Here we are in Dominica - my favourite island in the Caribbean. It is the most beautiful place that I have ever visited! Since on the last cruise we went on the Aerial Tram ride through the rainforest, we booked a different tour this time - Ti Tou Gorge and Hot Springs Tour. We got to port at around 9:00am and met our tour guides outside at the dock.
Our driver, Magline was great at navigating through the winding roads up the mountain. We had a very nice and informative tour guide - I don't remember her name but she is one of the Carib Indians who still live on the island (which is awesome). She said that there are about 3000 Carib Indians who still live on the island following their own traditions and customs.
The island of Dominica is such a great beauty - lush greenery everywhere! We learned about some of the native plants, and learned that bamboo there grows at a rate of 1" per day! Coffee is something that is grown and produced in Dominica, as well as bananas (their main export). We were able to see both coffee and banana plants growing naturally.
The first stop was up at the top of one of the mountains - the Ti Tou Gorge. The only way to see the waterfall inside the gorge is to swim inside the caves. This may have been the most amazing thing that I have ever seen in my life! We got into the water (very cold at first, but you get used to it) and swim inside the caves. You can see in the image above - this is the entrance to the caves.
If you look up, you can just see through some openings in the top of the rocks with some trees and plant-life.
You swim along a little further, only for a minute or so, and scale along a rocky wall to see the waterfall. Anyone is able to see this, even if you aren't the best swimmer, because it is mandatory to wear a small life preserver around your waist (provided by the tour guides).
After the amazing journey into the caves to see Ti Tou gorge and the waterfall, we walked back to the vans, which included a short walk across a bridge. We got to see the giant wooden pipe that water is pumped through for the island's electricity. It is over 40 years old!
The next destination was the Hot Sulphur Springs called Screw's Sulphur Spa. This was super relaxing - to soak in one of five natural hot springs that ranged in temperature. We were in the medium temperature one, which was like a relaxing hot tub.
The water was orange, only due to the sulphur content in the water - the water is very clean. You also couldn't smell the sulphur at all.
After the hot soak, you go up to the cooler pool which is supposedly a great combination for the skin - going from the hot pool to the cooler pool. It must work because we kept noticing how great our skin felt - my skin feels super soft and silky!
After soaking in the Hot Springs, they provided some local fresh fruits - coconut, grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon - fresh and tasty! In a little cage on the ground was their pet turtle - he was so sweet and had beautiful markings! Then, we boarded the vans and went back to the boat. This was by far my very favourite adventure ashore!
We went back on the ship and had lunch in the Dining Room - a Greek salad and Potato Gnocchi in a cheese sauce.
After our lunch, we went back on shore to the local craft market. We were looking for these pornographic mugs that we saw the last time we were here that Poolie wishes he would have bought - trust me, they were hilarious and super dirty! Unfortunately, they were no longer selling them. In fact, last time when we found them in amongst all of the generic tropical-themed mugs, the lady who was selling them seemed quite surprised that she even had them and was laughing just as much as we were! So, they might have gotten rid of them in the meantime (it was two years since we lasted visited Dominica). I did end up purchasing some locally made Dominican coffee beans and some Dominica guava jam.
Back on board and to our room! I went and got myself a coffee and a hot chocolate for Poolie, as well as some tasty treats from the buffet to enjoy sitting out on the balcony. More to write later!
P.S. I cannot rave enough about the Aquapacs - I'll write about them later on this blog - basically, we have one for keys/cards and one for our camera - a waterproof bag for our digital camera! We brought it with us inside the cave and to the hot springs without having to worry about getting our camera wet, and it worked fabulously! Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to bring our digital camera along with us today!
I'm sitting outside on our balcony as I write this - we're at sea en route to Grenada. The moon is big and bright with a golden hue, slightly shadowy on top.
Let's pick up where I left off...
I took a little walking tour of the ship by myself in the afternoon to take photos
We got ready for dinner and went to the Coral Dining Room. The terrible photographer from the night before apparently caught sight of us and started to come over, but we escaped unscathed (Poolie saw her, I did not). For dinner, we both had a salad, Poolie had french onion soup, and we both had "tube pasta" (penne) with cilantro, garlic, and other veggies. Yum, as always! For dessert, I had coffee and a chocolate fudge cookie with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate hot fudge; Poolie had a pineapple creme brulee. It also had coconut, even though Poolie has a fake "allergy" to coconut just because he doesn't like it, but he couldn't taste it and it also didn't kill him.
After dinner, we saw people rolling around on the floor for the crazy casual photography portraits on the white background, and it looked like there was a fat man with no shirt on who was quite fat with a woman sitting on his back. The rolls of fat were actually just wrinkles in a skin-coloured shirt and this made us burst into fits of laughter. We got into an elevator with even crazier laughing drunk French people.while Poolie stayed in our room to read a book and watch the new horrible Indiana Jones movie (knowing full well how awful it is, just to make fun of it.)
We went down to the Games room with drinks in hand (a banana daiquiri for me, a Raspberry Fizz for Poolie) and decided to play some Jenga. We thought it would be pretty fun to play Jenga whilst being a little tipsy from the alcohol, and the movements of a boat at sea...needless to say, I lost twice, but it was so much fun.
Afterwards, we enjoyed an evening stroll around the upper decks of the ship. Even right now, there is still a very warm breeze and the stars are all out tonight. You could see one island way off in the distance, as well as a couple of ships, but the rest is blackness. You can see the dark waves right around the boat, especially at the back of the boat.
Back in our room, Alvin made us a super cute elephant out of towels! He said that towel animals are his specialty. He also makes little shells out of hand towels and hangs them inside pockets made from larger towels. Alvin is a really sweet room steward! I would say that keeping things very tidy is his specialty, and the towel animals are a great added bonus!
We have to get to sleep early tonight since our Grenada tour is at 8:30am! Excited! Never visited Grenada before so it will be another great adventure!
The following video is from our day in Dominica: you will see a view of the island from one of the upper decks of the ship, a view of the island from up high on a mountain in Dominica, a view of Dominica from our stateroom balcony, and a view of the island as we leave in the evening. Such a beautiful place!