Lost in Dominica’s Rain Forest

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Dominica has been described as a highlight by so many sailors we have met on the way here. We were a bit skeptical though, because most of our friends had booked organized tours on the island and we much rather wanted to get to know the place on our own, as we usually do. In Roseau, the capital of the island, we took a mooring since the coastline is too steep to anchor. We quickly got to know our neighbors from the catamaran Sephina with whom we spent an afternoon snorkeling at Champagne Reef and a night partying. Our after-snorkel party involved an adequate amount of Ti Punch (rum with lots of rum and rum), quite some dancing and singing which made us famous amongst the neighboring boats ☺.
After a fun night, we first needed a day to recover and figure out a way to see some of the beautiful sights on Dominica. Luckily, another neighbor taught us about the Waitukubuli national trail, a hiking trail that runs through the whole island from North to South, covering about 140km. The Trail is divided into 14 segments, each of them being day-hikes of 5-9 hours, featuring different highlights. Most of the segments are easily reachable by public buses which makes it even easier to organize.
Off we went to hike segment 4 of the national trail. It was absolutely stunning to hike through Dominica’s beautiful rain forest, steeply up- and downhill, across rivers on a beautifully prepared path. On our way we stopped at the Middleham Falls and took a refreshing dip in the fresh-water. The falls were literally breath-taking, as breathing next to them was nearly impossible because of the spray-water and the strong winds caused by the waterfall. Even though the trail was perfectly marked, chief-navigators Bernie and Ela managed to loose their way and got out at a different place than expected ☺… From there we asked for the next bigger road and caught a minibus back to Roseau. No problem, as the minibuses run mostly everywhere… So we thought.
Next day, we made a daytrip to Trafalgar waterfalls and the beautiful hot springs at Wotton Waven. While relaxing in a nature-spa in the midst of exotic plants and waters of all colors (essentially yellow) changing from cold to hot, we got to know a really friendly crew of another sailing boat that gave us a ride back home in the evening. So far so good, we didn’t have to sleep in the rain forest, knowing that there are Boa Constrictors living on the island ☺…
The next day we took another minibus that would bring us all the way across the island to la Plaine on the East coast. As every morning, the bus slowly started to fill with people, but instead of the expected half-hour wait, we waited around 1 ½ hours for the bus to start its way. Then we stopped at the other side of town to pick up some packages of the lady next to me, quickly picked up our drivers daughter at school on yet another side of town and just let one of the passengers quickly run off to do some grocery shopping?!! while the bus waited another while. It’s so fun to see how people just seem to organize their lives around a collective bus ride and it’s fine with everyone. Eventually, but rather late, we got to La Plaine from where we hiked to the Sari-Sari-falls. Starting on a pretty easy trail, we eventually ended up walking up the river on slippery boulders until we got to the falls. Sitting in some natural whirlpools close to the waterfall and just enjoying the feeling of fresh water on our skins, we might have forgotten time…
Back in la Plaine we thought it will be an easy one to just go down to the main road and catch a bus. Not. This. Time! People in the local bar told us that busses run only in the morning. The thought of me spending the night alone in the rain forest while cuddling with that Boa Constrictor crossed my mind again. But hey, we were in a village, so they couldn’t leave us to our fates with some killer-snake, could they?
Luckily, we met our savior, Kerline. She was really friendly and offered us a place to spend the night. I love it when you meet people like this on your way, they are what makes traveling such a great experience. Good thing Naïma was at a mooring with the owners watching over it and not at a wild anchorage…
The next morning we took the early bus at 6:30, but only to take us to the next village, where we were off to our next hike. We went up a steep trail through the rain forest that was to lead us to a beautiful Freshwater Lake. Walking up, we were discussing our lives and enjoying the forest. Somehow the forest got denser and denser and eventually, we had to climb down a slippery rock to find ourselves in the middle of a river. We followed the river for a bit until we decided we must have lost our way, because no sane person would send tourists up this track. And so it was. We had missed the huge sign „Lake Trail“ that was set up on the side. We went back to the sign, took the right turn and reached the Freshwater Lake. After our crackers with tuna that we bought at a kiosk before heading into the forest, we hiked down the other side and went swimming at „Titou Gorge“. Another day in the rain forest, and another time we found a person who gave us a ride back home, and another night that I didn’t have to crawl into a nest of tarantulas to get some sleep.

Up next, our friends Elena and Ogi come to visit us and we spend time with them on Iles Saintes and Guadeloupe.

PS: did we mention that we had NO boat projects this week?? Shhh…

One thought on “Lost in Dominica’s Rain Forest

  1. Your trip sounds amazing!! Love how you seem to cope easily with quite every situation (except the boas, which I can really understand :-).)
    Looking forward to read more on this!
    Xx Chris

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