Dominica On Domingo!

Dominica On Domingo!

We are in the Caribbean at an island called Dominica at the port of Rouseau. Frankly speaking, I had never heard of the island of Dominica prior to this trip around the world on Semester At Sea so everything we learned was new to us!

Dominica named a, “Best Trip of 2011”

20 Best Trips of 2011 — National Geographic.

Looking for an out-of-the oridinary destination for your next vacation? Check out these 20 top trips, hand-picked by National Geographic Traveler editors as the best of 2011.

The name Dominica came from Christopher Columbus when he re-discovered this Island on Domingo. It was Sunday so the name stayed with a minor twist from the original Spanish word for Sunday.  We are here on Domingo or Sunday and absolutely everything is closed except the ship tour programs. The guide explained that the town center shuts down on all Holidays and every Sunday.
This is an untouched island with tin roof homes of Caribbean colors and people who love their community and island. The smile of the island inhabitants is contagious as they are just happy inside and out. I took some video which I will upload on Monday when the cyber café opens and I can have enough bandwidth. The ship has limited Internet access so uploading videos is strictly prohibited.
Facts about Dominica:
• The island is 29 miles long and 16 miles wide.
• The major business is agriculture with 11 varieties of bananas.
• There are no monkeys on the island. There are 4 types of snakes none of which are poisonous
• Population 72,000.
• They have the worlds 2nd largest boiling lake.
• There are 11 dormant volcanoes with the likelihood of an eruption as very possible.
• Sperm whales live in the area year round
• China is assisting with funding the construction of roads to the rain forest and built a new soccer field.
• One of the oldest inhabitants of Dominica was 128 before she passed in 2007 and is in the Guinness Book of world    records. There are five octogenarians in Dominica so the life is good on the island.
• The currency exchange is the Eastern Caribbean dollar with the current rate at US $1 = ED $2.67. I paid $7.00 for   4 cookies at a coffee house. Cookies were my only purchase. My photos will be my memory of this quaint island.
• The average temperature is 81
• The water is a deep turquoise blue which is crystal clear!

The rainforest is recovering from hurricane David which devastated the island in 1979.
Today we took an Aerial Tram over a 47 acre rainforest in the Trafalgar Valley to Laudat, a village nestled more than 3,000 feet in the mountains.  Most of the flora was destroyed so the guide called it a “secondary rainforest “ as the vegetation was not old. We entered an aerial tram to go up and over the forest floor. At one point we were 300 feet above the riverbed and falls below.
The most amazing story of the day was that of our tour guide. He knew the scientific name of all the flora and fauna along with describing all of the animals that inhabit the island. He had the history of the economy and information on the direction of his island in easy to follow stories. One of the women on the tour dropped something when we were about 100 feet above the rainforest floor.

rainforest floor

She didn’t know what it was that she dropped but we all heard it hit the floor of the gondola then out the side of the car. The guide immediately assured her he would have someone find whatever it was that she dropped. I looked over the edge, saw the dense rainforest below and only had a “mustard seed of faith” that anyone could find the object which was not even identified at that point. Another passenger said she thought she saw something black and round fall to the ground. My question was: how in the world could he send someone to look for something which was yet to be identified? The guide called to the base operator and told a co-worker to go look for “something” black on the ground between pole 8 and 9. In my wildest dreams I questioned how some unknown object could be found on the floor of the rainforest. The guide was so confident they would find it, the feeling was electrifying. It seemed like he had a connection and KNEW where the object was, even though we had not identified what had actually fallen.

After five minutes of looking the woman who dropped the object saw in her back pack that it was her flip video cam. The guide called the ground operator and let him know what he was looking for. The group continued to climb to the top of the Tram area, took a walk over a hanging bridge and got back on the Tram. When we came to pole 8 the guide yelled down to the person on the ground and told him to look closer to the pole. In less than 15 seconds from telling the man where to look the co-worked yelled he found the video camera.

What was the message to me today or in other words…. What did I learn today?

Beauty on the rainforest floor!

The power of conviction in KNOWING and believing in what you are doing. The guide never doubted that the lost object would be found and he was right. The video camera was right where the guide thought it dropped. He directed his co-worker to find it from 100 feet above the rainforest floor. The woman who dropped the flip cam had two daughters, age 7 and 9 with her today. She was fearful of heights and was doing this just to give the kids an experience of a lifetime. What a great sense of community we all felt going through this lesson together.

The guide shared a very important gift with us today: The lesson from Dominica with one who loves his land.

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