I woke up on Monday 19 November around 7.30am within an hour of our next stop, Dominica, to find a beautiful rainbow framing a cloudy sky. The weather forecast was cloudy with expected showers – more in keeping with the UK.
Nonetheless, despite a few downpours, my sisters and I had a glorious time on the island of Dominica, which despite being ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 causing extensive damage, provided a welcoming, authentic Caribbean experience.
On disembarking from the ship, we were immediately approached by competing tour operators offering various trips around the island. In the end we decided to go with the only female, Wynant (pictured below), who won us over with her broad smile and her appeal to ‘sisterhood’.
It was raining heavily, and she shielded us with her umbrella and directed us to the local Galloway Hotel opposite the port, where we enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee and free WI FI, while planning our tour using a map of the island.
After a gruelling six hour tour the previous day in St Lucia, we decided against travelling to the Emerald Pool, which was at least a six-hour drive, and settled instead for viewing the waterfalls, visiting the Sulphur Springs and Botanical Gardens, before returning to the town centre for lunch and a browse around the local markets.
At the Botanical Gardens we learnt how in August 1979, Hurricane David, decimated the site and saw the remnant of a school bus, flattened by one of the huge trees (pictured above). Fortunately, no children were injured because it occurred during the summer break. However, the bus serves as a cautionary reminder of the ferocity of Mother Nature.
It rained at all three locations, but we were undeterred and still took in some breath-taking views. Wynant brought us to a local restaurant on the first floor of a building in town called Cravings (pictured below) , where we enjoyed the most delicious meal so far of all the Caribbean islands, along with a refreshing local beer.
After that we stopped at a local beauty parlour recommended by Wynant, where Rosiepoos had the most splendid eyelash extensions (pictured below), while we all laughed through the film, The Book Club, starring Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgh and Candice Bergen, alongside Don Johnson, Andy Garcia and Craig T Nelson.
As we drove to the various locations on our two-to-three-hour customised tour, Wynant recounted the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Maria, which saw 90 per cent of homes damaged, roads washed away, power cables down and loved ones lost.
We were therefore pleased that everywhere we went we patronised local businesses and hoped this helped in a small way to contribute towards the nation’s recovery. It was sad, given that Dominica celebrated its 40th year of independence from Britain on 3rd November 2018.
For the last hour or so of our visit the sun shone brightly, almost signalling brighter days for Dominica and hope for the future. It’s certainly somewhere we would like to revisit in the future.