Sorry that I have got a bit behind on my updates, my tablet keeps deciding that it doesnt really like its sd card and my camera went through a stage of refusing to transfer photos to Edward’s laptop, but here we are now, up and running again…
On leaving Roseau we headed north to Portsmouth, the only other anchorage in Dominica. This is where I have stayed previously when stopping in Dominica, we moored the Pelican on the cruise berth at Cabrits, on the far north side of the bay, this time being much smaller we anchored off the beach closer to the middle of the bay.
One of the trips I remember vividly from last time was the Indian River tour. Which involves being rowed up a river through mangroves and then through forest, to a small bar with its own ‘botanical’ gardens.
Our guide was called Alexis, and we did the trip with two Canadians, one of whom does the trip every time friends of his come out.
The banks of the river were teaming with life, huge land crabs which have the odd feature of one claw much larger than the other one.
The river had a very peaceful feel to it, you could hear the birds and animals in the forest, and the creak of oars as Alexis rowed us up as far as we could go up before the river got too shallow. In the whole time we only passed two other boats, one heading down as we were about half way up, and one reaching the top as we were leaving.
It is hard to describe the feeling on the river, it is very calm and peaceful, but also slightly eerie, it is no wonder that it was picked as the site for Calypso’s shack in Pirates of the Caribbean. The scene when they paddle up the river to the shack with all the ‘spirits’ standing in the water holding lanterns.
We passed the point where the shack used to xit but there was nothing there anymore, as the films producers had decided to take everything away and leave the forest as they found it, despite the locals asking for it to be left.
The banks of the river are covered in these amazing roots, which help to hold back the soil built up in the banks and stop it from being washed away. These are the roots of the blood tree, so named because if you cut the tree it oozes red sap, like blood. Incidentally these are not good trees to use in building as when it has dried the termites love it.
When the river passes the bar it turns into a very shallow stream, when we walked up here to take a look at it there was a local man washing his clothes in a bend in the river. This river is the only river on the island to be named after the native Indians which used to inhabit the Islands, they loved this river as they were able to get a lot of food out of it due to its brackish nature. The river contains fish, shrimp, crab and the banks are lined with coconut palms.
Portsmouth, the town at the mouth of the river used to be the capital of Dominica but this moved to Roseau because the mangrove swamps around Portsmouth were home to lots and lots of mosquitoes which were transmitting malaria. These days the mangroves have dried up a lot more and malaria is no longer a problem.