In Dominica there is only one place for a cruising ship to dock. So either there is one or there isn’t, and it pretty much dominates the scene if it is there. Even if you somehow manage to miss the fact that there is no huge hulk cruise ship, you notice the lack of other tourists by the amount of taxi drivers asking if they can take you anywhere. That’s how we met ‘Ninja man’.
We had one full packed day doing the typical tourist stuff with the Yoshimas. There are three places quite close together & we had heard from someone that if we could get ‘n bus close to the first place we could walk between the places. However, when we went to the tourist buro to find information about a bus, the lady behind the desk told us the places were in fact in three different villages and although they were technically hiking distance from each other, there were valleys and mountains in between, filled with dense rainforest. We were all just starting to wonder ‘what now?’, since there was a cruise ship in town and taxis would not be as easily available, when Ninja-man saw us and came to offer his services again. So after fixing a price all ten of us bundled in and enjoyed the ride up into the mountains to the first stop: Ti Tou Gorge.
At Ti Tou Gorge there’s a short walk from the car to what looks like a small pool of fresh water. There is however, water flowing into it out of a ravine that bends & curls so as to keep the source hidden from your eyes. The source is the very reason you’re here; to swim up the ravine to the waterfall at the end. There were quite a few people trying to get us to hire life jackets. We politely declined, although it was interesting to see that most of the cruise ship tourists got themselves the jackets. I think our guide was a bit concerned that we didn’t get any jackets, even just for Sophia and Maria, because the current does get quite strong close to the waterfall and once you start swimming there is no place to stand. That might have been one of the reasons he swam with us.
After expressing intense interest to jump into the pool from above, Ninja-man showed us the perfect place to jump in: right into the mouth of the gorge : ).
The water was so refreshingly cold, striking quite a contrast with the almost body temperature seawater we usually swim in.
The ravine is no more than 1.5 meter wide, and the rocky walls rise at least 2 meter above you. As you swim in and around the corner the light takes a twilight texture and the world becomes quiet, except for the gentle splashing of the water (obviously our excited shrieks don’t count – Maria’s exuberant enthusiasm was contagious).
From above, the trees look down and the ferns peek over the edge while the sunlight falls softly through their leaves. The gorge isn’t very long or big, but it is beautiful. Soon the narrow ravine opens up into a small cavern before closing in again and going to the waterfall. At the far side of the cavern is a ledge where we could stop for a while and just soak in the beauty. A part of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ was filmed here – the part in the second movie where Will and the crew run from the cannibals and then fall into a gorge. We watched the movie recently and it was very fun to recognize it in the film; just hard to imagine the rather larger gorge the movie was implying.
We could almost get close enough to the waterfall to touch it, but not quite. There is a ledge just at the waterfall where you can wedge yourself so you don’t need to constantly fight the current to be able to look at the waterfall.
The next stop was Trafalgar falls; two waterfalls diagonally next to each other. We could see them from afar, but to go closer required an extra fee. The six of us decided to go, but uncle Ricardo and aunty Helena decided to stay behind, but sending their kids with us.
Standing on the viewing platform we could see the one fall to the right and almost below us, and the other to the the left & above us. A cascade of boulders flowed down from the waterfall right to where the stairs from the platform stopped.
My mom stayed behind with our stuff, and the rest of us went on Expedition ‘Climb As High As You Can’ (which was all the way to the top, by the way : P). I have always loved climbing boulders like this; it’s like you’re discovering secret pathways up the mountain. The viewing platform looked so small from where we stood next to the waterfall.
The last place and the best one to end off the day, was the hot sulphur springs. This one also required an extra fee, but it was definitely worth it. There were three tubs with naturally hot water from the mountain flowing into them. The perfect place for a nice soak – and for people living on a boat where hot water is limited and a bath unavailable it was especially nice. I think my mom enjoyed it the most.
Karin Jnr, however, didn’t even get in the baths because she couldn’t understand why after the hot climb up to the waterfall, we’d now want to get into even hotter water. However, she enjoyed herself immensely because of the permission granted for her to use my camera, and she got to wear my dad’s watch.
The water soon became too hot for restless Maria and soon we were all alternating between the tubs and the cold mountain stream flowing right next to us.
I think my mom was the only one who didn’t go spend some time in the stream : P; possibly the Yoshima adults as well.