I was invited on this hike by a few local friends who hired a guide, which is normally not my thing but I thought why not this time!
The trek to boiling lake takes just over 6 hours starting and ending with the beautiful Titou Gorge! Which I swam in on the way back. It was amazing! The trek to boiling lake was a straight slog up the hill and just as we got to the top the rain started and there was no where to hide so we all got very wet. But on we pressed and the rain gave way for a time until we reached the top of the Valley of Desolation, where the wind and the rain came back with vengeance! I have never seen rain go upwards before but on that day I saw it! But down we went, down into the valley. Which was actually very beautiful when the rain let up, pretty bleak (in a good way) otherwise. After a short Geology lesson and a walk where we had to avoid numerous pitfalls filled with boiling water we continued down the valley. An hour on from the Valley of Desolation we started passing numerous iron rich rivers which are a light turquoise colour. They looked like something out of a fantasy film. A short trip from these rivers brought us finally to the Boiling Lake, which is a lot bigger than it looks from the photographs. Too big for my camera to capture it all. With a sheer drop all the way round the lake we sat down for lunch right on the side where you can feel the hot steam coming off the lake. But just as we sat down, the rain gods awoke and BOOM! Torrential rain in 3 seconds! Fortunately I had a large water proof tarp with me, so I made a shelter and sat down to lunch. The shear cliff back up the Valley of Desolation was brutal but we made it back safe and sound! And I finished as I said with a dip in Titou Gorge! Great trip! Guide was a bit of a Photo Nazi and pretty sure some of this facts were a little off but very enjoyable trip!
Section 3 was less eventful than section two, but the Clare river about halfway was an absolute delight! I did get a good view of some of the hillside villages and farmland as I went however and I had a lovely chat and a beer at Brenda's Bar in Wotton Waven so a good day in the end, but not as good as section two! Still section 4 awaits and that has some beautiful sights to see or so I hear!
The Waitukubuli National Trail is 115 mile hiking trail that covers the best that Dominica has to offer (see map attached) and is split up into 14 sections. I started on section 2 (section one is closed due to landslides) and it was beautiful! Starts in the town of Soufriere then climbs up past some sulfur springs and into the agricultural landscape of the islands centre with a loop round the base of a mountain range at the end. This 7 mile section took me about 5 hours with a very generous lunch break. I greatly enjoyed it. Looking forward to completing section 3 next week!
Took a visit down to Scott's Head this weekend. Scott's head is a small peninsular of land at the far south island. The isthmus between scott's head and the main land has the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other the Caribbean side forming a nice bay which is perfect for snorkeling! Which was the main reason for my visit and a very successful visit it was as I was fortunate enough to be able to snorkel with a young hawksbill turtle. Every time I have been diving or snorkeling I have missed the turtles so it was very rewarding to finally swim with one!
The bus ride back was rather interesting, with 18 people crammed in the back of a 12 seater bus, travelling Italian job like roads at 50mph... with a pair of fins (flippers) hitting me in the face at every turn. But well worth it!
Thought I would include a fantastic video from the expedition I was part of in 2015 with the British Exploring Society! The soundtrack for the first 2/3rds is by my group of Young Explorers (The mighty Equipo). Oh and the crazy flame wielding man at the start... is me.
Well Carnival Monday and Tuesday have rolled around! We were very fortunate enough to have a local school build us a float for the school parade on Carnival Monday so I spent the entire week and weekend before that organizing the logistics to get it set up in time etc. Fortunately it was all sorted the night before so I was free to enjoy "Jouvert" which is the opening of Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Essentially it is a huge street wide drinking session starting at 4am, yes you read correctly. I rocked up at 6am however to start the day. Then hitting the school parade at 10am, the school parade basically involved dancing in the street around our float while wearing a frog head piece and making sure the children with us did not die of dehydration of get too hungry. All in all an enjoyable experience! It was nice seeing the different costumes and listening to a song about a politician getting crabs played over and over again! But I was exhausted for most of it!
Here is a link to the song, which you have to hear! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg61pre8h88
After being adopted, like a stray dog, by the University of Delaware I was invited to go with them to Indian River. A large river to the north of the island, historically used by the native Dominicans. There is also a bar at the end, which sells a rum punch called Dynamite, I think this might have been added after the native Dominicans... maybe. The river was also used to film some of the scenes from the 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean movie, not that I have seen it... Great story, no?
Well I made it my quest for 2016 to catch some of the elusive baby frogs from one of our main survey sites. And fortunately I managed to spot and catch one of the 2 this week. Very positive to find a frog of this age (6 months old) in another site which was hit by tropical storm erika. We now have confirmation of successful breeding in two sites across the island. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by University of Delaware students for the last two weeks, several of whom came on a number of night surveys and night feeding at the facility. It was a pleasure to have guests on the project and to thank them for their interest in the project we named one of the frogs YoUDee after the University of Delaware mascot, which happens to be a Chicken. Good week for the Mountain Chicken Project!
Carnival is a month long thing in Dominica, it starts off with various opening ceremonies across the island. So I went to see the opening festival in Roseau.