Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Trip Back

Dominica is only 1/4 the size of Rhode Island and yet has a chain of mountains along it's length reaching heights of 4747 feet! There is no direct route between two points located on the shores. The building of roads for the island must have been a staggering task. We were about to find out just how staggering today. Our plane was scheduled to leave at 7:00 am and we had to be there by 5:30 am. The airport is about 25 miles as the crow flies but with the mountains and winding roads, it take an experienced driver 1.5 hours to make the trip. I was not about to make the drive myself in the dark over a route I've never driven so we hired a driver. Adding time to get ready in the morning, we had to get up at 3:00 am! The driver arrived mostly on time with a huge bus, it looked brand new. We loaded up and the driver started out on our last Dominica journey.

There was little traffic but we did see about a dozen joggers running along in the dark. However, the speed seemed about as fast as one could possibly travel on those roads! When we headed across the island I counted at least three steep climbs and descents before we finally reached the far coast when the airport was. We were told it's the only flat land on the island. It is hard to describe but also hard to exaggerate the speed of that drive. It was safe but oncoming cars and buses seemed to melt through our right side as they passed at what seemed like high speed. The fact that the side view mirrors didn't' suffer damage was testament to the fast that there was enough room although it didn't seem that way from our vantage point!

Once reaching the airport (whew!), the rest of the trip was typical airport business, very tiring. We had to connect through Antigua before reaching San Juan for our flight to Newark on Continental. Our luggage made the trip successfully and we headed north to the land of snow to be greeted with the view in the photo. It was a joy that our driveway was plowed and a tree limb was removed that had blocked the drive.

It was a great trip! Now it's time to rest up and tackle our kitchen renovation that starts Monday!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Last Day of Snorkeling and Lunch Out

The ocean finally calmed on Monday and so we headed once again to Scott's Head over the same fun road with all the switchbacks and drop offs. Ann wondered how long horns last on Dominica. One of the snorkeling spots was close to a switchback on the road and we constantly heard the honking of horns as buses and cars negotiated the turn. It reminded me of being on a boat in a deep fog when we had to sound the fog horn every two minutes. People with houses near switchbacks must get tired of the noise.

At any rate, the water was indeed calm at Scott's Head and we snorkeled for almost two hours. We saw a school of squid that was fun to watch. Christmas Tree worms were present in bright orange and as we were heading into shore, we surprised a stingray! I swam over it and took a video before snapping a photo. Thewater is so warm that you never get cold and with the calm waters, it was a joy to snorkel in the area. Eventually we had to come out and headed over our adventurous road again.

For celebration we went out to lunch in town and found a cruise ship docked. This one was German and the strange thing was that the entire area was cordoned off. There were security officers at both ends of the street and no vendors were allowed. We asked about that and heard that German ships do not like street vendors and the passengers from such ships make it a point of spending nothing on vendors. They go straight from their ship to, perhaps, a tour bus and nowhere else. It seems a shame that the local people don't get a chance to present their wares. I was told, however, that the locals love the American boats, the passengers always like to tour the vendors and buy souvenirs. Strange about some customs.  The photo below is of Scott's Head snorkeling area.