Dominica is one of the youngest islands in the Caribbean. Famous for its rugged terrain, volcanic activity, untouched tropical rainforest (over 364 rivers and 200 waterfalls), and pristine coral reef all squeezed into a 15 mile by 29 mile long island, Dominica touts itself as one of the premier eco-tourism destinations in the world. We signed up for a day tour with “Bumping Tours” to see Titou Gorge, Trafalgar Falls, and Champagne Reef, and had a great time.

View of Roseau, capital of Dominica. The town's name comes from the river reeds ("roseaux" in French) that grow around the estuary Downtown Roseau is a delight. The French influence can still be seen today in the city's architecture and crooked streets which extend from the Old Market Plaza Leather sandals for sale; Roseau Multi-colored building; Roseau A sleepy dog soaks up the sun's heat; downtown Roseau Dominica is one of the world's premier "eco-tourism" destinations and there were tons of similar vehicles waiting in Roseau to pick up their cruise-ship clientele View of Dominica's interior Drivers in Dominica have no fear...this road was undergoing repair work, so only one lane was open at times. Despite the construction work, cars flew by! Kubuli beer before 10 am...lets say we all got an early start Posing on our short hike to Titou Gorge "Little Throat" Gorge Robby in the middle of Titou Gorge (where a portion of the film "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" was filmed) The expression "Titou Gorge" is a Creole (Patois) expression, literally meaning "small throat hole" is a shot looking up above us Robby strikes a pose inside Titou Gorge After having jumped from the top of the cliff into Titou gorge, Robby emerges injury free Water flows through it (an old but effective means of distributing water throughout the island of Dominica) Trafalgar Falls was next on our is an easy footpath leading to the falls The pretty Trafalgar Falls (this is "mother" falls, the shorter of the two waterfalls) "Father" waterfall at Trafalgar View of both Father and Mother falls; Trafalgar Falls Natural hot springs A giant fern tree; Trafalgar Falls Robby jumping into the natural pool; Trafalgar Falls Robby getting a free massage; Trafalgar Falls Robby is a spider monkey on Becky's back; Trafalgar Falls Soaking in the scalding hot springs at the base of Trafalgar Falls Hopping from pool to pool; Trafalgar Falls Fresh coconut for sale; Trafalgar Falls parking lot Champagne Reef. Snorkeling on Dominica can be interesting, especially if you snorkel near the bubbling volcanic activity of Soufriere From the beach side it doesn't look too spectacular. However, while underwater, undersea volcanic gasses seep through the ocean floor at Champagne Reef (western shore of Dominica) Becky trying to catch the bubbles; Champagne Reef A school of fish dart by; Champagne Reef School bus crushed by an African Baobab tree (thankfully no one was inside it when it happened) Signpost telling the history of the Baobab tree that crushed the bus (Roseau Botanical Gardens). It happened in 1979 when Hurricane David wrecked his destruction View of Dominica (as seen from the top deck of our cruise ship) View of Roseau's meandering streets Mountain range behind Roseau Cathedral Colorful umbrellas showcasing a variety of souvenirs for sale; downtown Roseau French and English influence is readily seen in Roseau's architecture St George Anglican Church on Victoria Street is a good example of the Georgian style of architecture in Roseau Main entrance view of Roseau Cathedral Downtown Roseau Colorful hotel; downtown Roseau Roseau's streets have an interesting blend of architecture, with strong French and English influences Pretty restaurant; Roseau Simple shack; Roseau A lady in pink stands out against the neon green clapboard house; downtown Roseau Street scene in Roseau Pickup fruit and vegetable stand; Roseau This old Roseau clock has two faces, neither of which keeps the correct time Colorful Roseau bar Bizarre shaped bench; Roseau The Dominica Museum faces the bayfront, and is housed in an old market house dating from 1810 Our cruise ship dominates the petite Roseau harbor foto gallery lightboxby v6.1

18 Mar: Roseau, Dominica

Even though we had set the alarm for 0630 so we could go to the gym, neither one of us felt motivated so we slept in till 0715. Our port of call today was Roseau, Dominica. We had breakfast and headed out to deck 10 to take some port photos. We had already coordinated a tour with Bumping Tours, and met our tour guide, Gary, immediately after we were given permission to disembark the Millennium. There were a total of 8 people on our tour, so it was a small group that Gary could easily customize to meet our needs. Unfortunately, two of the participants didn’t want to get in the water or join us on any activities, so we wondered if they were having a good time? Our first stop was Titou Gorge, where part of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was filmed. Gary broke out the cooler of free drinks early, so a couple of folks had already downed their first beer before reaching the gorge. We all had to wear blue life preservers, and laughed as one of the guides ahead of us starting singing that he was feeling “hot, hot, hot” even though the water was cold, cold, cold. It did feel refreshing once we got used to it, and we had free reign inside the gorge (which is 5-20 feet wide the whole way through). There is a small waterfall at the upper part where we could pose underneath for photos. Then Gary showed us how we could climb up and jump from the top of the waterfall to the pool below. A waterproof camera is a must! After we came out, Gary showed us where we could jump about 20 feet off the banks into a deep part of the gorge. Robby jumped a couple of times, then a Canadian guy from the group did it. The next stop was at Trafalgar Falls, which was a nice waterfall, with natural warm springs at the base of it. Toilets are $1 at the visitor center, although Robby joked that had he known that we’d be wading into the warm springs, he would have just waited and gone there! The trail is a bit rough and there are large rocks at the falls, so its advisable to wear sandals or reef shoes instead of flip flops. The hot spring water is very warm and the waterfalls are particularly nice for photos. After getting warm in the hot springs, we walked down a ways and got into the water down below the falls, which was much cooler and super refreshing. Too bad that the one couple didn’t opt to join us in any of these activities…the rest of us were having a blast and we think Gary was too, because he lit up a joint and just chilled in the cool water while we splashed around. Once our group was ready to leave, we headed back up to the parking lot and saw a guy selling fresh coconuts for $2. He chopped the coconut open with his machete and after we drank the juice, scraped the coconut meat out for us. We had a brief stop at the botanical gardens, where we saw a school bus that had been crushed by a fallen tree during Hurricane David in 1979. The African Baobab tree was massive, and luckily the bus was empty at the time! Since 7 out of 8 of us wanted to visit Champagne Reef to go snorkeling, we dropped off the one passenger who wanted to skip it at the cruise, before heading directly to the reef. The toughest part was getting into the water with flippers on…the waves are relentless and there is no easy way to do it. While we found the reef to be nice and worth seeing, there were not as many bubbles as we expected. We spent time checking out the tropical fish and other marine life but found that most of the coral is dead, due in large part to the massive amounts of tourists that visit here ignorant of the discipline it takes around coral reefs. Very sad to see folks touching, walking and damaging the coral. We paid $47 for our tour ($40 for the tour, $7 for the Champagne Reef) and an extra $5 to rent the snorkeling gear. Gary got a nice tip from us as we enjoyed our brief stay in Dominica.

After returning to the ship, we took a quick shower to rinse off the salt water and had a late lunch. We took a few photos from the 11th deck then went back out to explore Roseau for an hour. We walked by Fort Young Hotel, a couple of old churches and through the city center looking at some of the old colorful buildings that still remain. Becky took a brief nap before dinner so we both skipped the pool, which had become our daily routine. For dinner, Becky enjoyed oysters rockefeller, caprese, and blackened ribeye steak, while Robby ate seafood rissoto, caesar salad, and blackened ribeye steak. Early in our Dominica tour, Gary had mentioned the movie “2012” and how he was already seeing that the island would eventually be overtaken by a volcano, and we were curious so we stayed up late watching it.

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