Do you remember the song “Put Your Hand in the Hand”? Trust me, after having so many hard days at sea early in the Caribbean, I was singing it and offering my hand to the Man from Galilee often! But once we left St. Kitts, He must have heard me, or maybe been tired of me singing to Him, because the seas began to calm down and I began to love traveling on the water again. Maybe it was King Neptune forgiving us for changing the boat’s name, but whoever was in charge, I sure was happy. By the time we entered Dominica, I had a whole new attitude. Things were good and had been for several days.
La Sirena under full sail on our way to Dominica.
Entering Dominica is a different experience. Because there had been crime in the past, an organization called PAYS (Portsmouth Area Yacht Services) was formed. People in Dominica realized that their best industry is tourism and, without tourists, they are in trouble. Therefore, a group of businesses got together and formed PAYS. These “boat boys” help you find a mooring, take you on tours, provide security, and help with anything else you may want or need in Dominica. The trick is to only use those associated with PAYS.
We were approached, as we entered, by a boat that said Edison Tours on the side. “Welcome to Dominica” yelled the man driving, who introduced himself as Daniel. He was one of the PAYS group and he took care of us the whole time we were there. As we arrived, I quickly asked Daniel if he would take us on an Indian River Tour in Dominica. We had seen in our cruising guide that it was a wonderful experience, so we set up an appointment for 8:00 the following morning.
Entering the Indian River in Portsmouth, Dominica
I could have happily spent a whole day just photographing the roots of the trees on the river.James Bond, on the left, and Daniel, on the right.This gentleman lives in the rainforest and takes care of the flowers at the bar he runs here.
This cute little bird and one other loved the sugar we didn’t use in our bush tea.Just a few of the many flowers that grow here.
This shack was built on the Indian River for the movie “Dead Man’s Chest”, which was part II of the Pirates of the Caribbean series.One of the many PAYS boats.
Exactly at 8 the next day Daniel showed up in his boat to pick us up. Craig, from La Sirena, joined us and we started on our way to the Indian River. Along the way we picked up another gentleman, James (“As in Bond”, he told us, “007”). James is a long time certified guide in Dominica and Daniel is in training. James has a true love of the island, known as the Nature Island. He showed us birds, crabs, lizards, fish, and plants along the way. We stopped at a small bar on the river where we tasted bush tea. The gentleman who lives there in a small shack tends the flowers, grows herbs and tends bar when tour groups come through. It was only 10 in the morning so no one was able to sell us their Dynamite Punch, but we certainly enjoyed the herbal tea instead.
During our short stay in Dominica, others approached us on boats or kayaks or paddle boards as well. Everyone had something to sell. Of course there were mangoes to buy! Always mangoes! Also, I was talked into passion fruit, bananas, and a pineapple. During our stay we also took a walk into town when a market was taking place. There at a few stands I bought tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and a small watermelon. Fruits and vegetables abound in the Caribbean! Interestingly, however, all “Irish” potatoes are imported. That is one crop that is not grown here.
We had been having a little trouble with our freezer over the past few days so John asked Daniel if he knew of a refrigeration man. Daniel said he had a relative who worked on refrigeration and he would contact him for us. Of course we were a little suspect as everyone here has a relative that does something, but later in the afternoon of the day we took the tour Daniel showed up with Alvin. Alvin was absolutely amazing. He worked very hard for about three hours on our boat, solved our problem and, when asked for his fee, told us $50 (US). Daniel also spent time with us while Alvin worked, showing me how to use a passion fruit and generally talking non-stop about anything else he could think of. We tipped them both well and I believe all parties involved were happy. I know I was happy to see the freezer in good shape again!
There was much more to see in Dominica, but we left for Martinique on the 12th. We are always mindful of trying to reach our goal of arriving in Grenada on July 1st.
More to come tomorrow on our stay in Martinique!