ok, so we spent a pretty uneventful day or two in Antigua... I went provisioning and I think that was it. There were a lot of really famous boats there, including the Maltese Falcon, which was neat to see in person. We had a nice passage to Dominica, where we spent a really busy couple of days. The first day we did the boiling lake hike. I missed this hike when I was a shipmate on Ocean Star 9 years ago because I was sick, and then last semester I had to fly out that day to get to Vermont. So it was sort of an achievement to do the hike, and now to say that I have done all of the ones in the Caribbean. The only problem was I forgot that I don't really like hiking... and it was a loooooooooong hike. I think I hiked for about 6 hours total.
It was very beautiful, don't get me wrong, but sort of, endless... I kept thinking that we were almost there (believe it or not I was not the slowest) and I was encouraging the girls behind me by saying look, I can almost see it, we're almost there! To which the guide replied, actually... you have about two more hours. It was a really cool view at the top though, it literally was a lake that was boiling, just like a pot of water on the stove. It was pretty impressive. We also stopped to swim in some hot springs, which was really cool. My only real problem was that I was hiking in flipflops, which for me is pretty normal, but even I had to admit that shoes would have been helpful (had I owned any I would have worn them).
I was too afraid to get in any other photos, so this was at the very end
The worst part actually was the last hour, where the trail was relatively flat but quite rocky and muddy and I kept slipping, and it just seemed to go on FOREVER. I had a mini little breakdown (I was all by myself) when I thought I would never get there, but eventually I did, and it was fine. And then I was sore for three days. But anyhoo, I did it (which is more than the girls behind me can say, they stopped about an hour away). The next day was superlong too, as we went on a full day tour of the island with two local guides. We spent the first couple hours driving around everywhere, stopping along the road to pick random local fruit and eat it on the way to our next stop. The guides told us all sorts of interesting things about the island on the way.
Then we stopped at an area where a lot of Carib Indians live, and watched a man cook some cassava bread on a sort of iron flame oven thing.... It didn't taste like much even though it was mixed with coconut and sugar, but we all devoured it. We made a series of stops at various people's houses, the beach, etc.... my favorite one was where we trekked 15 minutes through mud and rain into someone's backyard, where we sent people into the trees to pick grapefruits and throw them down to us on the ground. It turns out I like grapefruit. I also visited one of the pig's that lived there, he was snorting a lot and pawing at the door to get out and see us and kept standing upright on the edge of the pen to see what was going on around him.
And they also had two baby sheep! They were so cute!! It was a really long and fun day, which ended with a trip to two waterfalls, one which had hot springs that were amazing. The next day was a dive day, so the crew split into two groups and spent either the full morning or full afternoon diving. It sounded really great, but I had a lot of work to do onboard, including a quick trip to the grocery store, and it was nice to have some time to get things done. That next morning at 4am we departed for Martinique, where we arrived about six hours later. Our first stop was Saint Pierre, which I remember vaguely from being a shipmate. Mainly I remember the really intense hike of Mt. Pelee that just about did me in! After Boomer cleared us in all the staff had some free time ashore, so we went and had a really nice lunch (I know you don't care really but I just have to write about it- I had the best panini with brie and tomatoes ever, and an amazing chocolate torte cake thing, it was heaven! And coke in a glass bottle!) and then we went to the museum and then sat down and hung out for a little while.
they were all dressed as flowers and trees and birds
It was very relaxing. St. Pierre is famous for the eruption of Mt. Pelee in 1902, which destroyed the city and killed 29,000 people, leaving just one survivor, the prisoner locked in the dungeon (he later toured with Barnum and Bailey circus because of this). The next morning we had a quick motor to the big city of Fort de France, where I did another provisioning trip. That night we left for Bonaire, which was supposed to be a 4 day passage, but because we had such nice wind it only took just over two days. It has been so much fun here! We found out when we arrived that the big carnival (carnavale?) parade was the next afternoon, so we all took some time off to go check it out. It was amazing! I know it's not as big as some of the more famous places, but I thought it was great and watched the whole thing.
the Peru float
I had a front row view and took lots of pictures with my big zoom camera, until the battery died. I was so impressed with the people, I don't know how they did all that dancing for so many hours. By the time they got to my area, towards the end of the parade, they looked absolutely exhausted but of course kept on going. I mean they were dancing non stop. The parade was set up like this: each "entry" for lack of a better term mostly consisted of three parts. The first was the float or truck(s) that held the generator and music, which was different for each group (and practically deafened me), then came the dancers or people in costumes or whatever the main attraction was, then came a second truck or float behind them that basically was a bar, with one or two people in charge of constantly refilling the drinks of the dancers with water, soda, or beer.
not sure which one
It was pretty interesting, and so were the people that came out to watch. Most of the kids (and some of the adults) got really dressed up. It didn't seem to matter what you dressed as, sparkles and colors seemed to be the main theme, and there were lots of little princesses and pirates and cowboys. I went out to dinner later with some of the staff at a restaurant literally next to the boat that was really nice, overall it was a really great day. Today I spent some of the morning provisioning, unfortunately the container with the new shipment of food for the store was delayed so I couldn't get a lot of what I wanted. We leave for Aruba though tomorrow morning, so I will be able to pick up the rest of the stuff there.
I like the colors
I will be a little sad to leave Bonaire, it has been a really nice two days and I wish we could have more time to check out the other stuff, like the ranking of the third best diving in the world? caribbean? And the donkey sanctuary, I would have liked to see that. Ok time to go find my photos and start dinner, I probably won't write again until Panama in about two weeks.