escapees. We elected to just
wander, although I kept banging into things because of that stupid eye-patch, and DH was constantly asking if I knew where we were just to hear me say "arr matey" (the things we do to keep the Princess amused).
Outside of the pirates (real & Hollywood), my favourite Dominica story was a 1981 takeover attempt by mercenaries with a distinct Canadian twist. Wolfgang Droege of Toronto (notorious Heritage Front loon) and others attempted to overthrow the government of the day. The self-titled mercenaries were not particularly competent and 'Operation Red Dog', which was a misguided attempt to turn Dominica into a criminal paradise, failed miserably. After this Canadian led fiasco, hopefully by proudly representing Canadian Royalty and walking the streets of Roseau, DH has helped build some bridges.
Given an economy that is over-reliant on agriculture (bananas in particular) in the middle of hurricane alley, the recent governments are trying to promote Dominica as an eco tourism destination. Hopefully they see success but it was nice to visit a Caribbean island without the usual barrage of "I'm With Stupid" T-shirts and palm tree shaped fridge magnets.
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