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Central America Caribbean » Dominica
November 3rd 2007
Published: November 5th 2007
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We arrived in Dominica, the first of the Leeward Islands after a rather rough crossing from Martinique, which resulted in me spending a fair proportion of the trip lying down in one corner of the cockpit concentrating on not feeling seasick. If you have never felt seasick before, it is like being on a roller coaster where with every pitch of the boat your tummy churns around making you feel very queasy. The upside was that I got to work on my tan whilst feeling bad!

Dominica is a very rugged and mountainous island, with high rainfall pretty much throughout the year. As a result the scenery is very lush, with the hillsides covered in thick jungle-like vegetation. It has been a non-stop few days: yesterday we did a circuit of the island, taking part in an oceanography practical in the morning, sampling the salinity of an estuary, to see how it changed from salt water at the seaward end to freshwater higher up the river. If you have seen Pirates of the Caribbean 2, the estuary is the one they row up at the end of the film, so it was all a bit creepy! Then after a lunch of fresh coconut and bread rolls, we embarked on a whistle stop tour of the fruit grown in the area, sampling fresh cocoa, dried cocoa (chocolate), passion fruit, grapefruit, wild almonds, bread fruit (like sugared boiled potatoes), orange and brown coconuts, oranges, tangerines, pineapple, guava (like a cross between an apple and a nectarine but with pips) and so on. We returned to Ocean Star literally laden down with fruit and have been enjoying it in enormous quantities ever since.

Today we hiked up to the boiling lake, an adventure that took most of the day and I am sure will cause some aching limbs tomorrow. The mountains of Dominica are volcanic and certain areas remain active. As a result there is a hike up through a World Heritage area called the Three Pitons where you pass by sulphur springs and end up at a lake that literally is boiling away in one big swirling mass with steam rising up and sweeping over the whole area. The hike in and out was extremely muddy but we got a chance to clean off by swimming in the warm pools that were fed by the boiling lake, and later at the bottom jumping in a very cold, fresh mountain spring set deep in a narrow dark canyon. Today has definitely been the highlight of my trip so far!

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Note that spaghetti is the name of the guide not the boat!

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