logbook1.gif (2755 bytes)

money_small_anim3.gif (11952 bytes)

Guadeloupe - Dominica 26 - 29 April

Thanks to our early start on Terre du Haut, we were back at Pointe Pitre Airport by 9 a.m.  But we still had to return the car, file the flight plan at the flight information office, pack up the plane, taxi it for several kilometers to the new terminal at the noth side from the aeroclub at the south side, enter the terminal through customs and immigration as if we'd only just arrived from abroad, pay the landing fees (US$ 35), and go through customs and immigration again to get back out to the plane. As a result we didn't take off until 11 a.m.  We certainly wouldn't recommend Pointe Pitre airport to aviator friends who are in a hurry!

Canefield Airport in Dominica is a little jewel by comparison.   They don't have an instrument approach, but in spite of some clouds nearby, there was no problem making a visual approach.  Actual flying time was only 28 minutes.   It would have been much quicker to take a ferry direct from the island of Terre du Haut (just a 30- minute ride), but of course we couldn't leave Honey Mooney behind.

'Small is beautiful' when arriving by private plane and customs and immigration formalities took a minimum amount of time.  However we had to purchase a local driving licence from the immigration officer. Flemming had done all the driving in Guadeloupe so it was my turn and we just bought a licence for me. Little did we know then what the state of the roads would be!  Dominica is beautifully mountainous, but that also means steep roads. In addition they are full of potholes.  It looked like they couldn't afford to redo them after 1983 when the US gave Dominica paved roads as a present for helping them invade nearby Grenada.

With a little bargaining, we were able to get a jeep from Budget for US$ 35 a day and they also got us a discounted rate at the Best Caribbean hotel, north of Roseau.  Our room was spacious and we had a direct phone line in the room. We settled in and then headed for Roseau in order to have lunch, only to come to a grinding halt on the outskirts.  Due to a water sanitation project, they were digging up the roads and the resulting traffic jams were atrocious.  By the time we got to town, it was too late to get lunch anywhere.  We 'lunched' on Carib beers and crisps in a typically Caribbean bar in a wooden house with Reggae music blaring away.

Fortunately, we'd brought our swimming and snorkelling gear with us, so there was no need to head back through all the traffic to fetch them before continuing south to the Anchorage Hotel.  There we arranged to go out diving and snorkelling the next morning at 9 a.m.  The Canadian woman who ran the dive shop advised us to leave the hotel before 7.15 to avoid the traffic.  We told her we would prefer to find somewhere to stay south of town which was a more convenient location for driving to the various places of interest.  She gave us the phone number of some Canadian friends who rent out a small apartment in the hills, and we were able to move there for the last couple of nights.  It was a delightful little place with a splendid view over the lush tropical forest to the sea.  Rather like living in a tree house.  I lounged on the sofa and watched the birds.  Among others, I saw small bananaquit with a yellow breast and a blue and black humming bird.

Our hosts, Rob and Whitney Sommers, couldn't have been kinder. They provided excellent breakfasts and, when we discovered a flat tyre on our jeep, drove Flemming down to town to get it repaired.  Rob is running a project in cooperation with the Dominican government to build a cable car in the rain forest which will skim the tops of the trees and the Trafalgar falls to allow tourists to visit the rain forest from the comfort of their seat.  It should be ready in June or July this year.  In case anyone is interested in the project or in staying at their apartment, here is their e-mail address Rob and Whitney Sommers and phone number +767 448 0710.

The Friday night 'jump-up' at the Fort Young hotel is THE event of the week and we were fortunate enough to arrive on a Friday.  Due to the traffic, though, we didn't attempt to go back to our hotel first to change and just turned up in shorts and t-shirt.  It was a very colourful scene at a great location - on a terrace overlooking the sea - and the vast majority of the crowd were locals.  The band wasn't a steel band as we'd hoped, but they played lively Caribbean music.

The next morning we drove through town early enough to avoid the traffic, and breakfasted at the Anchorage Hotel before joining a friendly mixed bunch of Americans, Germans and French people for the diving/snorkelling boat trip.  The highlight of my snorkel was at a cave in the cliff face.  The cave was covered in bright orange corals, and bright yellow flower-like corals grew on top of that. To complete the picture, a huge shoal of bright orange fish swam in and out of it. Flemming did two great dives at different locations, 'Carib leap' and 'Coral Gardens'. He saw many beautiful corals and a huge porcupine fish.

After lunch, we drove to Trafalgar Falls - a hair-raising drive up steep, pot-holed roads, followed by a short walk.  Flemming found some nice hot springs. Later we dined at La Robe Creole restaurant and tried the tasty callaloo soup.

On Sunday morning we drove to the southernmost tip of Dominica, Scotts Head where we snorkelled and climbed up the hill to get a magnificent view of the causeway connecting the peninsula to the 'mainland'.  Later I drove us over to Grand Bay on the windward side of the island to have tea with the German girl Cristina whom we'd met on the diving trip.  She lives there with her child and her mother, who has finally come to rest in Dominica after spending some years sailing around the Caribbean.   They hope to set up a guest house there.  We sat talking for so long that it was practically dark by the time we got up to go.  Thankfully, Flemming did the driving.  Having seen so few cops, apart from the odd drunk one in a bar, we thought it most unlikely we'd get stopped by one.

On our last day, I felt like taking it easy for once and enjoyed the peace and beauty of the view from our 'treehouse' while catching up on web site duties.  Meanwhile, Flemming went for a walk in the rain forest to Freshwater Lake.

We dined at Fort Young Hotel where we at last got to hear a live steel band for the first time since we arrived in the Caribbean.

Click on image to enlarge, click browser back to return

58-Canefield_final.jpg (21965 bytes)
On final for runway 19 at Canefield airport, Dominica. Sweet and short runway.

58-Friday_jump_up.jpg (37212 bytes)
The Friday night jump-up at Fort Young in Roseau
58-Flemming_scuba.jpg (52266 bytes)
Before the dive near Scotts Head
58-Great_dive.jpg (29430 bytes)
Flemming said it was another great dive
58-Dominica_falls.jpg (54818 bytes)
The Trafalgar Falls
58-Flemming_hot_spring.jpg (22828 bytes)
Enjoying the hot springs at the base of the falls
58-Dominica_girl.jpg (35150 bytes)
Dominican girl in Creole costume
58-Dominican_doll.jpg (34876 bytes)
View of Point Guignard from a restaurant in Scotts Head
58-Angela_Scotts_Head.jpg (34755 bytes)
At Scotts Head with the village behind
58-Flemming_Scotts_Head.jpg (39791 bytes)
An old remnant from the past (the cannon, not Flemming!)
58-Roseau_market.jpg (43590 bytes)
Purchasing another doll for my collection at Roseau market
plane_prev_home_next3.gif (2099 bytes)