Dominica:  May 16-20, 2008

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Southern Dominica Tour

"Seacat" was our tour guide on a trip through southern Dominica.   (His real name is "Octavius".   This sounded a lot like "octopus" to his boyhood friends.  The Creole word for "octopus" translates literally to "sea cat".  Hence his nickname.)  Crazy man.   Stopped and talked with lots of locals.   Barged in to places he wanted to show us, and charmed the locals into hosting the visit.   Among many other places, we stopped at a local bar that openly sold moonshine.   Also drove through a Rasta village.  Lotsa ganja in evidence, especially since Seacat kept yelling out the window "top grade?"   Got lots of young men rushing up to the van with that query!  Found myself looking down at a hand full of weed at one point, thrust through the window by an eager young entrepreneur.  The high point of the trip was the hike up a river, over boulders and through the rushing water, up to Victoria Falls.   I had hurt my back the day before -- accident on the dinghy in a strong surge which threw me back against the dinghy seat -- so I stayed out of the pool under the falls and took pictures.   Everyone else jumped into the pool and fought the current to get to the underhangs at the base of the thundering cascade.   When we returned from the river we had lunch at Moses' new restaurant (called a "rastarant", where we all had the one item on the "menu":  delicious vegetarian soup served in calabash bowls, with "spoons" made of coconut shells.   As you can see in the photos of Moses below, a steady diet of vegetables and ganja certainly keeps one looking young!  Moses walks with a slight limp.  His son quietly explained that Moses was shot in the leg a number of years ago by the police during a period in which the government was attempting to suppress the Rasta movement.

Pictures with a (*) were taken by either Dave and Michelle (Daniell Storey).

Humble residence at base of majestic cliff. We stopped and raided their extensive fruit orchard. (With their gracious blessing.)

Dave (Magic) talks to the little girls on our stop

*Seacat preparing a coconut

*Ready for eating and drinking

Flowers on bush next to the cabin

Drinking coconut water from a green coconut

Caribbean cherry -- also in the orchard

*Group gathered around enjoying coconut and paw paws.

Pouring myself a drink in the moonshine bar.

Wading and climbing up the river to Victoria Falls

Crossed the river many times

*Clammering over boulders along the river

*More clammering

Places to clammer

One last major climb before the falls

At last the falls are visible!

*Pool at base of falls

Group as they finally reach the falls

Water is white from minerals and tiny bits of sand broken off by the violence of the falls

Relaxing in a quiet section of the pool

Barb made it and others are fighting the current to get to a little cove at the base of the falls

Moses' restaurant -- still under construction

Moses' sign

Moses picking beans for our soup

Soup in calabash bowl with coconut shell spoon

Moses' youngest son Isaiah.

Tour group at Moses' rastarant

Moses giving Rose a lesson on herbs

Bundles of bay leaves at a bay leaf distillery

Emerald pool seen from path above

Barb down at the Emerald pool

A bear in the woods?

Back in Roseau, relaxing at a shore-side bar after a long day's tour

Diving in Southern Dominica

We passed closer dive shops and went down to the south end of the island to dive with Joy Reed, who had been with us on Tusen Takk II the previous week.  (Another great guest, by the way.   Relaxed, helpful, and congenial.  And fun to get caught up on Savannah and AASU [my former employer] news.)  We were so impressed with the dives that we changed our travel plans and returned for a second day of diving.  We highly recommend "Nature Island Dive" -- they did a fantastic job of showing us frog fish and sea horses.  We also saw many turtles, several types of crabs, a large octopus, and lots of fish.   Very healthy sponge coral -- some of the sponges were as big as an outhouse!   Spectacular wall dives featuring vertical walls that dropped to infinity.  First class diving, comparable to Bonaire, Saba, or Cayman Islands.

Canoe of the type made by the Caribs at the northeast end of the island

More Carib-style canoes on the beach in Soufriere

Diving can wear you out! So why not nap during the break between dives?

Old church in Soufriere -- the village where Nature Island Dive is located

The dock used by the dive boat

Joy on the grounds of the dive shop

Joy aboard the dive boat

Joy stayed in the bottom floor of this sea-side cottage while she was diving

Another view of her cottage

Joy on the balcony of her cottage -- famous Scott's Head in the background


We didn't have an under-water camera.  But Rose and Tom (Sojourn) did!  Here are some of their photos, taken at roughly the same sites, but with a different dive shop.   And so, they didn't see any frog fish or sea horses. :-(

Arrow crabs

Balloon fish

Cardinal fish

Trumpet fish

Scorpion fish

Hawksbill turtle

Dave and Tom ham it up

Another shot of the divers

Iridescent tube

Giant tube sponge

Yellow tube sponges

Tom, Dave, Michele, Dave, and Donna pose after their dives -- dive master in the background