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Monday, June 11, 2012

Southern Caribbean Cruise: Dominica

The 4th port on our Caribbean Cruise on Feb. 15 was Dominica. Note that we found out on the island of Dominica that is not pronounced similar to the Domincan Republic but similar to the name Dominque which is good so when you talk about Dominica people don't think you went to the Domincan Republic.

We were very excited about our day in Dominica! I booked us the Roseau Valley Treasures tour with Bumpiing Tours. This received rave reviews on cruisecritic and was an adventurous packed excursion exploring Dominica.

A few notes before I go into the details of the excursion...if you want Levi, the owner, as your guide then book reeeeeally early. His group was full when we booked but our guide "Floorboard" was great too. If you get the least bit motion sick, on winding roads wear the patch. I was a little hesitant about wearing it but I wore half of the patch and it was perfect. I would never wear a full patch unless I was really big or the half just didn't cut it.

We met the tour right after getting off the ship around 8:45am. There were 10 of us total in the 15 passenger van - 8 people on the tour, our guide and the driver. The first stop was Champagne Reef for a little snorkeling.

It's not really a beach where you get into the water, more like rocks but the water sounds like fizzy champagne bubbles which is awesome to hear... Champagne Reef, get it?! The water was pretty cold but we got used to it. There were other snorkelers there too from a catamaran.

The one bad thing was that due to my cold, I had to cough periodically which was difficult with a snorkel and no thin life jacket thing to hold me up while i was coughing. This is the first time snorkeling where they didn't have those and I would have actually wanted one. It's a good thing Eric was there to hold me up during my coughing spells. The bubbles did make the underwater pictures we took come out less than clear.

This was our guide for the day, Floorboard.

See how the water looks fizzy.

Next we drove way up the mountain on some winding roads to Morne Bruce, a look out point where you could see the whole town.  It was also a great time to refuel and resunscreen before the next activity.

You can see their soccer stadium to the right in this one

Next was a drive through the botanical gardens and many more winding roads through tropical scenery.

 Then we arrived at Titou Gorge portion of the excursion. I had been looking forward to this part of the day. Titou Gorge was in the Pirates of the Caribbean 2nd and 3rd movies. We took a short hike to a pond which was the start of the journey and we were instructed to put on these very fashionable floating devices.

We waded into the freezing cold water. Seriously the coldest water I have ever felt. I was told it is a little below 60 degrees... brrrr! We then entered the 50 foot long gorge through a narrow opening in the volcanic rock. We swam through the gorge through this series of "rooms" formed by high cliff walls canopied by interlaced trees so it was fairly dark and difficult to get pictures so remember that when you look at these.

Even the beard couldn't keep Keith warm.

At the end of the gorge is a small section of rapids with strong current (hence the floaties) and this waterfall that's probably about 10 feet high. We climbed up the slippery rocks by the waterfall into a pond area above it and take turns jumping off the waterfall. The guide goes up first to help people up.

It was quite scary not because of the height but because there are so many rocks. It feels like you would hit them when you jump off since it's a jump from a standing position and no running start especially with short legs. But we cleared the rocks with room to spare... apparently you jump out much further than you think you can but looking at the situation made us (well the girls) uneasy. One group member didn't want to jump so she just stayed at the bottom.

Then we swam back through out to where we started and wished we had brought our towels as we we shivering but the sun was nice and warm at least.

Next we hopped back in the van for the drive to Tralfagar Falls and the hot sulfur springs. It was about a 15 min hike to the springs and they felt fantastic after the cold gorge.

You can hike around a bit near the springs to see some gorgeous waterfalls.

The warm pools were very relaxing.

There was a little rock "slide" into another pool.

We only brought the waterproof point and shoot due to all the water and slippery rocks here so unfortunately I couldn't get waterfall pictures with my DSLR. Hopefully next time we visit waterfall somewhere I will get a chance. They sure are beautiful!

There were some people repelling that you can see if you look closely.

We look a little tired after our adventurous day but who wouldn't right :)  Put visiting Dominica and doing this tour on your bucket list!

The van dropped up back off near the ship and about an hour before sail off. We took our usual places on the back of the top deck at the Seaview Cafe for some food since all we had during the day was snack food since lunch was not part of the tour. And of course the sail off pictures.

Sleepy guys.

We had dinner and then took a few photos in the nautical decorated bar area.

Hope you are enjoying our cruise stories. Next up will be Barbados!

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