Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

Dominica!!! (Day 1)

Dominica is completely amazing!  I don't think any of us were incredibly excited about this unknown place until we got here and discovered how beautiful it is!  If you ever get a chance to go here, do it!

I started out my first day in Dominica by sleeping in.  It was only until about 8:30 but that's way better than the few preceding days.  I of course wanted to get off the ship and go exploring first thing, but 
I knew that I should save my energy for the field program I had at 2:30.  It is pretty difficult to pace myself when I know that I'm not going to be back here soon, but it's better than making myself sick and missing out completely.  I've decided that at each port, my main goals will be to participate in the field programs I have scheduled and any other time exploring instead of resting is bonus.  Going off with a group of people not on a tour presents many difficulties anyway.  For example, I don't' want people to feel burdened by me because I'm slow and may need help being pushed in the.  Also, if people go out and I can't stay out as long as them, I would have to get back on my own.  On the tours, we all stay as a group and the guides are used to helping people with disabilities.  It's a better set up for me so I am glad that I have so many tours scheduled.  :0)

Ok, back to my adventures.  I showed up really early to meet with my tour group to let the people in charge know that I was disabled and needed to bring my wheelchair.  It turned out to be way less painless than I anticipated!  People carried my chair down the stairs and off the boat for me, and I could push it from there.  The tour I went on was a 4X4 adventure tour of the island which basically means I got to ride in the open air on the back of a jeep.  Think Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland but for reals.  haha  Every single part of the tour was amazing!  The driving part was really fun with all the bouncing and getting to know my fellow SASers.  We had a great group of people so there was lots of laughing and exchanging stories.  Our tour guide was fantastic and she did a great job explaining what we were seeing and other aspects of the island.  The scenery is absolutely amazing.  It reminds me of pictures I've seen of Ecuador.  :0)  Near the coast is was pretty hot and humid but as we got up to the rain forest and higher elevation (up to 2,000 feet!) it got a lot cooler.  The landscape is very rugged with winding roads and communities build on mountainsides.  

We made a few stops on the tour as well.  The first one was at the top of a hill that looked over the capital.  We could see many of the important buildings as well as your ship.  We moved on to the botanical gardens.   Though small, there was lots to see.  I made friends with a caterpillar that kind of looked like a flamboyant silk worm.  (I raise silkworms at home as a hobby.)  I had a bit of trouble at that stop because my cooling vest was not very cold and the temperate was pretty warm.  I sat down on the ground as we stopped beside each plant and other than a few strange looks, all was well.  The next stop was a bit of a hike up some stairs that led to a volcanic water spurting thing (I am blanking on the name haha).  As we got closer, the smell of eggs got stronger.  Luckily I don't' mind the smell at all, so I hung out at our destination a bit longer than some other people.  I kneeled down to take a picture of some of the crystals I saw on a rock and got a surprise that the ground was quite hot!  There was also steam coming out of various holes in the ground a long the trail.  

Our final, and most amazing stop was again a bit of a hike down a gravel trail.  I was a little confused once we arrived because I knew we would be swimming, but I could only see a small, shallow pool of water.  Then I looked to the side an realized that what had appeared to be a sheer rock face was actually a huge gorge.  Leaning out further I saw that the gorge was so tall and steep that it looked more like a cave than anything.  If anyone has every been to The Narrows, it was kind of like that, but with black volcanic rock and vegetation outlining the distant sky.  Getting into the water took some courage.  Our guide described it as "refreshing" which naturally means mind numbingly cold.  Geared up with my waterproof camera case and a super sexy floating belt I went in.  I quickly found out that doing nothing for four years left me ill-equipped to swim up current to the waterfall that was our final destination.  I was definitely glad that I had that floating belt because I needed to stop and rest every half of a minute or so.  This was actually a good opportunity to float on my back and gaze up at the jungle and very blue sky.  After much struggling (the fun kind) and help from some very nice people, I finally made it to the waterfall (which by the way was used in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie).  I clambered up onto a rock ledge, caught my breath, and then jumped in to the base of the waterfall (another thing that took some courage.)  The way back was with the current, so it was much easier.  I was a little worried that all the exertion would take a tole on me, but I was fine getting out of the water.  There was a small display of tropical fruits awaiting us and I helped myself to some sugarcane and pineapple.  I also bought some coconut candy which was delicious and I had lots left to share.  A common local snack is a coconut bun which is coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar wrapped in dough and then cooked.  Delicious!  The coconut candy was pretty much the standard filling with the addition of ginger.  Getting back on the jeep, I felt very accomplished that I got through my first field program without incident and WITHOUT NEEDING MY WHEELCHAIR!  

The rest of the day I again reigned myself in and had an quick dinner and an early bedtime.  :0)  

P.S.  I really don't have time to proofread these, so I apologize for what I imagine are many typos.  

1 comment:

  1. That is really exciting!
    The water thing should be a Geyser or a slope fountain :^)
    The conocut think is called "cocada" in Ecuador. It is good to decline the levels of cholesterol as they say.
    Thanks for keeping us posted.


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