I hope this post finds you well. As promised, here is the fouth issue in my Travel Tuesdays series. So grab a pirate’s punch and let’s hoist off on an epic adventure to delightful Dominica.
Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, you will find the lush paradise of Dominica. It is also known as the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” for its refreshing natural beauty. The island boasts rare animal, plant, bird species and spectacular rainforests. It is home to Boiling Lake, the world’s second-largest hot spring. One of its tropical forests, the ‘Fresh Water Lake Trail’ can be found on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. There are many sulphur springs dotted throughout the island. Another highlight of this island is that it has the largest remaining community of Carib Indians. Since 1903, they have populated a 3,700 acre Territory on Dominica’s east coast.
I have to confess that visiting this island was a true treat for me. From the time I was a child, I remember hearing stories of Dame Eugenia Charles. The women in my family would be encouraged by my Dominican grandmother to aspire to greatness, since the ‘Dame’ paved the way for us. Dame Eugenia Charles was the first female lawyer on the island of Dominica. She then went on to become the world’s longest continuously serving female Prime Minister, holding office from 21 July 1980 – 14 June 1995. For her uncompromising stance on anti-corruption and individual freedom, she became known as the “Iron Lady of the Caribbean”. I’ve always felt a connection with her since we both have roots in the island of Dominica and we both attended the University of Toronto. She has been a role model as a strong West Indian woman who chose her own path and destiny in spite of the many challenges she faced. This is the type of legacy that I plan to pass on to my daughter.
Some other treats for me were seeing the Twin Falls of Trafalgar, taking a ride on the Ariel Tram and Zip-lining over a gorge. As we toured through the island, I marvelled at it’s green lushness and wondered why my great-grandparents would ever move away from this gorgeous paradise. We drove higher and higher into the mountains, smelling sulfer springs, viewing tropical plants and flowers I had never seen before. Our guide (who is convinced that our families are related – and I agree it’s quite possible) regaled us with botanical knowledge to marvel the mind. Before you know it, we were hiking up to see the Twin Falls of Trafalgar. What a sight to behold! I tried to capture the essence of the mother and father falls with my digital xti but no photo could fully capture the majesty and power of the falls.
Then we were driving to the Aerial Tram. When we arrived, hubby and I cosied up in the back as we coasted higher and higher above the trees. The only way I can describe it is…Zen! It was so therapeutic to slowly ascend into the sky with only the birds talking to us; we each gained a new appreciation for quiet solitude. When we arrived at the top, hubby got off to go on his planned zip-lining run and I readied myself to take another relaxing ride back down on the Tram. But before you know it, I had decided to take a leap of faith and go zip-lining too (hubby and the tram gang were very convincing). As I put on my gear, I was still very nervous. I had my group in high spirits listening to my musings. I feel the need to point out that the guides were absolutely wonderful, explaining every facet of the adventure in detail, and they were very encouraging. Here’s a shout out to Lloyd and the rest of the gang, “Holla”! Even more reassuring was that one of them always went first so you could know that the line was in working order (lol). So there I was on a platform high up in the trees about to zip over a 350 foot deep gorge – you can imagine my anxiety. But I sat into the harness, double checked that I was triple clipped to the cable, let go and ‘let God’. It felt like flying, or what I imagine flying might feel like. I shouted in exhileration as I felt the wind whip past. The first jump was the shortest (125 ft), followed by a longer one at 250 ft. We then repelled 40 ft and ended up going on the longest zip-line of the course (810 ft) over the Breakfast River Gorge. Thus, begining and ending my zip-lining career accomplishing the feat of conquering the highest zip line in the southern Caribbean. At the very end, I was so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something I’ve always thought was interesting but was too afraid to try. I originally expected to take a leisurely ride and call it a day, but I’m glad I took the road less travelled and had an epic adventure zip-lining.
Here are some of the most exciting highlights of the island:
- The Twin Falls at Trafalgar
- The Emerald Pool
- 18th Century Fort Shirley in Cabrits National Park
- Boiling Lake
- World Creole Music Festival
- Bird watching in the Northern Forest Reserve (Red-necked and Imperial parrots)
- Whales watching offshore
- Kalinago Barana Aute (Kalinago/Carib Cultural Center)
From the beautiful island of Dominica
Char a.k.a Epic Mom