Dominica was incredible. We left yesterday and I feel like there were hundreds of other things I would have loved to have the time to do. I had no idea what to expect when I walked off the gangplank Sunday morning. First of all, I had never even heard of Dominica before. I had just been assuming that it was a port in the Dominican Republic. But no. They are not associated at all. In fact, it is pronounced differently too. I’m trying to figure out how to type it phonetically, but its not working. Anyways, the island is a small independent nation in the Caribbean between Guadalupe and Martinique. It was a former slave island but is still inhabited by its indigenous natives, the Caribe Indians. The climate is tropical. We docked in the capital, Rousseau, which is home to about 70,000 locals. The Caribe Indians live in their own territory and there are about 1,500 pure blood natives left.
On Sunday morning I disembarked the ship early and walked down the dock to board a large catamaran. We took it out a few miles off the coast and whale watched. Although there was no guarantee we would see whales, we actually saw about 15 of them in a pod with their calves (baby whales). We watched them feed which is really cool. The whales form a circle with the baby whales in the center and the adult whale’s tails facing outward. In this way, if a predator approaches the whales just smack them with their tails (which weigh about one ton). I also learned that full-grown sperm whales eat about one ton of giant squid every day. The whales catch the squid by emitting a sound that temporarily paralysis them and then the whales drag the squid to the surface. Because giant squid live so deep in the sea they cannot adjust to the pressure of being dragged up so quickly. Once they reach the surface the squid actually explode and the whale pod snacks on the bits and pieces of the exploded squid. Okay, enough whale facts.
The rest of that day was spent exploring Rousseau, which is full of marketplaces, shops, restaurants, ect, of literally every kind. On Monday morning Moriah and I wandered around the French Quarter and in the afternoon I jumped in an open air jeep and went off-roading through the jungle. First, we stopped at some sulfur hot springs which are all over the island. The locals call these springs their “life savers” because these vents allow the core heat of the island to be let out without causing their volcanoes to erupt. The water in the hot springs reaches over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. From there we drove through the jungle for a few hours, it honestly looked like paradise. I wish I could upload some pics to show you; this place actually looks fake. We made our way to an underground river that we all swam through. The water was like ice but it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We swam to an underground waterfall and through caves and caverns. Suckily, I could not take any pics of the underground river because since the current was quite strong I needed both arms for swimming, However, if you want to see it, parts of Pirates of the Caribbean II are filmed on the island. Like, you know that scene when the crew is hanging in balls off the side of a cliff in a deep gorge? Yeah, that’s there. Also, all of the fictional inhabitants of the island who were worshiping Johnny Depp were all played by pure blood Caribe Indians. All in all, it was one of the most amazing tours I’ve ever been on in my life.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find time for an internet café and the internet here is still way too slow to post pictures. I hope I can find some time in Brazil, which is where I will be in about 4 days. Miss all of you! Hope all is well back in the states!!