sailingtalesofcalusa

Sailing and travel tales

The Caribbean: Paradise Lost

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The Caribbean

I asked “Which, of all the islands we have visited since Jamaica, would you go back to for a week?”

Puerto Rico, Saba, St Kitts, Antigua, Monserrat, Guadeloupe and The Saints, Dominica,Martinque,St Lucia, St Vincent, Bequia, Tobago Cays, Carriacou, Grenada, many of them belonging to the group we called The West Indies.

The scenic Caribbean

All said Dominica.

Dominica still has wide empty spaces.

I asked myself the same question and I said St Kitts – but it would have to be on the boat so I could buy a monkey! But if I can’t have the monkey and I had to go back I too would say Dominica.

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Why? I think, besides Dominica still feeling  raw and wild, it is because we got to know some of the locals. The refined “boat boy “system they operate there nurtured this. You are “caught” by a boat boy before you enter the harbour. They accompany a newly arriving boat to a mooring buoy or an anchor. In the past they fought over you for the “tip” but in recent times they have learned to cooperate with each other and have formed into maybe three loosely operating groups. The focus of the groups is now to have a “boat boy assist a new arrival into the harbour, without the hand out for a tip. Your “boat boy” is your first point of contact and remains your facilitator for the duration of your stay. Where can I take my laundry? Can you take my rubbish somewhere? He can source food or materials for you or just tell you where to go yourself. The group he is working for will have a dingy docking pier where you can tie up and leave your dinghy without having to either risk it or tip someone to watch it. The group he is working for will coordinate any trips, guided or otherwise, that you might want to do. They offer a good variety of deals. The base/office they work out of is usually a simple restaurant where you will meet other sailors and you have free access to the internet. Dominica’s system worked well for us and although we were there for only five days we were so involved with our boat boy , guides and friends that we thanked them by inviting them for a barbeque on board on our last night. Nowhere else had we felt moved to do this.

As our travel guide book said “Dominicans understand the importance of repeat business and referral.” This is true.

But Dominica had something else going for it as well. We sensed immediately that Dominica was a country that produced. That it fed itself and it produced a surplus that it could export. It sends a shipload of bananas to England every Thursday for example. Dominicans generally did not sit back and hope that fickle tourism would provide all. Dominicans had a dignity. It’s tourism was ecotourism. They offered the visitor the opportunity to see the natural delights of the country without bending over backwards to provide unnecessary state of the art world marina facilities and gimmicks.  It was an effective, and efficient system which delivered a very satisfying and guiltfree experience for us. There was one account to pay at the end and the boat boy, or the guides we used were tip options, never demanded. Well done Dominica. You understand sustainability and I guess social responsibility. Long may you remain uncorruptable .

PS: Quickly shut down The Kentucky Fried Chicken shop that has appeared to feed and make the American students attending the new medical school at Portsmouth feel at home. That hypocrisy totally jarred with us. Your backyard and all over town chickens and your abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and the fish in the sea are the best food anyone can eat. Your healthy fit people are proof of this.

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Dominica

 

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Indian river

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  The cabbage patch up in the hills

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Roy


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Written by teoranga

June 1, 2015 at 7:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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