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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.

Archive for September, 2010


What happens when you drop a husband and wife in rugged interior of Dominica with just the clothes on their backs and a knife they must survive for four days and nights? Well you are about to find out.

Dominica was recently featured on the season finale of Discovery Channel TV SeriesMan, Woman, Wild! The hosts, Mykel and Ruth go in search of island paradise, only to find themselves in a steaming jungle hell.

Watch to see what happens, as they test their will and their marriage, the two find common ground standing up to Dominica’s lush mountainous rainforests and steaming jungle.

Man, Woman, Wild: Dominica (1/3)

Man, Woman, Wild: Dominica (2/3)

Man, Woman, Wild: Dominica (3/3)

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An image of Dominica's coastlinePhotos by Ken Bosma via flickr

Do you believe in paradise lost? Personally I do. People were not worthy everything God gave and them and thus they were punished and thrown away from the wonderful and magnificent Eden, the blessed land of God.

However, mankind was given the second chance. This chance is called Dominica, the land that may be the echo of paradise lost.

Dominica is the paradise found. It is one of the best possibilities to imagine what the real Eden looked like, as the island of the Caribbean definitely bears some resemblance with its prototype.

Dominica is a real treasure for those who like discoveries. It is one of the few places left undiscovered on our planet. It is the place that does not fail to astonish with its secrets and mysteries. Being not that large, Dominica has something to strike numerous travelers and tourists with: more than 360 rivers, dense rainforests and unknown mountains where man has never set foot. This one of the best islands in the Caribbean, though not as touristy as the other ones.

What distinguishes this god blesses piece of earth is that it is a very quiet and gentle place. There are no international airports there so there is no reason why a person should fail to notice the slightest movements of nature, beautiful landscapes, picturesque mountains and wonderful breathtaking waterfalls. Walking along the island you can found yourself back in time or even somewhere with no time at all. There is a reason to this feeling – the beautiful is not estimated by minutes or hours. It belongs to eternity. Dominica is the land where time moves very slowly and the Dominicans appreciate this very much.

Image of a Beautiful sunrise on the island of Dominica

Nature will never let bad people inhabit beautiful land. And the Dominicans are really worth the island they live on. They are generous, hospitable and very friendly. There is some respect in their souls and hearts. This is the respect to nature and to the land they live on for everything this land gives them. Their life is quiet and plain: they grow plenty of fruit and vegetables, go fishing and keep chickens. They are very resourceful and inventive people. They use all the possibilities their land gives them: the Dominicans brew their own beer, rum and grow unique species of coffee. The natural riches of the land allow Dominica to be of the world’s largest exporters of vegetables, fruit, coffee and sugar-cane.

There are a lot of beautiful places on Dominica worth visiting. Fort Shirley is one of them. It was recently restored. The project of the restoration was headed by a great man, a poet and a historian, a man, whose heart totally belongs to Dominica – Dr. Lennox Honeychurch. The Dominicans have a very interesting life. They organize numerous festivals. One of them is Dominica fish festival or the Titiwi festival at Layou. If you visit one of them you will have a great opportunity to taste Dominica fish and to enjoy creole cuisine – a tasty treat that is served with boiled breadfruit, hot sauces and delicious Kubuli beer. You will definitely like it!

A photo of Dominican fishing boats

Dominica is a wonderful place for everyone who comes there but especially for those who are tired of the speedy rhythm of life, who lose themselves in the asphalt jungle of megalopolises. People stop seeing the beauty of the world we live in.

Dominica differs greatly from the other islands of the Caribbean basin, such as Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia. Dominica is not a usual holiday beach destination. There is no international airport there and it will probably never be built. There are no highways on the island. It is a perfect possibility to enjoy narrow streets and roads, spontaneous and unexpected switchbacks and numerous up and downs.

Once you see these landscapes, go through jungle or a rainforest you will never forget these feelings. But the most striking thing you are going to feel with your own skin is the ocean you have never seen. The coastline will strike your imagination and win your soul forever. This coastline will come to you in dreams and you will not be able to forget it even if you would ever want to.

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whale watching in DominicaPhotos by chrissie64 via flickr

Dominica is a very unique place; its nature is absolutely ravishing. Every human being who’s been given an opportunity to visit the island remains impressed for years.

One extra reason for that is the fact Dominica is the number one whale watching destination. It’s known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean” actually. Why is that? Well, the chance of seeing a whale and other animals that belong to the Cetacea order is absolutely great, greater than elsewhere. So, it’s no wonder they call it this way.

Dominica’s bays are formed by picturesque cliffs. They are good shelters for whales and dolphins, because the animals can find there all the nutrients they need. Sperm whales seem to love the places best, because they are the most frequent guests there. The other frequent species are humpback and pilot whales. Beside whales, the sea is teemed with bottlenose and spinner dolphins. These are known for their outstanding friendliness towards humans; some scientists think they might be as intelligent as us. Less frequent but still present are 17 more Cetacea species. That is, Dominica is a shelter and home for 22 species, which is two thirds of all existing cetaceans.

Sperm whales are present in Dominica all year long. They reside at Layou, Roseau, Scotts Head, and Point Round. In other places of the world, there are periods when these whales are missing. This is what never happens to the bays of Dominica. Constant presence of the females and young males helps to monitor specific whale families and discover their social life. It is possible to learn the difference between whales in a single family, and that’s what scientists only can do in Dominica. Thanks to those researches, they know how the whales distribute their care and time.

whale watching in Dominica

Wherever there are whales, there also are people who’d like to watch them and people who can make this possible. If you’re thirsty for whale watching, all you have to do is to get yourself a commercial tour. Commercial whale watching started back in 1988. Those days, some people would prefer to see the whales hunted, not prosper. Letting them be free would rather be considered a great waste. However, that changed quickly, because it was discovered that people who took fishing tours liked to watch the whales even more than to pull their fish out of the water. Of course, the guys who were giving these tours could not but pay attention to that. Thanks to their attention and wit, many of those who thought a whale can only be a prey got involved in the newly started whale watching tours. Nowadays, the tours are being conducted on the regular basis, and the common attitude to the whales is good.

The tour operators know everything about whales’ habits and mores, so they would find them fast. Besides, they use hydrophones to locate the animals. One more thing about these devices, they may be given to the tourists so they could listen to the beautiful performance of the sperm whales. Everyone must have heard whales can sing, and every tourist discovers that’s true.

Each operator follows the code which claims no luring and minimal disturbance to the whales; you may be calm about whether you are going to cause any kind of discomfort to them or not. You aren’t. Whales like communicating to people. A good evidence of that is the guy known as the Whale Whisperer (actual name Andrew Armour), who’s become famous because of his ability to “talk” to sperm whales. When he dives, he’s humming and making clicks, and the noise is always the same. The whales can hear and recognize it, so they come to him.

Interestingly, whales understand humans are able to stroke them. When both people and whales swim together, the whales may turn over so people could rub their bellies. A whale never attacks a man except for self-defense, but even in danger most of them would rather try and get away, unless protecting the calves.

Image of a sperm whale of the coast of dominica

If you’re fond of sperm whales, Dominica will become the first place in your ‘to-visit’ list. Whether you’re on a whale watching tour or making a trip or just diving or fishing, you can always come across a sperm whale. Sure, there is the period when the chances of encountering whales are the highest–from November to March. It is when the adult male whales are back. Also, this is the time when you can watch the other species, which are not present there in summer.

As of now, sperm whales number to 360,000 specimens. Comparing that datum to their former number (which is 1.1 million), you understand what a terrible effect the extensive whaling caused. Now, it is forbidden to hunt whales, but poachers don’t respect the laws and don’t care about consequences. Fortunately, the patrollers won’t let poachers feel tranquil about killing whales; and nevertheless the whale Andrew Armour met first was a wounded whale calf.

If you’re about to get yourself a tour; consider this: It’s not actually seeing whales you will pay for, it is the trip itself and the mere possibility to see them. The odds of encountering a whale are good, but they still are the odds, not guarantees. So, you have to be aware of your whale watching tour possibly becoming a plain journey, yet expensive one. That happens not too often, though, because the average tour lasts up to 4 hours. It must be quite enough to come across at least one whale. But even if you don’t, the cheerful dolphins will compensate your disappointment. Seeing sea animals in the wild is something you will never forget, even if those are not whales.

In fact, you have two options. On one hand, it’s the tours. They are well organized and comfortable. But most likely you won’t be let swim with whales. Imagine every tourist doing that, it’s exactly what an operator would call disturbance to the whales. On the other hand, you can take no tour and meet divers who like whales (you’re not going to dive alone, are you?) and get yourself equipped. In this case, you’d have all the benefits a friendly whale can give to people… But forget about organization. You are going to resolve a lot of problems by yourself.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Which one would you pick?

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