We took all of our purchases from the market and attempted to cook a flavours of the Caribbean meal together. Breadfruit, plantain chips, mashed yams, christophine with coconut breaded chicke, yum.
We went exploring the next day to work off the calories to a beach with potentially good snorkeling. This ended up as quite a hike up and down steep hills and interesting discoveries on the way. local production of palm oil, rain forest trail, re-mobilisation of a truck with 4 flat tyres that we were assured was only going a short distance and a fantastic rum bar on the beach at our eventual destination. We enjoyed our picnic lunch and swim although the sand was too churned up to see any fish. We later settled into a tasting session of the many home flavoured different rums with dodgy names such as ‘the terminator.’ The locals were also playing dominos which was played with attitude. Apparently how you slam your domino on the table communicates to your partner your hand.
One day we took a tour around the northern end of the Island, taking in the sulphur springs, the chocolate factory, the Kalinago (Carib Indians) territory and the Emerald Pool and waterfall. MC was keen to obtain a Calabash so that she could carve it and make a cockpit lampshade. The driver was able to oblige with this, stopping at the roadside and taking us into a small residence, where the owners were not only growing, but harvesting and selling decorated Calabashes. They can be used for many different things such as bowls, lampshades and maracas. They are hung over a fire to to darken the colour and then polished and a design carved into them. How nice to be able to point to one on the tree and say ‘I’ll have that one please!’
The Pointe Baptiste Chocolate factory was one families passion for chocolate turned into a small business from their home. We were able to follow the production sequence and best of all taste the chocolate! Some unusual flavour combinations with different strengths of coco. My favorite was the ginger.
On returning to the bay one Sunday afternoon, we stopped for a refreshing beer in the bar and were distracted by a gathering of youngsters on the beach. It didn’t take long for Derek and MC’s curiosity to get the better of them and for them to wonder down among the growing party to see what all the fuss was about. There is a medical university on the Island and it transpired that it was one of the student’s birthdays. To celebrate, her boyfriend had come to the beach at 2 am in the morning, dug a hole and made a fire in a the pit. Then using leaves and various other natural wrappings, wrapped and buried a pig amongst the fire, covering it with sand. The pig had been roasting all day and now it was time to celebrate. What we were witnessing was the unearthing of the roasted pig and the start of the birthday party, complete with further barbecued piglets halves cooked in a massive drum, homemade ginger beer and much more. As we stood on and chatted with many of the friends of the birthday girl, we were invited to share her birthday celebration, eating and drinking with them all. What an amazing impromptu experience and one we were extremely grateful for.
After the three days La Contenta and Ocean Blue sadly both had commitments that took us in opposite directions. Exploring and experiencing the different islands is made all the more special when you share it with friends.
If you are interested in viewing more of the photographs from our trip to Dominica we have put a selection of them on Flickr, follow this link