Definitely Pirate Territory

Trip Start Apr 04, 2008
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Flag of Dominica  ,
Monday, January 5, 2009

Each Island/Country we travel to have its own set of customs and immigrations rules, based on the same principles as each other but sometimes implemented differently. After a confusing dinghy ride in which we circled a cruise ship, got pulled over and reprimanded by the Coast Guard we finally found The Customs and Immigration in Roseau the Capital of Dominica. To say the customs official was an over officious, power wielding thug may be a bit over the top or then again maybe not. Some countries (in fact most) treat you very kindly and instantly gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling about being there, this guy did not and played a few power games for an hour or so before letting us go. This was probably our first inkling that this island would be somewhat different to the others.

We only anchored in Roseau for the one night after clearing in, as there is not much to see or do there from a coastal point of view, so the next morning we sailed north to Prince Rupert Bay at the top of the island. 
Dominica is a really lush and tropically vegetated island compared to lots of the others and it almost gives off a pirate hideaway vibe. While we were about 1 mile off the headland entrance to the bay we saw a small dinghy heading towards us, we had heard of the boat boys that worked the island and of pirates and wasn't sure who this may be and what their intentions were, as the boat came close we realised it was in fact a boat boy anxious to pick us up as customers for his services in Dominica. Raymond's greeting was quite friendly and he told us of all his services he could provide for us while in Prince Rupert Bay, we thanked him and said we'd be in contact once we had anchored.

Well this was not to be the last of the boat boy antics, as we circled the bay looking for a good spot to anchor, we were approached by a guy in a dinghy selling fruit and another two one in a dinghy and the other on a surf ski offering their services. We told them we were ok for the moment and were just trying to anchor but this didn't deter them as the circled us and we hoped not to run them over them in the process. We had barely finished when the 2 guys spotted our rubbish on the back deck and a fight ensued on who had the right to collect the garbage at $2 a bag. Well Pete trying to be a wise as Solomon ended up giving them a bag each hoping to stop their arguing and give us some peace to relax in what was quite a picturesque bay.

One of the attractions here in Prince Rupert Bay is the Indian River Tour where your boat boy, in our case Raymond, takes you up the shallow river for a sightseeing tour. The river is very pretty with heaps of fig trees, vines, palms, bird life etc. One section of this river was where they filmed part of Pirates in The Caribbean. The part where they go up a mangrove swamp to the Voodoo Witches place and find Captain Barbosa (Jeffery Rush) still alive. Saw That.

Dominica is quite a poor country and many of the people live is small homes the size of our garden sheds, put together with all sorts of materials, bricks, corrugated iron, timber. It was very confronting at times when we walked down the road, not a lot of infrastructure like sewage, foot paths etc and the roads were in quite poor condition with most people sitting on their front porch or the road sides. There were a few home that were larger and more elaborate in design (see picies). It was hard to feel safe here although I'm sure the majority of people are great but unfortunately we are seen as an easy target and with frequent comments on the boat, dinghy, bikes etc by the boat boys made us feel uncomfortable and the need to lockup very securely at night. Despite this we managed to have a couple of nice days swimming off the back of Bella and enjoying ourselves.
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