Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More From Dominica

Mother Nature sculpted the terrain at Red Rock.
As we continued our island tour with Paul, we visited a volcanic area which was most interesting. The area is called Red Rock. From a distance, it looks like the red rocks of Sedona, AZ. However, it is the compressed ash of a very old lava flow. When walking on it, you see the sculptural forms created be Mother Nature. This is just one of the many reasons the Dominicans refer to their island as the island of beauty. Apparently the local young people come here to party. Occasionally one will slip into one of the crevasses and break a leg or something. Sounds like things kids do everywhere!
A beautiful view from on top of Red Rock.

Dominica: Adventures of Day Two

On our second morning, Martin picked us up at the boat and took us in his boat up the Indian River. The area is now a National Park so access is limited to rowing the boats. No power motors allowed. This is a good thing because part of the beauty of the river boat tour is the serenity of the area.We were the only ones in the river until the end of our two hours when we saw a couple of other boats rowing up stream. They seem to have a path they follow so everyone sees the same sights while not causing a boat jam.

Martin jumped out of the boat to grab the crab for us to see.
Catch and release, of course, in a National Park!
Your senses become overloaded with the sounds, sights and smells. With hundreds of species of birds calling out and other creatures popping out of trees and undergrowth, you are totally immersed in nature. Martin hopped out of the boat at one point to catch a large male crab so we  could see it up close.

The roots are beautiful sculptures

One of the most fascinating sights was the trees and their roots that form beautiful wooden sculptures along the banks. Some of the trees are up to 400 years old.
The roots were like drift wood sculptures with a
beautiful patina.
The banks are lined with these beautiful trees. Their roots create a gallery of wooden sculptures,. The photos cannot capture the beauty or detail.

I was fascinated with the roots of these old trees.
The blood root trees line the banks of the river near the mouth. They and several other types of plants play a role in filtering the salt from the water. As the water flows in from the salty ocean, it moves up the river. The fresh water flows down from the hills. These trees and several other plant species have learn to adapt by filtering the salt out of the water so they can survive. Mother Nature sure is clever!

We saw Mullet fish, egrets, cranes, several species of hummingbirds and many others. Most of the plants and animals have a scientific name and a Carib name. It was interesting to hear both of them.

The black thing is the termite nest.
One of the most interesting things we learned was about termites. They live in large black sacs hanging 5-6 feet in the air off living trees. They do no harm to living trees. Their role is to "trim" the dead wood off trees and eat things that have fallen in the forest. We had been wondering about the black lines we had seen running up palm trees. It turns out that the. Termites do not like daylight so they create a tunnel or covered path from the ground up to the top of the palm trees and ascend the tree out of the sunlight. Look for it on the next palm tree you see. The termite nests are always up in the air as they do not like wetness. Their job is to eat the dead growth after the coconut has fallen.
We saw a variety of birds including this egret.

We also learned that the coconut palm grows two rings a year. So you can tell the age of a coconut palm by counting the number of rings and dividing by two. Dominica is covered with palm trees at all elevations as a result of early plantations planting them. When a coconut falls and is not harvested, it will send up a shoot and send down roots to create a new tree. The young shoots are gathered to put into salad or create hearts of palm.

This is a structure built for the movie Pirates of
the Caribbean
but left as it is a replica of what
might have been there.
We discussed the issue of longevity as recently their 128 citizen passed away. Since they grow all of their food in the mountain farms, people each mostly fruits and vegetables with some eggs, chickens and goats. The land is so fertile that fertilizers and other chemicals are not used. People trade what they grow with others who grow different crops. There is a bartering system in place. If you help someone for two days, you can expect him to help you for two days. They are proud to take care of one another.
The canopy of leaves created a feeling
of an outdoor room over the river.

Dominica is a relatively new country in terms of its independence. The people are very proud of their country and very warm to visitors. Many of the younger and middle aged people played a role in founding the new government. Martin very proudly sang their national anthem to us after explaining the design of their flag. It is a very lush country and the people are trying to take care of the natural beauty.

We are looking forward to stopping here on our return trip in a couple of years. And we will be calling Martin on VHF Channel 16 again. Thanks for a wonderful experience, Martin.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sherry, Dennis,
    I'm soooo glad Loretta was able to join you on your journey. It seems she picked the perfect time, too, as it was well below zero with over a foot of snow in Detroit! I just spoke to her and she's already wishing she was back in the islands! Your blog is fabulous, especially interesting are comments and photos on the local color, food, drinks and sightseeing. I'm hooked up to receive every post by email and look forward with envy to the next post!!!

    Fair winds and following seas,
    Tim Ames


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