It’s pronounced doh-meh-NEE-kah, as we have learned in our time here in the Caribbean.
And yes, we have been away from Australia nearly 5 weeks now and this is the 3rd post from our trip. Sorry, mom.
Dominica has to be the worst-signed place of all the islands we’ve driven around, and this is our 5th island. Yesterday we tried to find the Chaudiere Pools, known (at least by Lonely Planet) as the “Emerald Pools of the north”, and while there was a massive sign at the turn off from the main road, once we passed that we saw one other sign after about 15 minutes. It was the size of half a regular street sign with a little arrow, and from there we were on our own. Now we consider ourselves to be fairly adventurous, though not necessarily the fittest of characters (as discovered yesterday when I lost my balance and fell face0first into the creek we were crossing, potentially breaking my camera [it still isn’t right] and bruising myself in multiple places) but we at least have a go trying to get to places that few others – at least others that we know – have been. But after 40 minutes of trying different trails and coming across a pool at the base of a small waterfall that may or may not have been what we were seeking, we gave up and turned around. Huge sign, tiny sign, no sign. Awesome.
Today we hopped in the car again hoping to explore the south and southeast coasts of Dominica and everything started great. We hopped in bubbly water and had a 40 minute snorkel in Champagne Bay (aptly named due to the bubbles floating up from underground bubble chambers) before continuing to Scott’s Head peninsula to have a look. Unfortunately we got caught in some rain and quickly decided no more snorkeling, even though it was meant to be good there, instead deciding to visit Grand Bay. Here is what happened: there is no road that leads from Scott’s Head to Grand Bay, which is maybe 10 miles away, so we accidentally followed another road all the way up a mountain where there was nowhere to turn around until we literally reached a dead end. Take 2: back at Scott’s Head/Soufriere we followed yet another road the wrong way trying to get back to Roseau because, even though it’s the capital, there are no signs directing you there. Take 3: We saw a minivan (bus) headed he way we thought we wanted to go, so we followed it up and out of Soufriere, leading us to the town of Loubiere where we sign for a turnoff to Grand Bay. Success!
Short-lived success… we followed the road, coming across one other sign pointing us in the right direction. From there we saw another small sign diverting “City Centre” traffic from the ‘burbs, took that turn and found that it was closed due to road works and no detour was marked. We decided at this point that Grand Bay wasn’t worth it, but a beer back in Roseau was. Navigating the pouring rain, windy, pothole-filled, narrow roads (with fast, crazy drivers coming the opposite direction), we tried our damnedest to get back to Roseau in record time, however the lack of signage led us to a few more wrong turns (always uphill; always narrow; always full of potholes; always the slowest ones on the road) before finally turning onto Independence Ave, parking our rental car (next to a giant pothole that all drivers must avoid; hopefully they don’t avoid it too much and use our car as a bumper) and taking a short rest in an air-conditioned room (well worth the extra US$6/night) before hitting the town and finding another bar that serves 6 beers for EC$25 (the equivalent of US$10).
We were really looking forward to Dominica, but so far, while it’s beautiful and green and verdant and the people have been hassling us less than other stops, we aren’t feeling the the urgent need to come back. Since we aren’t avid hikers or divers I feel glad that we didn’t plan a week here like I had originally set on our itinerary. Tomorrow, depending on the weather, is a hike to Boiling Lake and the night after is our flight to Antigua, so we have 2 more days (and tonight) to see what this gorgeous country has to offer us.
Much love and many hugs,
Joslyn and Matt