Our one night early explore trip turns into many by the hospitality and cordial guests of the island of Dominica. At first we signed up for one night on the mooring ball, an inexpensive $12USD per night and a 30ecd trip to customs, but then an “indian river” trip sounded fun so we signed up with “Providence” for a 7:30am trip the next day. Yes either we are old or we don’t sleep much at anchor, but by 7:30am we’ve already accomplished many boat chores and stuff. Providence is slowly motoring up, a head of schedule and we board and head to the ‘canoe trip’ up the island sanctuary.
Its a national park and river, so no motorized vehicles past the bridge, we stop lift the engine and Providence rows us up river, not a class 5 rapid, but there is still current. A quick trip to the left and you can see the home of the witch Calypso from the the movie the Pirates of Caribbean. Unlike down island the shack is well preserved, but I wouldn’t want to walk on the dock. Rumor has it, Johnny is still sleeping up in there, and it was all that I could do to keep Christine from jumping over board to take that chance.
On the way back down the tributary, Martin ( “Providence’s real name” ) snagged a daddy crab from the shore to show us the biological parts of a crab, this one was male – proven by what the crab had hidden in its cod piece. Large pinchers could have easily removed a finger but since they have gills, and can live underwater, he was released with out injury.
Lots of botanical knowledge (Providence is a botanist) and quietness shared as we were the first on the river that morning. All the way to the end and found the bar, the downsides of early risers is the bar isn’t open yet.. Doh!. Hiked a bit, heard the national bird, a parrot on the flag after all, and some large trees and beautiful flowers. Definitely worth the trip. As we were just finishing our tour we could hear the next boat approaching, turns out it was another guid Martin (Providence) trained.. Cracked a fresh coconut from the river and shared the water, and meat – never really a fan of coconut in cookies, but fresh like that – I cleaned it out. Came away with an herb for my cough, a bouquet for Christine and a magical leaf that will sprout roots without water or soil.
Back to the boat after a 2+ hour tour and… and we decided to stay and explore .. after a few boat chores of course.
Joker man, Joker I am…
Why they call it a joker, i’m not sure – but its the valve that keeps the nasties from coming back up in the toilet. They need replacing every year or so, and its time. So that was the *shitty* boat task that is now complete – but we’ll be revisiting it later as I think the diverter value needs some attention too as the holding tank was also full. Check back in January on this pleasant topic.
Tired of being confined to these 2 hulls and cleaning up and that darned fort staring at us. Let’s go. Dinghy to PAYS dock, and walk right to the fort. Got there around 4pm, they only had 1 ticket, so we got that one and said we’d pickup another on the way out. As we walked to the gate we were accosted by someone asking if we were going to do the hike. Yes, which one? Dunno, we’ll figure out. Turns out he was they guy taking tickets, not trying to provide us a,chaperoned trip. We go up, Christine all bound up with her lost surgical garment and long sleeves and pants but wanting to go — we go to the right to the east hill as the guy taking tickets said thats the most scenic. We thought we would do both after all, 30mins up and 30mins here and there and it started to get dark. Guess we won’t make the second summit, as we neared the fort on the way down.. I stubbed my toe, drawing more blood than the fish guts we sent overboard. Oh well, sucked it up and squeezed it for a bit and hiked down to the bar for a cold beer and gingerly walk back to the dinghy.
Lazy day.. still here trying to figure out when church starts and what to do today…Christmas Eve.
Time to explore town, found the Church for Dec 24th midnight mass. Mid Night? Hmm.. we barely make 8pm, now midnight? How is that going to happen? Ask about 25 different folks about what time midnight mass starts, and got 24 different answers. The 2 that matched were, duh – midnight.
Chilling on the boat, a neighbor swims over and introduces himself. Been out sailing for years, 8 with this boat. 3 daughters on board 2 of which have only known this boat. Chatted about the challenges of raising a family and keeping a boat cruising. Very nice. From Vail Co, boat from St Johns.
Turns out the PAYs boat boys were having a benefit to support the nightly patrols, starting at 7pm. Perfect timing for dinner, all you can eat fish and chicken, all you can drink rum punch, and music till midnight mass. PartyTime and for a good reason.. 100ec ($40 USD .. and I don’t have to cook – done!)
Music starts at 6pm, I’m are we late.. ?
We show up 7pm and sit with some crew.. odd situation on the boat and owners. Leave it at that.
As dinner is winding down, time to remove the tables and the dance floor opens up. If you know me, you know that my only move is the volume knob. Crank it up, but it’ll be a cold day before I get on the floor. However there were plenty of others who do not hold the same shame. Oh my. They had plenty of others who were not as modest. I would say russians stomp the sand like its been bad, and egg on the others to do the same. Our wallflower neighbors were plenty light, and at least a decade past ours. The local egged him on, he couldn’t resist, think limbo game, the 20 something rhythm gifted and the german holding on to youth by a follicle. Well every 10 mins someone had to help our german friend up off the sand floor, and eventually when we were heading to church for midnight mass at 10pm we gave his “lady friend” a ride back to the boat, and the PAYs boys towed the dingy and the other guy back to the boat. Note: When I started “sweet and low” (our dinghy) her eyes lit up and said in .. crossed eyes.. what is that.. I mentioned 25.. and she understood – we had the POWER.
Good deed done on Xmas eve, we sung by the boat for cold beverage for the ride to the church. Is that wrong? The fishing dock is a bit a way, and after so many rum punches, needed something with less booze in it.
We get to the fishery dock, lots of boats in there at 10:30pm find a spot for sweet and low, lock her up and tied loosely to the dock. Martin (Providence) had said NOT to lock it up, but it was so late and no one seemed to be coming in, so to hopefully have a ride home.. I locked it up.
We walked down the dock, and arrived the locked gate and then out of the darkness. Tim Burton could not cast this guy so well. Dark full length leather jacket, shinny completion and scary as Laurence Fishburn from the Matrix asked if I “Lurked the dinghy” ? Yes I translated that to “I’m sorry sir, I’l unlock and be right back” ..
Fixed the errs of my ways, and we are off to Church, and we find the place by the music. We arrive at 11p and its in full swing already. Christine gets ushered in, I look in my right hand and its a 1/2 full beer. Something wrong about going into the church with a beer, so I step back. Listen to the sermon outside for a while, and decide its rude to not be a part of something that Christine enjoys so find a hiding spot and hide the beer and wait for a break to find the pew. All good, 2 hrs later its wine and cracker time – my cue to split. She goes forward for Communion, I go back .. and the beer is gone – no worries its the fresh long horn coozie thats missing is disappointing.. oh well.. back to the boat.. another great evening to sleep…. early for the next adventure. I might add that church started at 10p and finished around 2a. We were an hour late and left 30 minutes early and still sat through 2.5 hours of sermon.