New Crew & Billfish
12th to 14th June 2010

15° 35.2' N; 61° 31.2' W

Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica, British West Indies

    Callin' Dr Love        

Dominica from the sea; a few small coastal towns and lots of rainforest & volcanoes

Les Saintes to Dominica

It was an easy 24 miler over, however I’m starting to have serious doubts as to Iain’s fishing skills and he’s back pedaling a bit with “well it was on a trawler”, added to this, his ankles have developed from a slot on Saturday night’s House Party to a slice of pepperoni pizza with extra topping – not helped by the fact that throughout yesterday’s car trip, he had been (by his own confession) scratching his mozzie bites with the soles of his shoes as he was driving….YUK! Iain, you really know how to make yourself attractive to the Laydez!!

Fish Caught = 0

Ice creams consumed = 2

A very large flower

Fishing village on the East Coast

Local kids playing in the surf

We’d been looking forward to Dominica, an undeveloped and unspoiled Caribbean paradise, and weren’t disappointed. We dropped anchor early evening in a Prince Rupert Bay, a huge bay fringed by a long beach and towering palms, and with just a hint of habitation. The mountains and the rainforest stretched away into the background and again, the smell of lush vegetation and the twittering birds around the boat was intoxicating.

We were met on the way in by one of the boat boys – Lawrence (of Arabia, he would have you believe) – and arranged to meet him the next morning for a trip up the Indian River. I’m not convinced we’ll get any Camembert or red wine here, though.

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia; our boat boy & tour organiser

The Indian River

We awoke to birdsong as the mist lifted slowly from the mountains, and Lawrence arrived alongside at 9 to collect us for our River Trip. There are no engines allowed on the river, so its oars only and this makes for a quiet and mesmerising trip through the shallow green water overhung by mangroves and vines. Although a bit disappointed by the lack of animal life, we did see a few birds and some fish in the river – if you’re interested as to the species, please email Nerdy at polarmajor@hotmail.co.uk ; he can also give advice on fern and tropical tree species and the relative merits of Susan Boyle.

Parts of the river were used in the Pirates of the Caribbean II – for the cave in the forest where the witch lived; and at the farthest point of our boat trip we pulled up at a jetty with a very cool jungle bar where JD himself used to hang out after filming. Iain got a little friendly with the barmaid there, although I’m not so sure she wasn’t the Witchy actress – sans makeup!

The Indian River

Iain & the jungle barmaid

We’d decided to go with Lawrence’s car trip for the rest of the day, so at the mouth of the river we were handed over to Dr Love and his Love Bus for a trip to the Caribe (native indian) Village and the Emerald Pool. The drive in itself was highly entertaining as Dr Love took an obviously well travelled route through one stunning vista to another, layering on his knowledge of all of the plant species along the roadside and stopping occasionally to cut some lemon (smelling) grass, or to slice a bit of bark off a Cinnamon tree. More entertaining still were the calls he took from girls on his phone, the ones he chatted to en route, the ones he picked up from the bus stops, and the fact that he turned his bus into a mobile boombox every time we stopped to get out for a look around! There’s obviously something in the water in Dominica!

Iain tried finding it in the Emerald Pool; a beautiful oasis in the middle of the forest at the foot of a small waterfall. I was a bit put off swimming by the large local women half naked and having a wash in the pool, but Iain just dived right in there and made some new friends.

We were treated to a very expensive lunch at Randy’s Rip-off Restaurant in the middle of nowhere, where the locals were picking up takeout for a couple of dollars and we got stung for $50US for rice and beans! We were also disappointed in the Carib Territory - supposedly the last remnants of the original Carib culture in the Caribbean, now reduced to selling useless tourist tat to people passing by. I'm sure the baskets were hand made by the Caribs but really, what are you gonna do with them?!

The afternoon was spent mostly driving with an occasional short stop to stretch our legs; through picturesque fishing villages and river canyons, past white sand beaches and craggy coast. It was a long drive, and we spent longer in some places than we wanted and less time in others where we would have liked to, and in hindsight we should probably have split the trip up had we known how long the day would be, but we certainly saw a lot of Northern Dominica in a short time, which unfortunately on this trip was all we had.

Finally we arrived back in Portsmouth where we were gobsmacked to see the seemingly 3rd world town is actually teeming with American students who attend the very modern and quite prestigious Medical School there! Although most of what you see is genuinely poor and steeped in tradition, the island is obviously started to get back on a better economic footing.

The East coast of Dominca; wild, windswept beaches

The gorgeous Emerald Pool

Iain taking a pummelling

Roseau; a colourful, vibrant Caribbean City

Caribbean Townhouse



The next day we headed down the coast to the coastal town of Roseau; as I’d so far omitted to check in or out of Dominica, I felt we needed to and we were treated to the most straight-faced customs officer on the face of the earth – outside Chicago that is.

Again, we were “assisted” in picking up a bouy by one of the boat boys, although a lot of times the water along the leeward coasts is so deep that anchoring can be tricky. Of course, the bouys are laid in all the decent anchoring spots!

Roseau itself is a great town; very picturesque, traditional, and so far unspoiled by tourism. Bustling and lively with some wonderful ramshackle caribbean houses, it has so far escaped the heckling, hassling ways of many of the other places we’ve been. We finally splashed out on a few souvenirs; I got a T-shirt and Iain a calabash something or other…..not quite sure what it was, are you, Iain?

Roseau Townhouse


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