Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Island Tour

Cobra told us to be ready at 9:00 am for the tour of the island which included swimming in a waterfall. He picked us up with his wooden boat, and went to another yacht to get two more French couples, only one of them speaking some English. I was not very happy, but had nothing to say. At shore, two more French couples joined us. Cobra set me aside, and whispered that our guide Robert spoke more English than French. OK, we will try to make it a go.

We filled the minivan, and started a journey on the west coast, turned into the land up to the east coast, and came back to Portsmouth round 4:30 pm. On the way, Robert showed us the different plants and flowers, stopped the car several times to bring in samples. Then he brought us to the entrance of the waterfall, between some huts with locked doors. We looked down, but could not see much of a waterfall, just some slippery steps going down a dark canyon. As soon as I took a step down, Robert said that we had to pay US$3.00 dollars per person, since that place was owned privately. There we lived a confusion, the others in the party claimed that the price should have covered the whole thing, and would not pay a cent extra, except the lunch. To tell you the truth, we had not talked any price with Cobra, since I had only asked about the Indian River tour, which he mentioned as US$26.00 dollars. I asked the nice young lady, who was trying to communicate with us in half French/half English, about the price they had settled, and she told me US$60.00 dollars. I thought it a bit steep for a bus tour, but nothing we could do at that point. Anyway, we decided not to go down for the fall, where we were supposed to jump into the natural pool. That did not happen; instead Robert opened up the cooler in the van, and gave us bananas and rum punch. I found it too strong at 11:30 am, so went easy on it. After ten minute brake, back on the road. Around 1:00 pm we reached a small hut of a restaurant, with an awesome view, but the deck in front was under construction, so we had to sit inside. We had a very good meal there, and told them to hurry up and finish the deck, which would add to the ambiance tremendously.

Robert took us to a pace called “Red Rock”; a large area at the foot of the east side of a mountain reaching the see with high cliff, which looked like several mini canyons parallel to each other. Apparently it was the effluent of one of the six dormant volcanos of Dominica. The mineral concentration was mostly iron, hence the red colour. Heavy rains over the years must have compacted the ash into soil, which looked and felt like red concrete, and water opened the deep grooves. The barren rock formation was really different than the lush vegetation all around, most of it rain forests, with high trees with many different parasite plants covering them, making them dense and dark.

Whatever Robert did, the party, including us, was not happy with sitting in the van all day, and looking at the numerous nice beaches we passed by without being able to swim, despite wearing the bathing suits all day.
Robert took us to the beginning of the Indian River, where Cobra met us. He said that the two hour tour was to start in five minutes. Al was tired, I was groggy and we hesitated, and suggested doing it in the morning instead. Cobra accepted, but two couples from our party had to leave the next morning, so they went ahead. We saw that some other people also appeared and filled he wooden row boat (power boats are not allowed), and took off.

Cobra first talked to the two remaining couples from our party, and came to us, while we were waiting to be taken to our boat. He offered to take the whole remaining group to another tour the next morning free of charge, where he personally would guide us to a natural pool under another fall called Chaudiere. Of course we accepted, and wet back to our boats together. On the way, the young lady asked Cobra to stop at a different boat, which belonged to her friends, who had just arrived in Portsmouth. They hugged each other warmly, while we waved good bye, until we would see them in the morning.

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