OK, beach fans, back to the south we go this week, for a review of Scottâ€™s Head beach. In fact, this beach is the southernmost in Dominica. As you can see in the photograph, taken from Scottâ€™s Head itself looking back toward the village of Scottâ€™s Head, the Atlantic Ocean is on the right and on the left a boatload of tourist SCUBA divers and snorkelers is departing Scottâ€™s Head Bay,which opens to the Caribbean Sea.
On the narrow isthmus connecting Scottâ€™s Head to the village of the same name, one can stand in the bay and easily throw a stone from the Caribbean to the Atlantic. The next landfall to the south is Martinique, about 35 miles away, and only faintly visible with binoculars in perfect conditions from the Head or the villageâ€™s highlands. To the north, only about 4 miles, is Roseau and one can easily see the city, the harbor, and visiting cruise ships.
Snorkeling in one of the main reasons to visit this beach, because the beach itself is small. To reach the beach, simply follow the main road. You can drive over the isthmus and park where the hill begins, then walk along the bay to the beach at the rock cliff face. It is a small sandy beach. The bottom straight out is also sandy. Thereâ€™s a natural arch at the left end of the beach (photo below) that a snorkeler can easily pass through.
Thereâ€™s always a small school of 3-inch-long shiny silver â€œhatchet fishâ€ below the arch that make a pretty sight. Snorkel out from the beach (into the Bay; Iâ€™d beware of the Gulf Streamâ€™s Martinique Channel current out toward the ocean) and you will see spires of coral and many beautiful tropical fish species. At the villageâ€™s rocky beach the snorkeler will be likely to spot beautiful multicolor eels, no two alike. You never know what will be in the Bay; we once saw a humpback whale enter the bay and stay and play for a day.
If youâ€™re adventurous and have the time, inquire at the waterfront and you should find a boatman who, for a reasonable fee, will take you to a beach reachable only by boat (or daredevil cliff climbers) a short distance to the north. Be sure to bring some water and possible a snack with you; youâ€™ll have nothing else until the boat returns.
Two more great things about Scottâ€™s Head Beach are the wonderful place to eat, Rogerâ€™s, and to stay, Ocean View. You simply canâ€™t get a better dinner anywhere in Dominica than at Rogerâ€™s and the bill wonâ€™t pinch your wallet. The Ocean View is clean and airy, and has outstanding gardens. It also has a lookout over the Martinique Channel. One evening we saw hundreds of spinner dolphins leaping as they traversed the channel just before sundown. By the way, a climb up Scottâ€™s Head is fun. This is one of the few places in Dominica from which you can see both the sunrise and sunset from and into the sea.
I hesitate to conclude on a negative note, but Chris told me not to pull any punches in my reviews, so Iâ€™ll say this: The amount of litter at the beach is upsetting to me. I realize that Dominica has scant budget and resources for cleanup, and that cultural changes come about slowly, but I certainly hope that cleanup comes and with it ecological awareness â€“ because Scottâ€™s Head is a treasure of the Nature Island, and must be safeguarded and cherished. Also, if you drive to Scottâ€™s Head, be aware that in places the main shore road is only one lane wide, and the road has several deep rain runoff dips in villages that must be crossed only at very low speed.
BTW-There is a spot on the main road on your way where, if you look carefully, you can see where a suspension bridge was built for the â€œPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Menâ€™s Chestâ€ film, and also the â€œCannibalâ€ village. It may be possible to ascent up the steps to the filming site.