Once we got over the anxiety of the 'boat boys', we quickly realized there was so much to see and many places to go. We knew that PAYS organized tours of all sorts and would basically accommodate whatever our hearts desired. We wanted to share the load, if you will, between our boat boys, giving each of them equal business. So Erica and I told Eddison (aka boat boy to Patronus) and Martin (aka boat boy to Anything Goes and Virginia Dare) what we wanted to see and do and asked them to work out the details. The details were a little fuzzy and the descriptions a little vague with a lot of 'ya mon' in between.
Sooo, our first official tour in Dominica was scheduled to be a half-day, or so we thought. Eddison was our first guide and planned a trip up the Indian River with a short hike to Syndicate Falls. He picked us up at our boats at 8am and off we went. It just so happened to be Bob’s birthday (Virginia Dare) and he chose to spend it with all of us. Crazy man!
We made our way to the Indian River entrance from the anchorage and passed under the bridge where Eddison turned off his motor. He said that motors were not permitted up the river. He got out the oars and started rowing. We laughed and joked that he wouldn't be able to row ALL 12 of us anywhere! Once we got our giggles out, we suddenly became serious and hung on his every word. Eddison was a wealth of knowledge, overflowing with information about the history of the river, the foliage and wildlife that lived there. Well, let me rephrase that. The adults were trying to listen and the kids were up front chatting it up. Alas, they suddenly became quiet when someone asked if there were alligators and once they learned that the river was used as a movie set.
Grown ups in the rear....
Kids in the front. All 12 of us, plus Eddison, fit on his boat!
Beauty from start to finish on our river tour
Lush green foliage along the river
This is how a coconut tree starts anew, from a fallen coconut. It takes three months for it to get to this stage and 5 years to grow up and bear fruit.
Olivia listening and looking intently
Not a Disney ride by any means, but we saw a few other boats paddling up the river
This very river, the Indian River, was the location in which the swamp scene was filmed for Pirates of the Caribbean II. We were told that Disney was not allowed to alter the landscape by cutting trees down and they were required to remove everything when they were finished shooting. It was sad there wasn't anything for us to look at but good for Dominica and the wilderness. Immediately, the kids were excited to watch the movie and watch for the river scene.
These buttress roots look like a strange creature or an artistic painting.
Stepping off the boat to start our journey into the rainforest and explore
Green bananas. It is more common to boil them in their green state than to let them ripen to yellow, like what we are used to.
Beautiful bird of paradise
Following Eddison through the jungle...oh I mean, farm...or is it a rainforest?
Livie enjoying star fruit picked fresh from the tree
Eddison describing how to use the cinnamon leaves and bark of the cinnamon tree for cooking and making tea (the long skinny green things are palm tree leaves). We learned so much about each and every plant, fruit or vegetable on the farm. We tasted nearly everything as well.
Eddison shows us how to open the coconut. The coconut water is good for you but not as tasty as eating the coconut flesh.
Kate drinks from the coconut
Olivia's little bird made by Eddison from coconut palm leaves
Maggie's turn to drink from the coconut
Enjoying homemade passion fruit rum, coconut rum infused with nutmeg and cinnamon and Dynamite rum with Leslie, who owns this little bar in the middle of the jungle. He is also the proud owner and operator of his 40 acres of lush, fertile farm land. He was very generous in letting us taste and take away fruits from his farm. We asked him what this was and what that was and every time, he'd say 'hold on, I have dat'. He would then go into a little back room and emerge holding whatever it was we were asking about. It was amazing. We wondered what else he had back there, it was like a little store. And let me tell ya, it was no bigger than a closet, which made it all the more comical.
We spent so much time exploring Leslie's farm and shootin' the breeze with Leslie himself in his brightly painted bar, we were very late for the remainder of our half day tour....which, you guessed it, turned into an all day tour. Stay tuned for the second half.