This could be the last blog from Dominica but we have so many fabulous memories and a great time was had by all... photos - click on the first one to see an enlargement in a new window then use >> to scroll through them all
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The boys were content to spend their whole holiday in the sea, even on rainy days. Lots of fun to be had at Purple Turtle, Picard, Red Rock, Mero and of course Toucarie. Tom was thrilled at the fish and coral in Toucarie - which are just amazing. We rented a sailing dinghy in Picard - Andy took out Jo and Tom, then Kate took Steve and Ollie - The sailing was calm and fun but unfortunately Ollie got a rather nasty jelly fish sting which pained him for an hour.
We had lots of adventures during the 28 days. Everyone loved hiking to the waterfalls at Spanny and twice to La Chaudiere pool (the cooking pot). Hours spent splashing in the cool mountain water - fantastic. Steve and his comedy dives are never to be forgotten!
Tom with one of the murals outside the school
And Ollie pushing Tom into the pool when he hesitated in his leap from the rocks. Tom never looked back from that.
The boys wanted to see the cannons at Cabrits national park. We scrambled along the paths to the Douglas Bay battery where all the old cannons lie where they were abandoned 150 years ago. Everyone loved the ancient trees wrapped around the old walls. We saw quite a few snakes in the dry bush - all harmless but fascinating to watch.
We all clambered onto our horses to ride through the rain forest on a beautiful trail past fruit trees and the Indian river. One hour later we were on the top of the mountain looking back down to Prince Rupert Bay. A lovely experience.
Canyoning was a huge hit with all, abseiling, jumping, swimming and sliding though the magnificent gorges surrounded by lush forest. This is some of the most magnificent scenery on the island and canyoning was the only way to see it.
The visit to Screws hot pools was a great memory. Bobbing and swimming in sulphur pools from cool to hot - so relaxing and beautiful.
The whale watching
Ollie with one of the murals outside the school
was a memorable adventure. For 4 hours we zig-zagged around the sea following whale sounds from the hydro-phone. The problem was the wind and waves. Only when a wave the size of a swimming pool engulfed everyone on deck, did we realise things were a bit rough. Then, on the way back to base, a huge group/pod/school/gang of Pilot whales crossed our path. Steve and some others even saw them breaching. It made it all worthwhile.
Indian River was another wet event. A lovely gentle drift up the river with David guiding us in his little row boat and then came some Dominican liquid sunshine. David grabbed some palm leaves and issued them out as umbrellas but we were all wet anyway. After a "dynamite" cocktail at the jungle bar, everyone was warm again. David wove some lovely birds, fish and a grasshopper from pieces of palm leaf before we set off back. As Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here, some pirate impersonations were inevitable - thanks Tom and Ollie.
We went everywhere in our 2 cars - the little Jimny rental and our Escudo. One boy in the back of each car (in turns),
On a cannon at the Douglas Bay battery
with Oliver propped up on his temporary booster seat. Tom was usually chatting or playing DS or listening to his i-pod. Oliver was usually organising us to sing made up songs which he judged - “I’m Simon Cowell”!
Lots of chilling on the deck at Mango Lodge while the boys ran around the garden. Reading books watching films and playing games - including many sessions of Fireman Sam. The swings that Andy put up were popular, as was the hammock. Son came over to help the boys plant an Avocado tree each and later on a tangerine tree each (which Son gave them from his garden). Now we just have to watch them grow.
Even with mosi nets, smoking coils and lots of spray, the mosquitoes seemed to love chomping at Tom and Steve and Jo. Oliver managed to somehow avoid it, or he’s immune. Poor Tom one day he counted 74 bites on his legs!! Hard not to scratch!
Cocktails at happy hour at Du Champ in Portsmouth was such fun - especially after 3 or 4 cocktails!!
We seem to have rather a lot of drunken photos from here. On
Kate, Tom and Ollie in the roots of a ficus tree
the way Steve got a bit panicky once when we stopped to see the fishermen’s catch - after all vital happy hour time was ticking away!!
Just as the holiday was coming to an end the Volcanic Ash from Iceland put a halt to going home. After days of uncertainty everything was rearranged and departure was rescheduled for a week later. Tesco online food delivery was cancelled, Steve’s, clients rescheduled, school notified and we all relaxed for another week. We of course loved having them all for an extra week.
It is always great to have family around for your birthday. Add to that a huge chocolate cake, cards, pressies, birthday singing and even a bottle of champagne. A lovely day.
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