Emerald Pool and Trafalgar Falls

Emerald Pond, Dominica

Emerald Pool, Dominica

The day we go on a road trip around Dominica with a rental car which we share with our good Aussie friends Mel and Caryn s/v Passages we visit many sites all over the island, the east coast and the west coats and the middle. We take our time in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The park is an area of volcanic activity including the Valley of Desolation with its boiling mud ponds and small geysers, and the Boiling Lake which we have already visited, as well as a few rivers and waterfalls.

Trail to Emerald Pond, Dominica

Trail to Emerald Pool, Dominica

First we hike to Emerald Pool through the beautiful lush rainforest vegetation covering pretty much the entire island. It is just a few minutes walk on a very well managed trail, with steps and handrails, from the visitor’s center where we have to present our weekly park passes.

Emerald Pond, Dominica

Mira at Emerald Pool, Dominica

As we get to the pool we all go Aaah!

Emerald Pool, Dominica

Emerald Pool, Dominica

The small waterfall is a charming very delicate 50-feet chute coming down from the grey rocks above, between branches and roots, cascading into a crystal shallow pool of blue-green water in front of a small grotto.

Maya at Emerald Pool, Dominica

Maya at Emerald Pool, Dominica

We swim in the pool, shower under the fall, climb the rocks around, and just chill in the shade of the forest.

Emerald Pool, Dominica

Emerald Pool, Dominica

Ivo and Mira at Emerald Pool, Dominica Photo by Mel

Ivo and Mira at Emerald Pool, Dominica
Photo by Mel

Next, we drive to Trafalgar Falls.

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

The hike to the falls is again very short, on a path through the forest. We see the two falls from a distance, Mother and Father,

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Two spectacular waterfalls, but really hard to get closer to.

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

We climb over huge boulders and walk over fallen trees above the river which runs fast and furious here. Some places are dangerous.

Maya at Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Maya at Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Maya, like always jumps from boulder to boulder like a mountain goat and reaches the first fall before the rest of us.

Ivo at Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Ivo at Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

This chute is massive, the water is booming down loud and angry, with strong wind rushing from the canyon.

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

The pool bottom is sandy with rocks and some spots are very deep.

Mira underwater, Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Mira underwater, Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

We splash around some more and Ivo conquers the biggest tallest rock, as usual.

Ivo at Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

Ivo at Trafalgar Falls, Dominica

On the way back from the falls, next to the rive, there is a hot water stream coming down from Boiling Lake, forming yellowish geothermal ponds of very hot volcanic water.

Mira in a hot water pool

Mira in a hot water pool

So hot it’s hard to stay too long. It feels like a hot bathtub. I miss hot bathtubs…It has been a long time since I have been a tub with hot water, and I really enjoy this one. We soak int the hot waters, then run to the cold water of the river to cool down. Then repeat.

Ivo

Ivo is zen

Until it starts getting late and it’s time to go home, back to the anchorage in Plymouth, back on the boats.

Plymouth anchorage, Dominica

Plymouth anchorage, Dominica

 

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Tall is Her Body

Tall is her body, her spirit young and independent. With devastating energy, she is fresh and attractive like no other: Dominica, „Isle of beauty Isle of splendor, Isle, to all so rich and rare…“(Dominica’s National Anthem)

Plymouth anchorage, Dominica

Plymouth anchorage, Dominica

The independent island-nation of Dominica stands out in the group of the Lesser Antilles Islands like a gorgeous young girl in a crowd. The youngest of all other islands in the region she is still being shaped by volcanic and geothermal activity making her the island with the most diverse, rich, unspoiled nature. Tall mountains and volcano craters covered with rainforest, home of rare plant and animal species, hundreds of lakes, rivers and waterfalls, hot springs, sandy beaches and reefs: land and waters teaming with life.

Dominica, East Coast

Dominica, East Coast

Here, we climbed the tallest of her peaks: Morne Diablotin standing at 1,447 meters (4,747 ft) above the sea level, the most unconceivable hike we have ever done, and we walked up to Boiling Lake, the second largest hot-water spring in the world, a lake inside a crater that is actually boiling!

Mira at Boiling Lake, Dominica

Mira at Boiling Lake, Dominica

We jumped in deep river-ponds, we bathed in geothermal pools, we showered under spectacular waterfalls, and we swam among hot bubbles coming out of coral reefs.
In the forests, where wild mango, grapefruit, and banana trees offered us snacks, we met the green Sisserou parrots, endangered endemic birds, which flew above our heads screaming like mad sorcerous some cacophonic warnings. And on the road, near a vast banana plantation, a shy agouti crossed our path.

Huge grasshopper, Dominica

Huge grasshopper, Dominica

During his second voyage, Columbus, his imagination stiff by the tropical heat, gave her the present name, Dominica, as it was Sunday when he passed by on November 3, 1493, and he had run out of saints for naming islands. But her original inhabitants, the Carib and Kalinago Indians used to call their island Wai‘tu kubuli, meaning “Tall is her body” for her many volcanoes and mountains with peaks lost inside clouds.

View of Dominica's West Coast from Morne Diablotin

View of Dominica’s West Coast from Morne Diablotin

As the neighboring islands were settled by the French and the British, their native populations decimated, their lands planted with sugarcane harvested by imported African slaves, Dominica remained unsettled, a neutral territory and a sanctuary for all remaining Caribs in the region until the 18th century. Today, Dominica is the only Eastern Caribbean island where about 3,000 pre-Columbian Caribs still live in a few small villages on the east coast: a designated Carib Territory.

Ivo at Trafalgar Fall, Dominica

Ivo at Trafalgar Fall, Dominica

As we went to visit them, we met Matilda Archibald selling woven baskets and hats by the road to passing tourists. She offered us guavas from her garden and a homemade ice cream from a large spiky fruit we’ve never seen before. It was fragrant and sweet.
“Comeback and visit me again”, she said. We would love to comeback, we thought as we kept going.

Matilda Archibald, descendant of the Carib Indians, Carib Territory, Dominica

Matilda Archibald, descendant of the Carib Indians, Carib Territory, Dominica

Further down the road we marveled at stunning vistas from tall cliffs: gorgeous bays with vegetation-covered rocks sticking out of the sea among reefs, another one of the many locations on the island providing the film set for The Pirates of The Caribbean.

Dominica's East Coast

Dominica’s East Coast

Later, we went for a dip at Champagne Reef, near Roseau, the capital, where geothermal volcanic activity not far from the shore has transformed a large underwater area into a bowl of bubbling ticklish champagne. Snorkeling there is a magical fun experience with hot fuzzy bubbles bumping into your goggles.

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Yes, even though Dominica is the least popular of all the Caribbean destinations, getting half the amount of visitors per year than Haiti, even though her economy is very much struggling, as most independent Caribbean nations, with poverty and unemployment her biggest issues, and even though land and water pollution are threatening the health of her rivers and coastal areas, Dominica is still ‘The Nature Island’, very much self-sufficient, where agriculture is the main economy and the inhabitants produce and consume an impressive amount of local fruits and vegetables, with unlimited freshwater supplies, clean hydroelectric production, as well as a geothermal project developed by Iceland, and many effective social and healthcare resources available to the population.

Maya at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Maya at Champagne Reef, Dominica

This is the Caribbean island with the most rivers and nature trails, and we enjoyed every moment of our two week visit there. We fell deeply in love with Dominica. We even thought that if we had to choose only one island in the Caribbean where we would return and even live, it would be her.

Emerald Pond Waterfall, Dominica

Emerald Pond Waterfall, Dominica

 

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