Wildcat and Banyan invited us along on their driving tour of South Dominica.
Martin loaded us up in a taxi van for the day and turned south. Dominica is a large enough island to have dry sections, rainforest sections, and everything in between. This made for an interesting and scenic drive that I could not capture in photos since we were moving so fast.
It is interesting how the islands get their fuel, water, and supplies. We saw a tanker delivering fuel to the island. In the picture you can just make out the hose running to shore.
We passed by so many small towns like Mero, Mahaut, and Massacre. Each had something that I would have liked to stop for, but there wasn’t time. We did stop in Canefield, a very industrial town. I’m sure I have my places confused, but we stopped near the market and had a coconut water moment – sans rum to George’s (Wildcat) dismay. Then we went to the fresh market (pictured top of page) where Jan (Wildcat) and Alex (Banyan) shopped for some christophene and other local vegetables. They are much more adventurous in trying to cook the local produce than I am. They are also better shoppers. I get overwhelmed in the markets. I want everything and end up buying nothing.
We stopped at a retired sugar processing plant and rum distillery. It is now a museum where they have some of the old steam-driven equipment, waterwheel, and beautiful buildings and grounds.
My favorite stop was at Titou Gorge. What a crazy place! Walking from the parking area to the gorge, we followed a pipeline. Dominica is trying out alternative power methods including hydro power and geothermal power. With at least 7 active volcanoes on the island, geothermal seems a good bet. There are also multiple water falls on this mountainous terrain. Here at Titou Gorge they are harnessing the power of the falls and these pipelines are part of it.
The gorge doesn’t look like much from the entrance, but there’s a lot going on here. The water is fresh water coming down from the mountain. When you first jump in, the cold is shocking. It is a little tough to get used to. To the right is the canyon opening. You swim at the bottom of a canyon to the waterfall at the end. Toward the left is a spring of volcanically heated water. After swimming back from the falls, you can stand on the rock with the orange stripes (caused by either iron or sulphur or the two combined) and take a warm shower.
If you are not a strong swimmer, bring a floatie! The current is a couple knots or so. At least the swim acclimated you to the water and kept your blood pumping. There is one stopping point in the middle where you can stand and rest, but it is deep from beginning to end. At the end is the waterfall, where the ladies posed on the only rocks to rest.
Swimming back was much easier, as you are going with the current. It was easier to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the canyon. The green moss growing on the rocks just glowed when a ray of sun shone through the clouds and lit the canyon below. For anyone going to Dominica, this is a MUST STOP! It is amazing!
The warm shower at the entrance of the gorge must fall from quite a distance to cool the water down. There are many boiling springs around Dominica and the water is literally boiling. There is a difficult 8-hour hike to boiling lake that is a visitor favorite and this spring is a mini version. Some of these springs are controlled and made into spa-like hot tubs.
Dominica has 365 rivers and dozens of waterfalls and our next stop was at Trafalgar Falls. Trafalgar Falls has twin falls Martin called Mama and Papa. This picture was taken on the viewing platform. From here we descended some stairs and followed a short path to the bottom of the falls.
At the bottom of the falls was a hot pool where the ladies soaked out our aches. The guys decided to hike up to the falls. It wasn’t far, but it looked steep. George, Dave 1, and Dave 2 shared a feeling of accomplishment when they made it to the top.
But Dave 2 (my Dave) said it was more like rock climbing than hiking, which Martin demonstrated in this photo he took of the guys climbing back down. The ladies were glad to have stayed in the hot pool!
Finally done with our amazing tour of this beautiful island, we drove back towards Portsmouth. Martin had one more trick up his sleeve, though, and pulled over to the side of the road. It was time for a mango-eating contest. Forget cutting and eating it with a fork. Just bite into the skin, tear it with your teeth, and peel it off. This contest was not how many you can eat – I think Dave would have won that, mango being his new favorite fruit – but how neat you can eat it. Ha! They were ripe and juicy and we were all a mess. ~ The next day on Wildcat, we had a picture viewing happy hour party and Martin came and declared us all winners, rewarding us with more mangoes. Martin is a great tour guide with a good sense of humor that makes his tours fun and lively. We strongly recommend him for anyone visiting Dominica. Just ask for Martin or Providence on channel 16. This was a wonderful tour and I want to go back and visit some of the places we passed through. Maybe we will rent a car.
***Thank you, Jan on Wildcat for the gorge, waterfall, and mango eating pictures.***