GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
The Commonwealth of Dominica covers an area of 750 km2, with the highest point being Morne Diablotins, at 1.447 metres. The population is around 80.000 of which 86.6% are Black, 9.1% Multiracial, 2.9% Island Caribs and 1.3% European or other. 95% are Christians.
It was colonised by Europeans, predominantly by the French from the 1690s to 1763. Great Britain took possession in 1763 and the island republic gained independence in 1978. Due to the hostile original inhabitants; Kalinago, and the geography with mountains, quite some nature have been preserved on this Caribbean island.
The island has lush mountainous rainforests, and it is the home of many rare plants, animals, and bird species. The Sisserou parrot; Amazona imperialis is only found on Dominica, is the island's national bird and featured on the national flag. Here are at least four amphibians, 18 reptilians, 200 birds and among the mammals are agouti and opossum and there are large numbers of elusive wild pigs, which I suspect are invasive, unlike the twelve species of bats. The sea around the island is teaming with life as well.
As I can't see anything to the sides anyway, I shift into race-mode, and the few taxis and a bus I catch up with, are real quick to pull over. I reach the hotel at nine, and get a cosy apartment with well equipped kitchen in the living-room, a bedroom and bathroom. I find the local convenience store, and buy a can of milk, put over the kettle and start working.
31. As it is Sunday, I avoid the places I think the locals are heading out to. I head into the mountains, and start with the Boeri Lake Trail. It is within Morne Trois Pitions National Park, and after I have cleared the last village, it is pure, undisturbed nature - except for the road. I find some rocks, covered in lichen, which seems to be covered in lichen! Before I reach the planned trail, I do a part of the Cheminletand Trail. Should I have the time, I would like to return.
Then I find the Boeri Lake Trail. It is through true rainforest - so true, it actually start to rain quite heavy, while I struggle to keep upright in my flip-flops on the steep and rocky trail. Having a camera in one hand and an umbrella in the other does not really help. Part of the trail is actually within a creek. Never the less, the nature is absolutely awesome, and I fight on.
The peaks started being covered in clouds, and now, they have pulled down to where I hike - or I have gone up to them. Here are a huge amount of Anolis, and I guess here are several species. Besides from them, I only see a few butterflies. I would not have been surprised to see a few dinosaurs crossing the trail.
The amount of plants are amassing, and I give up counting and making photos of them. Tree ferns, orchids, bromeliads, palms, figs, ferns and so many others are forming a green wall, wherever I look. A few places, it opens up, and I can see a valley aligned with real steep mountains, disappearing in the mist.
The trail cross several passes before it reach the apparently dammed lake of Boeri. I was actually following a pipeline up here, and it made in wood! Around half a meter in diameter, treated with tar and still functional. Well, I knew the trail was the main advent, not the lake, and I return. The rain have stopped, and I get a few glimpses of sun. Almost long enough to boot the camera - almost.
Despite the rain and difficult trail, it have been a great track, and back at the car, I set the GPS for the nearby Middleham Trail. On the way, I stop a few times, one time to get a picture of a colourful freshwater crab. When I reach the trail head, it is starting to rain, I am out of drinking water and hungry. I head back to town, only eight kilometres away.
The capital Roseau should be packed with cars, but this Sunday, it is real quiet. I find a lousy and overpriced sandwich, and head next door for the towns only Sunday open supermarket. I stock what I guess I will need for the rest of my stay.
Then I start walking around in the real quiet streets of old Roseau. I figure I might be lucky to get some pictures of the old buildings without cars in front. Here are a large area with old and pretty "used" houses, Some are ruins, other are newly restored.
Up around the cathedral, there are a few larger houses, but they are not better maintained. It is a bit of a contrast to the else so great maintained roads I have driven so far. I were thinking of Dominica as a rather rich country, but this don't ad up. Then again, roads deal better with hurricanes than houses. They got a bat one last year. I pass the old and the new market along with the fish market; all completely dead.
I return home with my shopping, and at three, I'm back at Middleham Trail. The sun is shining now, and I head into the forest. This must be on the other side of the mountain, as the vegetation is different. Here are huge trees and less under-growth - although it is still pretty massive. Middleham Trail is part of the long Waitukubuli National Trail, and still within Morne Trois Pitons National Park. I don't see many animals, but I get close to a Dominican Ground Snake; Erythrolamprus juliae.
After a good hour of tracking, I reach the beautiful Middleham Fall. It fall 84 metres, and despite it is quite narrow, it is impressive. I try to get a photo, then I head back, as I don't want to be caught out here in the dark. Further more, I need time to get through the 500 photos of the day. They all look the same: A green wall. Tagging is done in large batches. Boeri Lake Trail, Roseau, Middleham Trail and Fall
1/4. I have been recommended Emerald Pool, and head straight there in the morning. A bit along the coastal road, passing kilometres of cars, trying to get into Roseau. The road follow the beach, in the foot of a vertical mountain wall. The coastal mountain look real dry, and is mainly covered in yellow grass.
When I turn into the mountains, it changes into deep green, but still almost vertical mountainsides. Here are only a few buildings at first, and a lot of nature. I try not to make too many pictures, as they tend to look alike anyway. Even the many rivers, heading out to see are a bit alike by now.
I reach Emerald Pool, and it seems like I'm the first. The woman selling tickets is also doing the cooking, but I get her attention. Then I follow the neat trail, leading through nice nature. I see a few large Anolis on the way; Anolis oculatus.
Just as I reach the little bluish pond, it start to rain. I spend a lot of time, trying to get a fairly descent photo, but the lack of light is a problem. At least, I don't have to deal with fat Americans. When they start to arrival, and in huge numbers, I head on
Here are a single nature trail, but it is closed for maintenance. Well, so do the sign say, but I see no obstacles, and head in. It is through real nice nature, and offers a few great views; one to a huge green valley, the other to the Atlantic -way out. I find a few interesting plants like the Blue Wax Flower; Psycotria urbaniana, and some Heliconias. The parking lot is now filled with minibuses from the cruise ships, and I head on.
My next target is along the north-eastern coat, and I get to cross the mountains, to get there. It is through almost uninhabited rainforest, but the road is great. I stop at a few rivers and great views, and at one place, I find several Landcrabs; Guinotia dentata.
I pass a single big clearing with a few cows on, but most is left alone. Then I reach the east coast, which is quite wild: Huge waves and rocky beaches. Some have black sand, others seaweed. Most have a lot of driftwood. One of them have the usually almost round lava rocks, and some strange red flint-like ones too. They look so much out of place.
The road follow the coast, but some times way inland, over some tall hills. The sun peaks through from time to time, and I have the road to myself, despite here are quite some houses. Some are tiny wooden ones, other rather posh big ones. It look like the steep mountainsides on this side is partly farmed, and a lot of them have been cleared.
I get closer to some serious big mountains, steep as the smaller ones. Everything is volcanic, and not that old. I reach what almost look like a fjord, cutting deep into the land. Around noon, I find a nice beach with palms on, and sit and eat my usual lunch in the shadow.
a larger flat area, a banana plantation is found, then I reach the only
white beach in Dominica, outside Calibishie. I see the Red Rocks -
which are a bit rose, if you ask me.
When a great view get me to stop next time, I hear parrots. I wait patiently, and are rewarded with seeing they fly over my head. It is the national bird; The Sisserou parrot; Amazona imperialis. I can't get any good pictures, but is is great to have seen them.
am now reaching the northern coast, and the road is as promised;
great! It is a bit like the eastern coast, just bigger, winder and more
beautiful. I stop at a fiver, where some huge trees are standing in the
water, and their stems are fantastic.
seems like the entire northern coast road is lined
with some red Euphorbia plants, and that kind of spoil some of my photos.
Another area is scattered with red flags, most on bridges, but everywhere
In an effort to reach the most northern part, I head into a blind road, leading there by the west coast. It passes several small villages and reach the water every time. At the end, I reach Cannor Heritage Park and Capuchin Point; an old English signal post and a present day information office for the Waitukubuli National Trail, which I have meet several times. Considering how remote this is, I am surprised they have a lady sitting there. I have not meet anyone on the parts of the trail I have walked so far. But the European Community have been sponsoring this section at least, so I have paid my part.
sun is getting close to the sea, and it is time to head home. I drive along
the western coast, and closes my eyes, as I will get back soon. This coast
is significantly dryer than the other side of the island.
Emerald Pool, Central Mountains, Northern Coast