Sunday, June 17, 2007

Virtual Scuba

Check out Benjamin's first underwater video! This was recorded with a regular old Canon Powershot...we may need to upgrade our camera soon.

Dominica - Part 2

After our time in Roseau, we drove to the eastern side of the island for a change of scenery. We chose to stay at Beau Rive Hotel which had received stellar reviews on tripadvisor. Beau Rive is like a home away from paradise. Mark, the owner, is from England and built his dream on Dominica about four years ago. The hotel has only 6 rooms, each with high ceilings, simple but modern decor and breathtaking views all around. Mark and his small staff do all of the cooking, we were presented with delicious breakfasts and dinners made from the freshest local produce. Home-made yogurt with guava jam, fish pie, vegetable curry, wonderful desserts and plenty of tropical fruit (mangoes literally fall from the trees onto the road!) Mark's pets: 3 dogs (Millie, Winston, Florence) and cat (Puss) also lived on the grounds, it was nice getting to know the whole clan during our stay. I would love a dog like Florence someday soon (hint, hint, honey..). Unfortunately the weather took a bit of a turn and we experienced some major storms which meant a lot of time reading, playing Scrabble and just lounging around - definitely not a bad thing! We managed to drive up and down the coastline to explore Turtle Beach, Red Rocks, Emerald Pool, Jungle Bay Resort (mediocre massage, but fabulous view and ocean sounds in the room). One of the more interesting places we visited was Indigo Art Gallery. The artist, Marie, built her natural studio and home into the mountainside - it's like a big tree house. Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom made a visit to Marie when they were filming Pirates of the Caribbean and she had no idea who they were. They even wrote in her guest book! Our initial impression of Dominica was that it's a 'poor' island - most people live in shacks and don't have cars. When we asked Mark how people are able to survive, he said they are by no means living in poverty. In fact, Dominica has the highest number of centurions per capita. Life on Dominica is stress free...people grow their own crops and eat fish caught from their backyards. It's no wonder they live such long (and rich) lives.

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Florence the dog/Turtle Beach:

Eastern coastline from Red Rocks/Emerald Pool waterfall:

Driving in Dominica

Driving in Dominica can be a daunting task, ask Benjamin! Not only is it left hand drive on the island but the windy, pot-holed roads are only big enough for one car. Here's a little (narrated)clip of our experience:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dominica - Part 1

We just got back from our vacation in Dominica (Dom-in-eek-a), a small island in the eastern Caribbean..not to be confused with Dominican Republic. It was amazing! We chose Dominica for its rustic beauty, pristine scuba diving and lack of tourists. While it's a Caribbean destination, you won't find 5-star resorts, white sandy beaches and gourmet restaurants here. Dominica is referred to as the "Nature Island" with waterfalls, rain forests, rivers and lakes galore. There is so much to do and see! For the first part of our trip, we stayed on the southern part of the island near Roseau (the biggest town) at the Evergreen Hotel. We did four days of scuba diving with Nature Island Dive which was such an incredible experience. We saw many types of vibrant coral and sponges and the beautiful clear blue water was full of interesting creatures including sea snakes (eww!), eels and tons of colorful fish. Benjamin's favorites were the peacock and scorpion fish. We bought an underwater camera case for one of our cameras which worked pretty well. Nature Island Dive is a family owned business and we happened to be their only customers that week so we had the whole boat to ourselves. Our personal divemaster, Tony, was really cool - we learned a lot about the island from him. Several shows were taped on Dominica including Pirates of the Carribbean 3 and the new reality show Pirate Master, which Tony worked on the set of. By far, Dominica has been our most impressive diving location, it's going to be hard to top!

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Trafalgar Falls/colorful sea anenome and sponge: