January 18: The island of Dominica
Our second day aboard the Royal Clipper, flagship of Star Clippers, we visited the small island of Dominica. However, we did not anchor until noon so we had a restful morning at sea.
While many just read and napped in chaises, others were busier. A group of six or so were taking scuba lessons in the pool. Others opted to climb the mast to the first crow’s nest. Still others climbed into the netting at the bow of the boat so they could ride above the waves. The ship is full, with 208 passengers on board.
My husband Chet and son-in-law Sam were among the hardy group that met with the marine biologist Mariano at 6 a.m. on the bridge to look for whales (which migrate through here at this time of year). They were unsuccessful, however the group that went on the whale-watching shore excursion later in the day reported seeing a pod of some 20 pilot whales and three sperm whales.
Other shore excursions included tubing down a river and touring the island. Those who did not take formal tours had two choices, one was to tender over to the nearby national park where they could walk to a fort and take a short walk through the jungle. My sister Beth and Tim opted for this and enjoyed it.
The other option was to tender to the beach (black volcanic sand) where they could participate in beach activities (wind-surfing, sailing, water-skiing, kayaking) or take a 20-minute walk into “town.” Chet and I opted to walk to town and went about ¾ of the way. There was not much to see but a good way to stretch our legs.
Others in our family made this walk about an hour later and were accosted by beggars, which was not a pleasure, to say the least.
Back on the ship, we had a spectacular sail-away with perfect light for photos. As usual, they played the theme from “1776” by Vangelis (this is our fourth cruise on Star Clippers, and every sail-away is to this music). After sundown, Captain Vlad gave a short talk on the history of pirates and Mariano gave a talk on marine mammals.
The theme this evening was pirates, so the crew was dressed in costume although not many passengers followed suit. After dinner, the evening entertainment was crab races.. live crabs are put in a circle and you bet on them by number. The first crab to reach the outer edge of the circle wins. I only know that No. 8, called “Jack Sparrow,” won the first race. We had lost our money so we went to bed.
All in all, it was a leisurely day. Tomorrow we will be in Antigua where a full schedule of activities is planned, including a beach barbeque.
Note: This blog posting is a day late because the Internet connection was out all day yesterday in Antigua. Internet is a bit problematic on these ships because of irregular connections. Also, you have to buy Internet minutes (12 Euros for an hour). However, there are two computers on board for passenger use.