April 22nd, 2019
A Stop in Dominica
Last October, we stopped at the port in Roseau, Dominica, during the course of a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Dominica is a tiny island located in a string of islands between Antigua and St. Lucia. Dominica is NOT the Dominican Republic, which is a completely separate island over six hundred miles away. The island of Dominica is nicknamed the "nature island” because of its diverse terrain—mountains, waterfalls, beaches, volcanic remnants, and lush rainforests are only a few of nature’s wonders you may see if you visit Dominica. We visited the island a little over a year after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. There were many houses and businesses without roofs, or using tarps for roofs, and some buildings were completely uninhabitable. Despite the devastating effects of the hurricane, it was obvious the island was in a state of recovery and the people were very friendly and welcoming. We were the first ship to port for the season, and we were warmly greeted by school children in uniform singing to us and handing out flowers.
As with many Caribbean islands, tourism is their number one industry, and the efforts to rebuild and restore Dominica to its pre-hurricane status were evident everywhere. We took a tour of the island and road construction was an obvious priority as we were on newly paved roads which were better than a lot of the roads in West Virginia. As we traveled up into the mountains we drove by a lot of beautiful flowers and fruit that grow wild on the island, and saw the rain forest, a river, and Trafalgar Falls. We ended up stopping at what I would call a little roadside bar, where we had a drink and sampled fresh pineapple, guava and star fruit, which are native to the island. Upon our return to the port, our driver was very concerned that we had a good tour and a good experience with him, and we assured him we had. There was another group interested in a tour and he tracked us down and asked us to give him a good recommendation, which we gladly did. Again, tourism is very, very important to the economy and is the number one industry for many of the Caribbean islands, so the islanders usually strive to please.
Although we saw devastation and some poverty, we also saw the strength and resilient spirit of the people of Dominica as they struggled to rebuild their island. It was very eye-opening and heartwarming, and I look forward to going back some day for another visit.