Dominica is the Caribbean island with the most active volcanos. Every road here is a hill, a very steep hill. No use using an 8% grade and 5 or 6 switch backs. Just head straight up and put a sign out that says 25% grade. We go up and we go down. The roads are 1 1/2 cars wide with 2′ deep concrete rain gutters on the uphill side. It makes driving an adventure.
The driving tests my skills every day. In the populated areas parking is allowed anywhere. Most people are polite enough to park on one side no matter which way they are headed but that leaves only about 1 car width for cars going in opposite directions to pass. Most seem quite polite and wait at a spot where 2 cars are able to pass, but as a driver you have to be a little agressive and for sure don’t miss your turn. By the by there is no special consideration for tourists even if you have a car with RENTAL written all over it. I am definately not driving in auto mode. I have to concentrate the entire time and Debbie sits on the passenger side navigating and making sure I enter the correct side of the street. Oh yeah, did I mention they drive on the wrong side of the road. Well maybe not wrong but the left side. All in all it is kind of fun.
Today our travel companion D dives her 100th dive and we dive at Champagne Reef. Somewhat appropriate. I don’t have high expections as the reef is known for the bubbles from the volcanic activity gurgling up through the sand making it look like you are swimming in champagne. Funny how things get named. The dive is really great, albeit shallow. The bubbles are as I anticipated not a big deal but the reef has plenty of things to see and is in real good shape. I did find a new fish, at least for me, a pike blenny. Funny little fellow that spends his time in the sand only poking his head out similar to a jawfish or a garden eel.
Today was also the first day we had to share our 75ft boat with, if you can believe it, 5 other people. Jeez, a crowd. Nice folks from all over, two from Finland, one from South Africa and two from the US.
A couple of days ago we mentioned some of the hikes we have been doing. Most of the place the hikes go to exist because of the volcanos or their profiles. High falls and hot pools, one hike we will not do is an all day gig to the ‘Boiling Lake’ of course do to the release of heat from within the earth. The roads are crazy steep and the diving is somewhat affected by the presence of fire spewing mountains. The danger is not immenent but the vocanos have their influence.