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.
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.