After our experience with Ruffles, we felt like the Lost Boys, refreshed with the simple pleasure of discovery and newfound friendship; giving us a new set of eyes to look at the island and its people. It didn't seem like a farewell but more of a, "See you later," when we parted ways. We weighed anchor in the late morning and made way to Roseau, Dominica's capitol. It was a nice change of pace with the wind on our beam. We made it to Roseau in a matter of a few hours. While in Portsmouth, we heard of breathtaking waterfalls, rejuvenating mineral springs and an amazing gorge. We knew we had more exploring to do.
As we approached Roseau we could see buildings and houses on the hills, shops of different sorts, hotels lining the coast, and even a KFC. It was clearly a built up town teeming with stores for tourists that come by cruise ship and other means. There was about 20 or so boats tied to the moorings that follow the coastline. A handful of them were cruising sailboats while the rest were either charter boats or fishing boats. The depth drops well over 100ft just 20 meters or so from the shore and is scattered with large rocks. Anchoring here was not an option, at least for us. We secured to one of the moorings and noticed the rain heading our way. With only a few gallons of fresh water left in our tanks, we pulled out our rain catch and started to fill them back up with some of the tastiest water I'd ever had. The rain didn't last long but we were able to fill about 20 gallons.
We dinghied to shore in search of the local market to resupply our food stores. After a day of editing and tinkering on the boat, we decided to rent a car to get ourselves inland and see some of the sights Dominica has to offer. With a road map on the salon table, we made a rough plan of what to see with our remaining time here. We meandered our way through the one-way streets in the main district of Roseau. Making our way out of the mix of people and cars honking and darting in and out of the lanes was a faster pace than we were used to. It was loud, clustered and dirty downtown. We made it out and to the main road that leads inland towards the lush green jungle.
The roads got narrower and steeper as we made our way up the mountain. We could see visible damage to the roads and homes from hurricane Erica. Every now and then we would pass a small lean-to or a one walled cement shack with shelves and a counter that looked like it would have sold fruits and veggies. None were ever occupied though. We made it to the end of the road, found a parking spot and started trekking. The trail narrowed as the shrubs and ferns welcomed us. The air was cool and filled with a sweet scent. The jungle was dense and green as green could be. As we came to a small incline in the trail, we noticed a gazebo at the top. The air became thick and wet, we knew we were close. We approached the gazebo which was open on all sides and gave a picturesque view of the massive Trafalgar falls. We followed the trail on the backside of the gazebo and down a small slope, ending at the waters edge.
The water was clear and fresh. We scaled the boulders and wandered around, watching each step and being careful of the slippery surfaces. Making our way to the base of one of the falls, Barbosa went one way and Bru and I went another. There were massive boulders that had fallen on top of one another and some had created small crevices to climb between. I stopped to dowse myself in one of the small falls. It was clear that this area had been effected by hurricane Erica as well. Huge tree trunks were split and scattered along the rocks that cascaded down the valley. After about a half hour of climbing the boulders and finding a way to the top, we made it to base of the falls. It was so loud we couldn't hear each other unless we were right next to one another. It was almost difficult to breathe due to the air being so thick from water from the falls. I sat on a ledge overlooking the valley, enjoying the spray on my back and letting the water flow over my legs which fell to create yet another awesome waterfall.
The next day was spent at Titu Gorge. We brought our masks and fins and jumped right in the chilly water. Peanut was close on our tail. The water was crystal clear and only a few feet deep. We waded towards the gorge entrance and the water dropped to about 10 feet. We swam upstream noticing how smooth the rocks were from the water etching away for many centuries. It was easy to see the different levels at which the water had been by the lines they left. Almost like a natural timeline. The walls on either side of us were only a few feet apart at some sections and shot up almost vertically for 30-40 feet. The lush jungle created a canopy which let splinters of sunlight through. As I dove under the surface to see what might be dwelling under us, I saw dozens of little shrimps. Shining the flashlight on the shrimps stunned them for a moment, long enough to snag one and surface to get a closer look. They were a pale white and almost translucent measuring only a few inches. We let them go and watched them squirm back to their families. We made our way to the first waterfall. The current had gotten quite strong and was getting more challenging to make it to the falls. We were told by the lady's on the path to the gorge that since it had recently rained the day before, the falls were running faster than normal. We were thankful to have brought our fins and masks. It was interesting to watch the bubbles from under water as they would run into a wall; it was easy to see the undertow taking effect. We found a trail which led next to the gorge. It was an awesome sight to see the gorge from above. We could see there were a handful more small falls than the one we reached.
We had one more sight to see in Dominica that we were told was well worth the time; Desolation Valley and the Boiling Lake. It intrigued us all, just the name itself. We were told by some locals we would need a guide to help find our way. We met a man who was happy to guide us through the Valley and to the Boiling Lake. He has been a guide for many years and knows the island and its trails well. We left in the morning knowing it was estimated for the average person to take 6 hours round trip, not including stopping to enjoy the sights. Interestingly enough, the trailhead is right next to Titu Gorge. We started up the steep steps that had been carved out of the hillside and along side the gorge. We were immediately immersed in the jungle atmosphere. The birds were singing, the cacophony of insects chanting, and the tree leaves rustling in the breeze that swept up the mountainside. It was as if we had stepped into an Avatar-like world.
Massive trees, ferns, and plants with huge leaves almost the size of our helm. Parts of the trail were muddy and sloppy and were lined with hand chopped logs to walk on. Many parts of the trail had these logs to walk on. I couldn't help but think how long it must have taken to finish. We started zig zagging up the side of a mountain. Quite steep at some points. We made it to the top and could see the other steep green mountains. Our guide said we had 2 more valleys and another mountain like this to cover before we would be at the Valley of Desolation. Then through the Valley to the Boiling Lake; we still had a ways to go.
So down the backside of this mountain we went. It was a bit more open at the top of the mountains and we could see the clouds overhead rolling by. As we made our ascent on the second mountain, we stopped at a shaded spot where water was seeping out of the rocks. Our guide grabbed a banana leaf and made a funnel so we could refill our water bottles. Doesn't get more mountain fresh than that. As we came to the back side of this mountain, we could see steam dissipating from the Valley of Desolation across the ridge of the other mountain. We kept moving. Atop the last mountain ridge there was a small clearing, we rested for a few minutes and took a look around. No sounds of people, or cars, or water lapping on the hull, or lines whipping the mast. Just the wind. It was peaceful. As we came around the mountain side and made our way down, the terrain turned from a red/brown dirt to a red/white/yellow sulfurous sediment and crumbled beneath our feet. We were getting wafts of the egg scented mineral springs, we knew we were close.
We started seeing steam emerge from the mountain side and from the ground below. The air had become dense and moist. We made it to the Valley of Desolation. Water boiled throughout the springs that meandered its way down the valley. It would hiss as if a tea pot was about to sing. The steep mountains on almost all sides of us were no longer as green and lush as the rest. They were exposed sulfurous rock clearly showing signs of thermal activity for thousands of years. Almost with a marbled look, the mountains had a unique looking texture from the whites, reds, and yellows. We brought eggs and set them on one of the boiling water spots. After no time, we were eating freshly boiled eggs.
The springs ran down the valley and met at the base. We walked the path alongside the stream, and were soon immersed once again by the jungle. Crossing the spring and scaling up another mountainside, emerging to an open, meadow-like rocky pasture. We followed the trail down the slope and through the "meadow." We came across a few more sulphur springs, Bru stopped to apply some sulphur mud to exfoliate his skin. Hopping across some more springs and scaling up a small rocky slope, we made our way up and around one last small hill and..."Voilá!" We were on a plateau overlooking the boiling lake.
It seemed like a volcano the way it was shaped. Sheer cliffs and fragile red rock lined the perimeter; we were careful where we stepped. The steam would roll through so thick it was, at times, difficult to see the actual lake but then a gust of wind would come by and clear things up a bit. There's a waterfall on the other side of us cascaded down the cliff. It was magnificent. I've never seen something like this before. It really is a natural jewel Dominica has. Our guide wanted to get moving along...the whole time we felt we were being hurried by this guy, so we paid him off and off he went. Warning us not to stay too late he said, "Jus watch out mon! It gets dark quick here in da bush."
As we wandered our way back at our own pace, we noticed a small waterfall cascading to a little mineral pool. Immersing ourselves in the pure cleansing waters of a fresh mountain mineral spring was relaxing and rejuvenating. The sulphuric and raw earth scents filled the mountain air. Sitting under the waterfall was like having an exotic back massage.
We may have spent a little too much time there because we still had two hours of hiking left and the sun had just gone below the mountain tops. We ended up in the dark for the last hour of our journey back to the car. It was pretty ominous listening to the night life of the jungle come alive. Lightening bugs surrounded us flickering here and there. Even the mosquitos came out to play.
We had such a wonderful experience on Dominica and didn't want it to come to an end but we knew we had to keep moving with hurricane season honing in on us. So we threw off the morning line and pointed the bow towards St. Lucia.
The sail to St. Lucia was mellow and fairly uneventful. The weather was warm, the sky clear, the sea a sparkling blue and the breeze steady on the beam. Our sails were drawing steadily and CC was ploughing happily along. We sailed through the night and arrived at Rodney Bay in the wee hours of the morning. Welcomed by a small rain squall to wash away the fresh salt and a beautiful sunrise to keep our souls topped off. After clearing customs and immigration in the artificial lagoon, we wanted to stretch our legs.
We took a walk to the fort on top of the hill on Pigeon Island which overlooks the bay and out to the Caribbean Sea. Pigeon Island is no longer an island though. The small stretch of water separating St. Lucia and Pigeon Island has been filled in and now has a Sandals Resort. It's wild to think so many people have died and fought for this island and this specific safe harbor just 150 years ago.
Cannons still standing guard to the horizon from all sides as if continuing their protection for Admiral Rodney in his relentless pursuit of de Grasse. The water silo now filled with weeds and dirt have long since been used. We were walking on the same turf and looking at the same vastness that so many explorers had in the past. It was easy to imagine the tall ships and schooners of the past anchored here. It was a big harbor and must have been an amazing sight to see all the ships resting at anchor.
We had work to get accomplished and got right to it. First, we wanted to tamper with the damn autopilot again. We found a spare motor onboard and swapped it out only to find the drive unite had no change of attitude. We tried to dissect it as much as we could and finally decided we need to send it in to the manufacturer at some point. Slightly disappointed but things can always be worse. Next on our list of important to-do's was to find the sail maker. Our clew on the jib was still blown out since Utila, Honduras and our main had a few sail lugs that were in need of mending and the head of the main needed new flat webbing for the halyard to attach. We took the dinghy in to town in search of the sailmaker, about 30 minutes to the dinghy dock from where we anchored. The lagoon looked new and well prepared for large yachts and geared towards the upper class and yachties with many new looking restaurants. There was a 150 foot (maybe longer) power yacht on the large end tie and a handful of freshly polished and waxed large sail boats that looked as if ready for a blue water race. We treated ourselves to probably one of any sailors favorite treat, ice cream. I think it's easy to say there's nothing quite like an ice cream cone after sailing around in the tropics, something about it just gets the juices flowing again. I suppose that could be the sugar rush. Well, we easily found the sail loft and spoke with the man in charge. He was a happy St. Lucian, born and raised and fully content with his simple life. He had a huge loft with sails and spars complete with huge sewing machines sunk in the deck to be level with the floor while he sewed away. When we brought our sails in, he noticed right away they are original Hood sails. Original meaning back when they were made in the States with superior quality and built to last; none of this "Made in China" bullshit. He seemed excited to work with sails of this quality. We laid the sails out and discussed what we needed done, settled on a price and a day later the sails were ready! Quality work at an affordable price in a more than acceptable time frame.
When the sails had been mended and made ready once again, we weighed anchor and set off for Marigot Lagoon. Just a few miles south of Rodney Bay, it only took us a couple hours. As we approached, the dark mountain side with its sparse vegetation was a beautiful welcome. Somehow the plants find a foothold on the rocky hillsides. Being quite a small harbor, there was just one boat on anchor just outside the sand spit, a few more sailboats on the moorings inside the protected area and some fancy catamarans and power yachts tied to the dock. It looked quite upscale on the starboard side and a little more simple to port with Doolittles Restaurant and a few shacks selling food and trinkets. It had a British feel to the buildings with their white shutters and columns. It was fairly quiet except when the tour boats would come in from Castries or Rodney Bay blaring their music and dancing all about. We tied up to a mooring inside and were almost immediately approached by one of the local islanders paddling up on an old rickety paddle board that was in need of repair and past its prime, but it still floated the man with his crate of assorted fruits. He gave us a warm welcome to his island and we bought some fruits from him.
Here, we were able to do a bit of catch-up on our videos and took advantage of the fast WiFi. One of the evenings, just before sunset, Bru and I decided to visit the spit with its tall coconut trees and set up the slack line. As the motor sputtered up to the small dock, two young boys came running up waving us in telling us where to tie up. One of the boys grabbed our bow line and made it fast to the dock, it seemed as though he's done this many times. The boys were curious as to who we are and where we came from. They eagerly told us we could eat and drink at their mothers shop just down the way which also had WiFi or that we purchase souvenirs at their aunties place next to their mothers shop. Soon after, we were approached by some other guys, probably brothers or cousins of the youngsters, offering us everything from their newest CD they had made to more fruits or help working on the boat. They sounded well versed with their sales talk and walked with us to the tall trees, curious as to what was in our bag. There was about four locals with us still trying to sell us things as we set up the line. Bru and I started walking the line and before we knew it, we had a crowd of locals around us each wanting a turn telling us how they could walk it no problem. The locals had dropped their incessant sales gimmicks and began walking the line, laughing at each other and pushing their way to be next on the slack line. Off to the side, there were two old fishermen sitting on their rickety chairs under the shade of the palms watching the younger generation fall off the slack line and laughing hysterically. They were almost more entertaining than the locals trying to walk the line. We laughed with each other walking the line well after the sun had set and was difficult to see. The guys asked us if we would come the next day and set up the line again. We did just that, almost every evening since and not one tried to sell us another thing. We had made friends and weren't looked at like dollar signs any longer.
After a productive and fun week in Marigot Lagoon, it was time to keep moving south. We were able to clear out of St. Lucia and get a permit to visit Anse de Piton here in Marigot. So we did just that. Just a few hours' sail and we had arrived at the picturesque Pitons. Towering over us at nearly 2,700 feet high and beautifully green and lush it was almost the symbol of the West Indies. We sailed around for a while since we had plenty of daylight to do so. CC looked magnificent with the sun on her sails and the beautiful backdrop. We made fast to one of the moorings near the Pitons for a night and soon realized it was going to be a rolly night. We wanted to stay another couple of days to hike the Pitons but between the rolly bay and the price of the moorings (they were almost as steep as the Pitons themselves) we decided to keep moving. The next morning we set sail, this time heading for Grenada.
Shortly after our departure from St. Lucias beautiful Pitons, we studied the charts some more. Knowing we would be passing by some of the most epic cays in all the Caribbean, we felt a pull towards the Grenadines. We followed our urge to explore more and we're glad we did so. Protected by World's End Reef and Horse Shoe Reef, Tobago Cay seemed like a worthy place to rest for a night. By sunrise, we could see the wicked Baline Rocks and Mayero Island. It was just about perfect timing as we approached, the sun was nearly overhead allowing us to spot the reefs easily. We dodged and meandered our way to the narrow waterway between the two islands and tied to the mooring there. There was a small shack and a few tables on shore. Two men were preparing mahi-mahi while a few kids were running around. After a quick nap to recharge, we hopped in the water and explored the waters around us. We snorkeled in the warm and clear waters with sea turtles, squid, and so many fish. Across the way there were massive piles of conch shells emerging from the water. There were probably thousands of conch shells, the piles were maybe 20 feet tall and still there were more live conch crawling on the seabed below.
We readied the dink and went to shore to explore. With the slack line set up for some balanced fun, the two kids quickly came by to see what we were up to. Kyle and Kaya were full of laughter and spirit and quickly took to us as we took to them. They were as eager to try the slack line as they were to use the camera. We let them try both. Kyle was a little demanding behind the camera, it was funny. He acted like he knew it all. Kaya recorded herself dancing and singing while we walked the line in the background. Her words were touching even as a little girl. She sang of meeting us and how much fun she was having and hoping we would not leave.
They took us for a tour of their island pointing out various trees and seashells. Walking to the east side of the island we saw a handful of other sailboats and power boats. As we walked along the shore, we met two kayakers who had paddled their way from Bequia to the Tobago Cays, about 23 miles in fairly strong currents and a head wind. They explained they ran night shifts on their paddle here; as one paddled for his shift, the other rested swapping shifts until morning light, then both would paddle together. They had their stove set up and were preparing their evening meal celebrating from the long paddle. The kids took us to the top of the hill that overlooked the island on both sides. We could see CC resting on one side of the island and World's End Reef on the other. Pristine Caribbean blue waters and a warm breeze made it a memorable scene. Late morning the following day we made way for Grenada.
Grenada: St. George's:
The northeast winds pushed us along gloriously on a beams reach. We arrived after midnight and anchored near a beautiful 4 masted schooner. At day break we re-anchored closer to shore and readied the dinghy to clear with customs and immigration. While Barbosa went in town to clear us in, Bru and I took the opportunity to dive the waters around CC. We were in about 15-20 feet of crystal clear water. We always appreciate a good dip. We spent a few days on the hook and enjoyed our many dips in the water swimming with the fish and diving to find crustaceans and other critters. We made our way to shore and stopped at the yacht club on the south side which has good WiFi. We were able to easily continue our efforts to build/update our website and work on the videos. While here, we met a lot of fellow sailors both young and old. Peanut made a friend too, a young couple, Hannah and Roger onboard Hannuna, had brought their dog Mariana along with them from the states as well.
We inquired with the Grenada Yacht Club, on the North side, about getting a space to tie to for a while. We walked the dock to see exactly where we would be tying up. We were to tie up Med-style; meaning stern to the dock and bow tied to the mooring ball about 25 yards off the dock. Most boats were stern-to allowing a gang plank to help get on and off the boats. With CC's canoe stern it makes little difference in ease of getting on and off via gang plank and the fact she pulls hard to port backing down would make things difficult to pull in with the neighboring boats lines on either side of our slip. It was a narrow gap to shoot and with the crosswinds picking up we decided to go bow in; it also gave us a bit more privacy and a view of the harbor instead of the docks. On our first attempt, as we came near the mooring ball with lines ready, Bru took the boat hook and grabbed the mooring ball as leaned over to secure our stern line to the mooring. The marinas line and mooring ball were heavily encrusted with barnacles making it impossible to pass the line through without stretching the spliced eye open first. I hurriedly tried to open it wider as CC kept her forward momentum but I was unable to open it in time and my hands got pretty cut up in the process. We backed out just in time, almost running over one of the other boats lines as we backed down. After one more attempt with the same result, we decided it best to get in the dinghy and soak the line to stretch it open and remove the barnacles. This time, our line passed through with ease and we cast our bow lines to helping hands on the dock and were safely secured.
We spent a lot of time across the way at the marina with better WiFi building our website and communicating with family and friends back in the States. Hannah and Roger invited us for a quick sail to dive the statues that attract tourists. We tied to a mooring ball and took the dinghies closer to the dive site. It was a bit murky and visibility was only 15-20 feet but it's always nice to get in the water. We first came upon carved heads of stone covered with algae which were scattered about the sand and reef. Peanut and Mariana with their intense separation anxiety jumped off the dinghy and joined us in the water. Peanut held on to Brandon's shoulders like a baby monkey and took a free ride while Mariana swam happily around us. We swam around the statues and dove to get a closer look. They're set up in a circle holding hands with some of their faces covered with beautiful yellow, red, and purple corals. The fish swam between their legs and linked hands as if dancing with them. We swam to the sandy shore surrounded by the tall volcanic cliffs to give the dogs a break and then made our way back to Hannuna and eventually back to CC.
We needed to resupply our food stores and had heard of the outdoor market selling all sorts of fruits, veggies, spices and meats from the sea and land. The market is on the other side of the hill from where the fishing boats and party boats stay. We dinghied our way over by the fishing boats and noticed the water was much more clear here versus where CC is. This was the natural part of the harbor, where CC is tied up is part of the man made addition to the existing harbor. We could see little fish eating algae off the rocks while birds were circling around the fishing boats waiting for scraps. Some fishermen were selling their catch right out of their little boats while others were loading their catch in trucks to be taken to the market. We tied to where a few other dinghies were and walked the colorful streets filled with the scent of fruit, fish and spices. It was a bustling town with lots of people. As we started up the hill in the hot tropical sun, there were women on the sidewalks selling breadfruit, mangoes and okra. At the top of the hill was a unique birds eye view of the town. Small shops of all sorts lined the streets and at the bottom of the hill was the outdoor market. As we approached the market, it became louder with the sound of people bartering, laughing and talking. It was a town square kind of area with vendors all around. They closed the streets off on the weekend mornings for more vendors. There was a coconut man who would fill our bottles with fresh young coconut water for nearly nothing and women selling nutmeg, mace and garlands of spices. We bargained and bought all sorts of fruits and veggies. The butcher and fish market were across each other. The fish would stay on ice while the meats would hang from hooks with flies munching away. Once we had our fill of veggies we went back to CC. We made a few trips to that market throughout our time here.
Every now and then we would treat ourselves to some of the local cuisine. Just a five minute walk from the boat and we were at a small shack owned by a family man by the name of Ronny. Situated on the main road and next to the football (soccer) field he seemed to always have customers. He and his wife ran this small joint. They have 7 kids ranging from a few months old to 10 yrs. For about $7 we got a plate full of chicken, breadfruit, plantains and rice complete with a beer. The breadfruit, plantains and coconuts he sold were harvested by himself. There was a small table set on top of some rasta colored tires with a goldfish in a 5 gallon jug hanging above.
Back onboard CC there was yet more work to be done. We knew something had to happen with our rigging which we kept adjusting since we left Utila. We hired a professional rigger to assist us in tuning the rig. He brought along his apprentice who handed tools and watched his superior. Looking back, we could have done without the rigger because he did what we had thought of doing originally; cut the wire cables shorter and put the Norseman fittings back on. Simple enough but it's nice to have someone who's done it before show you how to go about it. He was only onboard for maybe 3 hours and then was gone. With the rigging taught we moved down the list of things to do. Barbosa got out the teak deck sealant and got to work sealing up the decks. The forward hatch had a gnarly leak that came in through the corner moulding. There were pieces of the deck that had shrunk up and had worked their way around some of the screws holding them down so those got dealt with too. We listened to the VHF in the morning for the cruisers net in hopes to find someone who could give us information on filling our propane. There is a lot of useful information broadcast via the net and we soon made contact with a friendly someone who relayed our message to the propane guy. He came by later that evening to pick up our tanks. In talking with him, we found out he could also get us engine oil at a slightly cheaper price than the marine shop. He came back the next day with tanks filled and engine oil. We changed the oil and filter and were feeling ready to head back out to the sea.
Time flies down here. Before we knew it, Barbosa had gone back to the states for a week and come back already. We'd been here for almost a month and haven't done much exploring. We wanted to catch up as much as we could on the website and videos, which we got quite a bit done. But we wanted to see this island a bit more than just the shoreline, yacht club and outdoor market. We wanted to camp out for a night and heard of a lake and waterfall surrounded by the lush jungle vegetation. Sounded like a nice place to check out. We packed our cameras and camping gear and started walking the streets headed inland and uphill. We walked for a few hours throwing our thumbs out hoping to get picked up by one of the work trucks but to no avail. We made it to a gas station, got cold waters and rested for a short while. About an hour after we continued on, a van pulled up to us and asked if we wanted a ride up the hill. We accepted and were soon dropped off at the top of a hill where the lake was. Since it is a protected park there was a small fee to pay at the kiosk. We paid our fee and spoke with the man asking if we could camp out here for the night. He said we could but the waterfall would probably be better. We walked on the dirt road towards the lake. There was a few huts with tables and benches that overlooked the lake. It was beautiful and quite large. We followed a small trail that circumnavigates the lake looking for a suitable place to make camp. Though the farther we trekked, the trail became more and more muddy and mosquitos were all around us. We talked for a moment and decided to try the waterfall instead. We talked again with the man at the entrance and he gave us some directions to the waterfalls.
We walked up and down the winding road for another hour and a half until we saw a sign for the waterfall. The man collecting the fee for the waterfall was not such a welcoming man. He told us we couldn't stay long and had to be back before dark. We told him the other guy said we could camp out here and he wasn't happy to hear that. He said the other guy is wrong. Well, we weren't about to turn around and go back to the boat, we had come too far. We also didn't have a ride back down the hill, which would take us at least 5 hours to hike back, possibly more. The angered man had us sign the log book. We all used an alias, Barbosa signed as Jose Cuervo. He let us pass but told us we needed a guide. We figured it couldn't be that difficult to find the way, after all, it is a tourist kind of sight. We asked him to just give us a rough idea of what to look for. He pointed down the narrow road and past the farm and said to take the trail to the left as the road goes right. Seemed simple enough, this guy just had a stick up his ass. We walked down the dirt road and passed the farm waving at the farmers and found the trailhead. The trail was easy to spot and follow, it was the only trail the entire way til we reached the falls. It was a beautiful hike. As soon as we were on the trail, the temperature dropped a few degrees and was a pleasant hike. There were a bunch of locals building a zip-line course. They seemed happy to see us and in seeing the frying pan and how big our packs were, one asked if we were going to camp out. He seemed a bit shocked but said we were welcome to camp here as long as we wanted. He even invited us to his village party that evening. As we continued on the trail, walking past more workers filling in the bases for the big zip-line posts, we were walking next to the stream that was fed from the waterfall. We arrived at the base of the waterfall and there was a small pool to swim in. We hopped in and cooled off for a while. It seemed as if this was the end of the trail until Bru spotted a small gotta-like trail up he side of the mountain. It was so steep we climbed basically on our hands and knees with our packs weighing us down. We made it above the waterfall to find a beautiful serene river meandering within the tall trees and shrubs growing alongside river. It was getting a bit late so we started to look for a good spot to set up camp.
We found an area where one of the streams met the river and set up our hammocks between the two. Brandon had his hammock set up over some old rotting logs with bright green moss growing over them and I set my hammock over a small ledge which one side was over the dirt and the other was over steep rock that led to the river. Bru had probably the sweetest spot. He was between some trees and big boulders over the water. Rainflies set, we went looking for some tinder and dry wood. It proved to be difficult for obvious reasons; for one we were in a rainforest and two there was water all around. We managed to find some wood though and proceeded to make a small fire. We ate spaghetti for dinner with chop sticks/forks carved from some wood pieces. By the time we finished eating it was dark as dark could be. The lightening bugs and frogs were out as were the mosquitos too. We walked around looking for night critters in the streams. We found lots of little river lobsters, crabs and water spiders. The crisp night air was filled with the songs of all the insects, it was beautiful falling asleep to the sound of the forest. Something I won't soon forget.
We cleaned up camp the next morning and made sure not to leave anything behind. Making our way back to town proved to be a bit easier than coming up the hill. We walked for a few miles with our thumbs out, cars and trucks passing us as if we were some crazy white people, when a work truck pulled over. We ran up and hopped eagerly, yet exhausted, in the bed of the truck. We gave a knock on the cab and off we went with the sweet island air cooling us off. We stopped and picked up another local islander named Henry. Henry said we got lucky in who picked us up. We apparently got the best driver this side of the island. He sure seemed to know every turn and pothole the way he floored it around some corners and slowed down in a split second. It was an awesome ride from the back of the truck versus in a van. As we passed through some of the small villages on the mountain, some of the people we'd wave to would laugh or look at us confused as if we were the first white people to be in the back of a truck or something. We got dropped off about the same spot as the gas station we got waters the day before and walked the rest of the way back in the mid-day tropical sun.
Feeling satisfied with our progress in having decent wifi and accomplishing a handful of tasks onboard, we started to prepare for our departure to Suriname. We figured it would be almost 7 days so we planned and provisioned for something more like 12 days. Though there was one last thing on our to-do list and wanted to see if it was possible to accomplish. We wanted to see if we could get our way-out-of-date refrigeration unit working again. We had a guy come by in Ft. Lauderdale and recharge our system which lasted us through our stay in Guatemala. Our system runs on the old and no longer produced R-12 fluid. It was kind of a hunt to find the old timer who had what he says is the last bottle of R-12 on this side of the Caribbean. But we found him. He came by the morning we were leaving the docks and tried filling our system only to find out the motor for the compressor has froze up. We basically hit a wall and came to the conclusion we'll just live without cold stuff for a while longer. Ice helps but only lasts so long even, with 5" of insulation.
We paid our marina fees, topped off our water and fuel and headed out to anchor for one last night. The following morning, Barbosa went to shore to clear us out while Bru and I prepared CC for the next leg of our voyage. Planning to shoot the gap between Trinidad and Tobago and using the darkness of night as a blanket of protection from the pirates that frequent these parts, we weighed anchor and set sail just before sunset.