The first night in a new environment always means lots of tossing and turning mixed with patches of sleep. Our first night on Star Clipper was no different. The wind was blowing, the sails were unfurled and we raced across the waves toward Nevis. By morning we were glad to hear the anchor being lowered in the bay just off the island of Nevis.
Anchored off Charlestown early on Sunday morning, we were thrilled to see Nevis’ peak was in full view and not wreathed in clouds as is so often the case. Phillip, our cruise director, cautioned that Nevis is a sleepy little community on an average day, and Sundays are even quieter. Since Clint and I visited Nevis for 5 days wonderful days last year, we opted to stay on the ship and get accustomed on-board. Read Our Nevis Trip Report from March 2011. A good number of passengers however opted to hike Mt. Nevis in the sunshine and take in the dramatic views of neighboring islands.
Because our ship could maneuver into protected bays instead of docking in “typical cruise ship towns” , most of our ports were accessed by the ship’s tender boats.
And on to Dominica!
Did I mention that the Captain loves to sail??? We lost three sails on our very blustery night-time transit to Dominica. If we’re not all sailors now, we never will be. Everyone was happy to get some dry land under their feet this morning!
Today we pulled right up to the dock at Cabrits – gateway to the National Park and rainforest which is about an hour from the main port city of Roseau. Dominica is known for dramatic volcanic peaks, verdant rainforests and naturally pure drinking water. Clint and I were met by our guide-extroadinaire, Patrickson Wallace, who specializes in wonderful island tours for cruise passengers. (Pat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org). And we’re off…
Pat enthusiastically introduced us to his beautiful island; stopping along the roadside to point out an abundance produce growing wild – coffee beans, sugar cane, grapefruit, lemons, bananas galore, 21 varieties of mangoes, brilliant poinsettias and wild ginger as a sampling. What abundance – you could never go hungry for long on Dominica! The island has 70,000 residents, measures 16×29 miles, and has 365 rivers – guaranteeing spectacular waterfalls.
We threaded our way along a coastal road through the Cabrits National Park toward the Atlantic coast on our way to the Carib Territory – a native Indian reserve. Passing by a local Cassava Bakery, we stopped to watch the baker in action. Step 1: grind the woody root into a coarse meal. Step 2: toast the meal in a huge cauldron over an open fire, Step 3: Add water, some coconut water and form into ‘bread’ patties, Step 4: Toast on a dry griddle until crispy on the outside and chewy within. Cassava bread was a staple in the diet of the Carib Indians. Its texture is similar to a rice cake, but has a nice nutty flavor. Today it’s often accompanied by peanut butter, honey, & Nutella!
Next stop is the Touna Kalinago Heritage Village – ancestral home to the indigenous Carib Indians. Here visitors see a ‘living village’ that honors the heritage of the Carib Indians, the first settlers of Dominica. A local guide explains the lifestyle, herbal medicines and crafts of the indigenous tribe.
We made our way back to Cabrits, enjoying the dramatic seascapes all along the way. Our last stop was for a paddle up the Indian River past huge mangroves and locals used in filming of Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. – Hard to imagine a film crew creeping their way through those swampy river banks! I guess that’s why they get the big bucks.
We had a terrific day on Dominica and are anxious to return to experience the rest of the island. Quite a few other cruise passengers went river tubing and reported having a fantastic time.
Our next adventure? Iles des Saines and Guadeloupe
PS – if you’ll be visiting Dominica off any cruise ship, I would highly recommend engaging Patrickson Wallace to do island touring. He was entertaining, informative and most important, reliable. His van can accommodate several couples to go sightseeing together. Just send him an email at PatricksonWallace@hotmail.com